A few minutes ago I recommended Milton’s book on Internet governance on my LinkedIn site. It’s not that I agree with everything he writes, simply because I do not have an opinion on it or were unaware of the debates he presents to his readers. Still it is a book that is a must read. A handbook to who’s what on the Internet. From its commercial inception to the “whole” world’s reaction to it in the past, say, 13 years and his own liberal brand for the way forward. About the institutions around the Internet and what they do and why they work or are (too) limited in scope to have success.
To make reaction on reading this book more personal I will go one step further than on LinkedIn. I believe the Internet to be a driver of many things, positive and negative. To stay on the positive side, I firmly believe that access to knowledge will educate and develop people all over the world. It makes economies stronger and speeds up the growth of knowledge. The Internet reaches out to levels that were hardly reachable in conventional telecommunications.
Countries that do not want to participate on the Internet, or create their own Internet, do so at their own loss and will be left behind. State control does not yield an overly enthusiastic open-mindedness in people.
Network and states also confirmed some of my personal believes (and challenged some). The view of cooperation I foresee for the future, that I got at through part intuition, part insight into relations between institutions and people, part discussions I was able to participate in. There is no solution to cyber crime without all stakeholders at the table identifying and discussing common concerns and from there look at solutions. It will take common action and an across the board approach. As I call it: make the game a little harder to play for criminals. It does not take deep technical insight to think up a few simple measures.
The London Action Plan features briefly. I was a member of it’s so called inner core for years and I agree with Milton’s conclusion: it will have to professionalize or it will wither. LAP has a lot of potential, but this is not used to optimally benefit it’s member organisations. As a result there is no commitment from most members to LAP and most members have floated away from activities and active commitment to (have) results. However, it could also be argued that the lack of commitment stems from organisations that did not give priority to actively fight spam and malware. Those organisations do not have the resources nor the tools to commit to LAP programs or cooperation. This ought not to prevent those who do, to step up LAPs ambitions. So far, this was not possible to achieve.
Network and states also made clear to me that we are at a cross-road. Do states want to take over the Internet? Mueller argues that this will have a devastating effect on the Internet as we have come to know it. There are signs all around that they want to take over. Time will tell which turn states take and what the effects will be.
Again I recommend the book. It is a must read for everyone active in some form of Internet policy.
Wout de Natris
Leiderdorp, 20 December 2010