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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Countries Agreed on New Global Internet Outfit

According to the recent news, India, Brazil and South Africa has joined hands to investigate ways and means of establishing a new global outfit within the UN framework that would oversee global online governance. This move was announced by the countries’ officials during a seminar in Rio de Janeiro


This turn of events evoked a mixed response from the world web community, which resulted in a joint declaration that was issued a couple days ago. According to the participants of the agreement, they felt that a body was urgently required for the system of the United Nations. The new outfit is expected to coordinate and develop worldwide public policies pertaining to the web. In addition, the body would also have to ensure that online governance was transparent, democratic, and competitive.

The participants claimed that web-related policies today are created either by the largest global digital companies or directly by the relative bodies of the rich nations, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. For example, India pointed out that the Rio recommendation was no more than a starting point for discussions, which has yet to be fleshed out by the IBSA. This online dialogue is supposed to help the United Nations’ Secretary-General carry out the mandate set by the World Summit on Information Society. At the same time, the official representatives of the country made it clear that the existing web governance processes and mechanisms have to be changed and made more inclusive and more sensitive to the demands of developing nations.

Some of the industry experts consider this proposal undermining the multi-stakeholder model which is currently in place for governing the web. One of the arguments made by the critics was that there was actually no need for a new global outfit, because there are such bodies as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, that are able to regulate the functioning of the global web address system and respond to the concerns of developing nations.

The industry participants admit that in most cases governments that pay lip service to the multi-stakeholder systems will be the ones to take the real decisions. At the same time, the private sector and civil society would be given only a minor voice, but the suggestion made by India, Brazil and South Africa might only worsen the situation.

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