Media and Internet Governance
The Extraterritorial Scope of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Rio+20 and Beyond. No Future without Justice
Europe needs a Grand Strategy
Bank of the South, International Context, and Alternatives
Rediscovering Nelson Mandela for the Twenty-first Century
For a World Citizen Movement
A Global Pension Plan
The Democratic Legitimacy of Public-Private Rule Making: What Can We Learn from the World Comission of Dams?
Giving Africa Voice within Global Governance: Oral History, Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council
The UN Reform and the Alterglobalization Movement
After Copenhagen, Some Light on the Horizon
Henceforth, the Keys to the Future are Responsibility, Solidarity, and Courage
Persistent corruption in low-income countries requires global action
As the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) approaches its final
meeting, political oversight of Internet governance has become the paramount issue. It
has also proven to be a politically charged and divisive issue, making it impossible for the
3rd Prepcom to reach an agreement.
In this document we attempt to provide conceptual clarity on issues relating to political
oversight. We first define political oversight and briefly assess why it might or might not
be needed for international Internet governance. Next, we make an important distinction
between narrow oversight (of ICANN) and broad oversight (of all Internet public policy
issues), and explain why WSIS must separate discussion of these two types of oversight.
We then examine in detail the existing mechanisms of political oversight over ICANN.
We note that unilateral U.S. oversight is troublesome and needs to be changed. But there
are two very different ways to do this. One way is to bring more governments into the
supervisory process. Another way is to remove the U.S. government from the picture. In
other words, one can de-nationalize ICANN and find ways of making it accountable that
do not require traditional inter-governmental supervision.
The paper concludes that de-nationalization is probably a better option than
internationalization. Moreover, the existing mechanisms of U.S. political oversight can be
modified to move toward de- nationalization without threatening the effective operation or
freedom of the Internet.
Source: Internet Gouvernance Project