The AP reports that a deal has been struck to continue primary management of the Internet by the United States, following weeks and months of controversy. The EU had been pushing for control of the web to be turned over to a supra-national body, such as the UN.
The accord was accomplished at The World Summit on the Information Society, an international gathering to examine the “digital divide” between developed and developing nations. While “the summit was originally conceived to address the digital divide–the gap between information haves and have-nots–by raising both consciousness and funds for projects,” the meeting provided a forum to discuss and come to a resolution: “Instead, it has centered largely around Internet governance: oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet by acting as its master directories so Web browsers and e-mail programs can find other computers.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael D. Gallagher said that the new agreement means that the onus now lies with the developing world to bring in not just opinions, but investment to expand the Internet to their benefit.
The fundamental basis for the agreement is the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum, a non-binding advisory body that would bring “its stakeholders to the table to discuss the issues affecting the Internet, and its use.” The formation of the forum essentially follows the recommendations of the UN’s Working Group on Internet Governance made in this past June.
For more on the issue of Internet governance, check out the Internet Governance Project, “an interdisciplinary consortium of academics with scholarly and practical expertise in international governance, Internet policy, and information and communication technology.”
A paper issued earlier this year by the project focuses on “the six factors that need to be taken into account in working out the details of a forum mechanism” (Download PDF here).