Description of Ongoing Projects

  • Drake W
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I work on the historical evolution and contemporary transformation of ICT global governance and address IG in this context. ICT global governance has developed through three distinct NetWorld Orders (NWOs), each comprising a specific blend of dominant technologies, ideas, interest configurations, and institutions. The first NWO lasted from 1850 until the early 1980s and was predicated on the primacy of national sovereignty, broadly symmetric domestic institutions, and a shared social purpose regarding global ordering. The second NWO lasted from the early 1980s until 1995 and was characterized by increasingly asymmetric national interests and institutions, technological differentiation, and heightening conflict over global governance. Nevertheless, a new overarching orientation eventually took hold that decoupled the dominant intersubjective understanding of sovereignty from statecontrolled monopolies and favored market liberalization and privatization. The third NWO has lasted from 1995 until today. This period has seen proliferation in the number and forms of governance mechanisms, as well as a deepening shift in social purpose away from direct state control and toward promoting globalized markets, private sector control, and security. Today’s IG derives from six sources. The first three involve mechanisms negotiated in intergovernmental, private sector, and multistakeholder settings. The fourth, the unilateral imposition of mechanisms by powerful national governments, has been discussed largely with respect to US authority over ICANN, but is a broader phenomenon. The fifth, the unilateral imposition of mechanisms by firms possessing market power in monopolistic or oligopolistic industry structures, generally has been ignored in governance discussions. So has the sixth, the coordinated convergence of policies across countries and industries. In Paris I would like to address the following issues related to the CFP: 1) The specification of the WGIG/WSIS definition, as well as other definitions drawing on the governance literature. This includes the politics of definitions, e.g. the initial preference of many developing country governments for an actor-centric definition to the superior process-centric approach; the technical community’s resulting oppositional stance of governance denial; and the WGIG/WSIS evolution away from the actor-centric approach. 2) Historicizing the evolution of the governance sources above in order to contextualize the growing importance of the latter three in an increasingly distributed architecture. 3) Future evolution scenarios regarding the boundary lines between IG and ICT governance. At present, governance of infrastructures (physical and logical) and of the information, communication, and commerce (IC&C) conveyed thereby can be divided into an “inner circle” of mechanisms with the most direct and significant impact on the Internet and an“outer circle” of mechanisms with a more indirect impact. For the former, the inner circle would include those for core resources, standardization, and network security, while the outer circle would include those for broader ICT governance, e.g. telecommunications, spectrum, trade in services, and development. For the latter, the inner circle would include those for information flow, cybercrime, intellectual property, trade in content services, and electronic commerce, while the outer circle would include those for content regulation, privacy protection, spam, and development (not because they are less specific to the Internet, but rather because they are weaker). In the future, governments may seek to further embed the Internet in some outer circle mechanisms, most notably the telecommunications and trade regimes given convergence, NGN, security challenges, etc.




Drake, W. J. (2008). Description of Ongoing Projects. In 1st International Giganet Workshop. Paris,France.

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