Internet is a miracle
- It is,
in some respects, since it is a phenomenon that escaped the planned economy
of the communication industries supported by their respective governments.
Internet has an original sin
- It is
the fruit of military funds.
- To understand
how it could happen, consider that the US military research model is different
from that of Europe, and Italy in particular.
- The US
Department of Defence (DoD) has always invested a lot in research, and
the university and public research sectors have always benefited from that,
so that the results achieved were not restricted to military goals.
- So as
it met its client's requirements, the Internet became a very popular means
of communication among the groups of researchers scattered across the United
States, who were soon joined by research groups from Europe and other continents.
Internet has developed in an unstructured way
its governmental origin, although only in the allocation of funds and the
achievement of specific objectives, the Internet has developed in a definitely
anarchic and unstructured way.
it is essentially a network of networks, the central control area has always
been kept to a minimum, to keep its trends consistent.
Internet is ruled by a meritocracy
- The Internet
has always developed from the bottom up, although this 'bottom' was a meritocracy
that thrived in university settings and was then partly given to the industry.
In this way, the Internet protocol (the TCP/IP) defeated the ISO/OSI protocol,
which had been designed by leading computer manufacturers to make sure
they were interoperable online.
- The development
of the latter protocol was extremely expensive; the TCP/IP was simpler
and in addition its development costs had been borne by the DoD.
is the Internet legitimated; that's a problem
- The exponential
growth of Internet users raised technical problems of scale and global
- Up to
then, the Internet had kept far from any problem of legality; then, problems
surfaced that challenged those network government organisations which had
been 'casually' run by first-rank technicians without thinking too much
of any legal or policy problem.
initial gap between the USA and EU began to be filled in the Nineties
- The Internet
began to spread in Europe quite late but more and more relentlessly.
- The academic
and research sectors have been using the Internet more and more since the
the mid-Nineties, the widespread use of the Internet in trade, public administration
and in all strata of society made the number of European Internet users
outgrow the number of US users.
- What is
- It is
the management of those parameters that keep the Internet together; they
are the management of protocols agreed upon by IETF (Internet Engineering
Task Force), the allocation of IP addresses to network resources and the
allocation of domain names which can essentially be used to address our
contacts for email and web sites in a way that is easy to remember.
- In this
way, the Internet can work as the largest network of networks ever or as
the mother of all networks. It seems these issues could be managed by a
group of first-rank technicians without any strong policy implication but,
as we are going to see, this is no longer true.
- With the
White Book published in 1988 by Clinton - Gore, the US Government started
a process to make the management of the Internet governance go globally
- This is
how ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) come into
being, with the object of entrusting the private sector with the task of
managing "Internet governance"; the US Government, through the
Department of Commerce, would have kept supervising ICANN until the basic
objects had been reached and the private sector had proved able to manage
the 'corè of the network in a reliable way and without too many
take an interest in the Internet
- Over the
last few years, many governments have increasingly acknowledged that the
Internet infrastructure is a critical factor to the community.
- This is
why paradoxically while the US Government tried to disengage itself, the
other Governments, the European ones in particular, became more and more
aware of "Internet governance" issues.
has always been assisted by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) in
order to promote co-operation between the private and the public sectors,
which would legitimate ICANN.
- The real
problem, then, when we talk about "Internet governance", is to
determine where the technical ends and the policy begins; even if we can
shed light on this boundary, how does the policy making role of ICANN intersects
the policy making role of other international and/or intergovernmental
organisations, such as ITU, WIPO, OCSE, WTO, UNDP, ISOC, W3C, ETSI, and
so on and so forth.
opponents claim that ICANN is not legitimated since it is a private company
incorporated in the State of California, so it cannot legitimate any command
or lay down any coercive regulation for a controlled development of the
miracle we need today: to find the right balance between the public and
the private on a global scale
- Here we
have to establish a virtuous circle; governments must trust technicians
and try to interfere as little as possible.
governments need technicians to be guided through the growth of the Internet,
and technicians need governments to be legitimated to work and take prescriptive