Crowdsourcing Internet Governance: The Case of ICANN's Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation
20 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2017
Date Written: December 2016
Internet governance issues are diverse in scope and transnational in scale, making issue awareness and consensus building among relevant stakeholders a logistical leviathan. Historically, the identification and resolution of internet governance issues have remained within the purview of technical bodies (lead primarily by the private sector) and governments. Lack of centralized control over the internet created a situation where no single player has ultimate jurisdiction over the technical and political regulation of the web. This shift in power has resulted in creation of a range of multistakeholder forums to promote both discourse among various actors about internet governance issues and potential solutions, as well as binding decision-making. On the one end of the spectrum are non-binding organizations, such the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Established in 2006, the IGF seeks to encourage deliberation about internet governance that embodies “international cooperation, collaboration, and implementation” among diverse stakeholders, albeit without binding or prescriptive outcomes (Napoli, 2008, p. 3). On the other end of the spectrum are organizations that produce concrete binding rules and regulations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Founded in 1998, in response to the growing complexity and escalating international criticism of informal, US-centric mechanisms for the management of internet names and number, ICANN remains one of the primary internet governance organizations, and also one that seeks to rely on multistakeholder processes (Mueller, 2002).
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