The global economic recession is focusing attention on issues of industry self-governance and trans-national coordination that could reshape debate over Internet governance. As national economies and international financial institutions continue to struggle with the consequences and implications of the global banking collapse, Internet governance may be recast in new and relatively unfamiliar contexts, creating both new opportunities and new challenges. For example, in some nations, ICT-based economic recovery initiatives may provide renewed impetus for global civil society and Internet initiatives, while elsewhere the financial crisis may divert all eyes to the drama of economic crisis management, depriving Internet governance-related activities of both attention and critical support. Is the potential for Internet-driven growth indeed a vehicle for accelerating economy recovery?
Alternatively, remedies in the financial sector could be applied to governance of the Internet, for better or worse. What steps could Internet governance stakeholders take to ensure that the right lessons are drawn from the financial crisis, and that inappropriate remedies are not extended to the Internet? And finally, what can be done to limit if not prevent any disruption to the continuing evolution of norms and institutions that foster openness as the guiding principle for Internet expansion and development?
On 27 April, the Oxford Internet Institute will convene a daylong workshop in London to discuss these issues. This blog is an invitation to those invited participants, and any other interested reader, to provide their views on the impact of the new economic context on Internet governance. The organizers would welcome your thoughts on such questions as:
- Will the new economic context change the dynamics of debate over governing the Internet?
- Will the changing perspectives on regulation in the financial sector spill over to the Internet, and views on the role of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)?
- Will economic constraints pose a risk to meaningful participation by civil society in Internet governance institutions and processes?
- Does the economic crisis provide any concrete, practical guidance for the need or maintenance of transparency in the delivery of Internet services or the conduct of governance and coordination?
Please help to inform this workshop by posting your perspectives on these issues as comments to this blog.