The Race to Control the Internet: A Mapping of Global Civil Society and Their Attempt to Influence Policy and Dialogue

TitleThe Race to Control the Internet: A Mapping of Global Civil Society and Their Attempt to Influence Policy and Dialogue
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Abbott, S. M.
Affiliation (1st Author)Dr. Program Development Advisor, Internews, and Media Development Consultant with the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania and Central European University's Center for Media&Communication
Section or WGGlobal Media Policy Working Group
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeGMPT4a
Slot Code (Keyword)GMPT4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
RoomQG02
Session TitleGlobal Internet Governance: Histories and Emerging Trends
Submission ID7225
Abstract

Last year’s Internet Governance Forum meeting in Azerbaijan and subsequent meeting of key state actors that gathered together for the International Telecommunications meeting in Dubai signaled a renewed interest in many circles of about whether there was a re-awakening of a new world order for communications rights and systems. Reminiscent of debates and advocacy efforts that surrounded the World Summit on the Information Society in the early 2000s; current efforts to influence national and international dialogue about internet governance have brought together a wide range of actors from government elites to grassroots organizers. One of the major differences however is the rise of a more mature civil society sector has taken on an “older and wiser” internet governance agenda. But, who are these civil society actors and whose interests do they represent? Comparatively speaking, since the early 2000s, the stakes surrounding internet governance have grown in stature. The era of internet law and policy has come of age as more and more countries seek to understand how to control and regulate how the internet gets used and what types of information people can both put up online as well as have access to. For those working to advance internet freedom advocacy cause and campaigns and for activists seeking to court public opinion in favor of law and policies that embrace the principles of an open internet, the space that global civil society occupies is of great interest. This paper will explore the types of issues that organizations like the Center for Democracy and Technology, Global Voices, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch champion as well as seek to document their long-term goals and vision surrounding internet law and policy. In doing so, this paper seeks to map out key global civil society actors in the internet governance and will also explore key funders of internet law and policy research and policy reform issues (both government and foundations). The paper will explore the types of issues that these actors work on, what sorts of alliances they have around the world, offer a picture of the scale and reach they have internationally, and put forward a sketch of their longer term mission and overall goals and interests. This paper will draw from a variety of research methods including a literature review; an audit of key civil society actors working on internet law and policy issues at the global level; and make use of key informant interviews from 13-15 key stakeholders. The core research questions to be addressed include,, 1) Who/ what are the main international civil society actors working on internet law and policy or internet freedom issues?; 2) What donors or funders are most active in this space and what are their key objectives and interests?; and 3) Is there truly a global civil society movement working to advance internet freedom and whose interests do they represent?

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer