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International Internet governance treaties dubbed 'folly'

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Dismissing as "folly" efforts to govern the Internet through international treaty, a draft essay argues that global debate mechanisms such as the Internet Governance Forum are a better way to regulate responsible Internet usage.

Different institutions including the IGF, International Telecommunications Union and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers are best suited to manage governance efforts in their areas of expertise, the authors contend in their 34-page article scheduled to be published next year in I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society.

The essay reviews "tussles" such as the conflict between some countries' desire to expand more broadband infrastructure while trying to "regulate content and restrict free expression...through onerous cybersecurity and spam provisions," according to the abstract of the article, entitled "Internet Governance: Our Shared Responsibility."

"To be fair, the multi-stakeholder approach can be frustrating and clumsy—as any democratic process is—but it provides the best mechanism for governing the Internet's space because of its inclusiveness," the authors contend.

They propose adding a "social" layer of broad Internet governance to the existing layers of content, logical and infrastructure to "deal with practices that define paramount rights and principles associated with 'social conduct' online."

The idea is to "trigger discussion about which institutions and stakeholder groups should legitimately be involved in which Internet policy issues," according to the article.

For more:
read the abstract and download the full draft essay

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