Internet Governance Is Our Shared Responsibility

I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 10 ISJLP 1 (2014).

42 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2013 Last revised: 28 Jun 2014

See all articles by Vinton G. Cerf

Vinton G. Cerf

Google Inc.

Patrick Spaulding Ryan Ph.D.

Berkeley Law; Stanford University

Max Senges

42 Wolfsburg / Berlin

Date Written: August 13, 2013


This essay looks at the the different roles that multistakeholder institutions play in the Internet governance ecosystem. We propose a model for thinking of Internet governance within the context of the Internet's layered model. We use the example of the negotiations in Dubai in 2012 at the World Conference on International Telecommunications as an illustration for why it is important for different institutions within the governance system to focus on their respective areas of expertise (e.g., the ITU, ICANN, and IGF). Several areas of conflict (a "tussle") are reviewed, such as the desire to promote more broadband infrastructure, a topic that is in the remit of the International Telecommunications Union, but also the recurring desire of countries like Russia and China to use the ITU to regulate content and restrict free expression on the Internet through onerous cybersecurity and spam provisions. We conclude that it is folly to try and regulate all these areas through an international treaty, and encourage further development of mechanisms for global debate like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Keywords: Internet governance, ITU, ICANN, IGF, layered model

JEL Classification: K1, K23, L5, R50, G18, I96, O00, O3, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Cerf, Vint G. and Ryan, Patrick and Senges, Max, Internet Governance Is Our Shared Responsibility (August 13, 2013). I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 10 ISJLP 1 (2014)., Available at SSRN:

Vint G. Cerf

Google Inc. ( email )

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Second Floor
Mountain View, CA 94043
United States

Patrick Ryan (Contact Author)

Berkeley Law ( email )

United States
303-669-5710 (Phone)

Stanford University ( email )

Max Senges

42 Wolfsburg / Berlin ( email )

porschestr 2c
Wolfsburg, 38440

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