Governance advocates see crowd-sourcing as way to fix Internet ills
By Eric Auchard
FRANKFURT Nov 6 (Reuters) - Responding to a dizzying array of issues that threaten to break the Internet, from privacy to tax dodging to cybercrime, a group of the world's leading governance organisations say greater user involvement, not top-down control, is needed.
Three organisations -- Brazil's Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) -- said on Thursday they were setting up a new group to find solutions to Internet governance issues, instead of waiting for governments to agree.
NETmundial, as the group will be known, will map out best practices for resolving complex problems, ranging from online privacy to Internet taxation, security and child protection.
The group plans to turn to the Internet's own models of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding that power web institutions such as Wikipedia to turn decade-old debates among top international technical organisations into action plans.
"Current governance processes are deeply challenged by the transnational nature of the Internet and the speed at which it moves," ICAAN Chief Executive Fadi Chehadé said in an interview. ICANN is a global body that manages the Internet address system.
The border-hopping nature of the Internet can be summed up by the example of a U.S. consumer who buys a phone in Baltimore from a German headquartered company and uses it to pay for goods from an ecommerce site in Hong Kong. Myriad issues from privacy to security to taxes can arise even in such simple scenarios.
Even as the Internet becomes deeply woven into the fabric of many people's daily lives, its interconnected nature has come under attack from interests which feel threatened by its openness, or who look to exploit its technical weaknesses.
Seeking to fill these breaches, government officials, courts and regulators are pressing for all manner of local, national and regional controls that increasingly slice up and balkanise the network of networks that is the global Internet. Continuación...