Date: February 9, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: As the Internet grows and becomes more pervasive in all aspects of modern society, the question of how it should be governed becomes more pressing. Currently, an important aspect of the Internet is governed by a private sector, international organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages and oversees some of the critical technical underpinnings of the Internet such as the domain name system and Internet Protocol (IP) addressing. ICANN makes its policy decisions using a multistakeholder model of governance, whereby a “bottom-up” collaborative process is open to all constituencies of Internet stakeholders. A key issue for Congress is whether and how the U.S. government should continue to maximize U.S. influence over ICANN's multistakeholder Internet governance process, while at the same time effectively resisting proposals for an increased role by international governmental institutions such as the U.N. The outcome of this debate will likely have a significant impact on how other aspects of the Internet may be governed in the future, especially in such areas as intellectual property, privacy, law enforcement, Internet free speech, and cybersecurity. Looking forward, the institutional nature of Internet governance could have far reaching implications on important policy decisions that will ...
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