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Saturday, 11 December 2010 16:34

Internet community incensed at 'government-only" Internet governance review

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Global Internet bodies are incensed by a United Nations review of Internet governance that will be conducted solely by government representatives. They are urging people to sign a petition calling for a more widely representative review

In an extraordinary meeting on 6 December the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) decided to create a Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) with a membership made up only of governments.

The Internet Society (ISOC) said: "We believe this decision sets back the model of multistakeholder cooperation under which the IGF was established, and contradicts the instructions given to the CSTD for the establishment of the working group."

ICANN warned that "The decisions of the working group could frame the structure and mandate of the United Nation's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) for the next five years," adding: "The working party [will] be made up only of 'member-states', which means that such a body would not only exclude all non-governmental entities, such as business and technology organisations, but also limit participation of governments that are not members of the CSTD."

ISOC and ICANN have joined with the International Chamber of Commerce - Business Action to Support the Information Society, the Internet Governance Caucus, and many other Internet, business and civil society organisations - including Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) and Australian Domain Name Administration (AuDA) - to send a letter to the CSTD asking it to retract the decision and to establish an appropriately constituted working group.

They are also calling on all concerned individuals to sign a petition asking the UN CSTD to ensure that Internet governance remains open and inclusive.

In September iTWire reported ICANN president, Rod Beckstrom, told an Internet Governance Forum  meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania that if governments got their hands on the Internet, "Most Internet users - businesses, service providers, non-profits and consumers - will be shut out of the governance debate."

In the same month we reported Frederic Donck, director of the Internet Society's European Regional Bureau, urged the Internet community to act in its defence, saying "We all have to engage urgently as big decisions are currently being made on the future of the Internet that will have a direct impact on our business and social lives. Complacency over such vital issues as net neutrality, security, privacy and IPv6 is simply not an option."

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