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Internet Governance

image of Internet Governance

This publication contains the materials and conclusions of a recent ITU workshop on the topic of Internet Governance, including background papers, workshop presentations and outputs. The workshop's objective was to contribute to the ITU process that will prepare its inputs and position vis-à-vis the United Nations working group to be established on Internet governance, resulting from the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted on 12 December 2003 at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society.

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The taxonomy of Internet governance

Internet governance is an example of a new and complex phenomenon requiring an initial conceptual mapping and classification. The more complex the field, the greater is the need for its classification. The complexity of Internet governance is related to its multidisciplinary character, which encompasses a variety of aspects such as: technological, social, economic, developmental, legal and political. There is both a theoretical and a practical need for an initial mapping of the Internet governance field. With regard to theory, it is obvious that in spite of the recent growth in the volume of academic research in the field of Internet governance, a clear delimitation in this field of research is still lacking. The practical need for a taxonomy of Internet governance was clearly demonstrated during the WSIS process. Many players, including nation states themselves, faced a considerable challenge in grasping the complexity of Internet governance. A conceptual mapping of the Internet governance field should contribute towards more efficient negotiations in the context of the WSIS as well as other multilateral negotiation processes. This can be achieved through: 1) the clearer identification of the main issues; 2) the articulation of national interests; and 3) the reduction of negotiation “noise” caused by disparate interpretations of the main concepts. This proposed taxonomy of Internet governance is only a tool. It should not be regarded as being “true” or “false”, but as just one of the possible approaches to organising this field.

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