Internet Governance – A Brief Timeline

In this context the term ‘Internet Governance’ or IG as it is often termed denotes the on-going global discussion about how various aspects of the internet should be run and buy whom. There is no agreed scope of Internet Governance. Narrow interpretations suggest that it is confined to matters such as IP addresses, whereas wide interpretations suggest it should be a multi-stakeholder process and encompasses issues such as free speech and other Human Rights.

Time line

1865 (17 May) ITU Formed
The International Telegraph Union was formed in Paris, now the International Telecommunication Union it is now a special agency of the United Nations.

1960’s / 70 IANA Emerges
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) merged from the early history of the internet. Initially a function of the internet pioneers it moved to ICANN following the death of Jon Postal in 1988.

1986 IETF Formed
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops and promotes technical standards for the internet. Originally formed of US Government funded academics and the IETF grew with the internet though formally it remained a US body. In 1992 the IETF became part of the Internet Society.

1992 ISOC Formed
The Internet Society (ISOC) was formed in 1992 to further technical standards for the internet and to promote its use.

1998 ICANN Formed
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was created in 1998 as a not for profit organization that took on elements of internet governance and management in particular some of the of IANA. Most notably ICANN deals with policies relating to top level domains ccTLDs, gTLDs etc.; under a mandate from but not on behalf of the US Government. The relationship between ICANN and the world community, in particular the US Government, is an emerging process.

2001 (21 December) UN General Assembly
The UN Endorses holding a two part World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

2003 (10 – 12 December) Geneva – 1st WSIS meeting
Commentators suggest that the first WSIS meeting failed to establish a consensus on a way forward for Internet Governance hence it created the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to look deeper into the issues of Internet Governance and prepare a report for the secondĀ  phase of WSIS.

Key Outputs:

2004 – 2005 WGIG
The Working Group on Internet Governance was establishes at the Geneva meeting of the WSIS (under paragraph 50 of the Principles and 13.b of the Plan of Action). The working group held a number of meetings and produced a Final and background reports, and a book.
Key Outputs:

2005 (16 – 18 November ) Tunis – 2nd WSIS Meeting (aka WSIS II)
The second WSIS meeting established both an agreed Commitment and Agenda for the development of Internet Governance. The documents also established the Internet Governance Forum.
Key Outputs:

IGF established
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established by paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda which still defines its mandate, and is convened under the UN Under Secretary for an initial five year term.

2006 (26 July) US government renewed the contract with ICANN for IANA functions

2006 (29 September) New Memorandum of Understanding between ICANN and US Department of Commerce (DOC)

2006 (30 October – 2 November 2006) Athens, Greece – IGF 1st Meeting

2007 (12 – 15 November) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – IGF 2nd Second Meeting

2008 (3 – 6 December) Hyderabad, India – IGF 3rd Meeting

2009 (3 November) Global Privacy Standards for a Global World – The Madrid Privacy Declaration

Over 100 civil society organization and privacy experts met at head of the 2009 IGF meeting and agreed a text on the future of privacy. This has been released on the web is a gaining signatories from groups and individuals. The declaration is being referenced in international fora.

2009 (20 September) ICANN Affirmation of Commitments
A so called Affirmation of Commitments was agreed with the US Government, this moved ICANN another step further from direct US Control and is seen a sign of a more global approach to Internet Governance.

2009 (15 – 18 November) Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – IGF 4th Meeting

2010 – the 5th IGF meeting will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania

tVPN LinksĀ 

2008 UK-tVPN IGF workshop outline: Virtual Worlds for Delivering Public Service and Innovation
2009 UK-tVPN IGF workshop outline
: Virtual Worlds and Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age

External Links


UN Internet Governance Forum

Internet Governance Forum (IGF) – The First Two Years UNESCO / ITU / UNDESA (.pdf 2.34Mb)
Report on the WSIS Stocktaking 2005 (WSIS-05/TUNIS/DOC/5)

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One response to “Internet Governance – A Brief Timeline”

  1. wsis -

    [...] Governance Forum (IGF) as it prepares for its third outing, this December in Hyderabad, India. …Internet Governance – A Brief Timeline : the Virtual Policy …Commentators suggest that the first WSIS meeting failed to establish a consensus on a way forward [...]

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