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Internet Governance and Its Importance

Reports of controversial U.S. surveillance activities, including the monitoring of world leaders, have reinstated international debate on the issue of Internet governance. Some countries seek to leverage the scandal in order to dilute Washington’s power over some Internet infrastructure?in particular, the processes carried out by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), that U.S.-based nonprofit that handles the unique identifiers responsible for Internet connection.

But a deeper appreciation of Internet governance concerns an entire range of public policy issues, from sovereignty to freedom of expression and more. As heated public policy issues have surfaced, internet governance as a concept has improved technical resources management to build on its stability as well to maintain a widening discussion of behaviors related to Internet use at what what is referred to as the content layer.

Defining Internet Governance

Internet governance is a term that has evolved with time, and several groups have attempted to come up with working definitions. When the Internet first opened to the bigger public in the mid-1990s, the term meant a small set of policy issues linked to the international management of domain names. However, as the Internet became a unified channel for all kinds of information, this definition grew significantly. In 2005, Internet governance generally meant a set of rules that must be followed by governments and the private sector in terms of the use of the Internet. Information policy experts are known to espouse that “Internet governance” is not the outcome of an institutional hierarchy’s efforts, but instead, it comes from the expansive coordination of innumerable usually private-sector entities scattered the globe over – for example, Internet service providers, registries, and individual users. Together with such stakeholders, civil society organizations and governments play a role in technical policy development.???

The Part Played by National Governments

Governments control Internet-related policies within their own boundaries, such as by passing laws that ban online gambling by blocking access to certain types of content. Some authoritarian governments actually censor political and social content with the same strict guidelines used in traditional media. Based on a study performed by a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy nonprofit, Internet freedom in more than half of the countries assessed, and this includes the United States, is on a decline.

About half the world’s Internet users deal with some type of online censorship too, including induced self-censorship, website blocking, removal of certain search results, and more. For instance, according to some human rights groups, China’s detention of some prominent bloggers causes fear and reduces Internet activism. Moreover, experts say that online censorship in some countries have the compliance of the business community, or else it would not be possible.

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