Confederation of European Computer User Associations

Confédération Européenne des Associations d'Utilisateurs des Technologies de I'Information

Good news-The WGIG (Working Group Internet Governance) report is out 1,2



The Working Group deserves praise for having done so much in such a short time. Also the approach taken by the Working Group is interesting. By focusing on Internet Governance issues (instead of trying to come up with an abstract (nobody understands) definition of Internet Governance) the group has looked at Internet Governance from a new perspective and made Internet Governance much more transparent. By putting issues on the table instead of abstract definitions the Working Group has made it much easier for newcomers to catch up on the discussion and get themselves involved in the discussion and debate. That is very positive.


Internet Governance is not a simple issue. It is a local issue, national issue, regional issue and also a global issue. This calls for people from all geographies and all levels and sectors to get involved and take part in the discussion. With its approach the Working Group has done a lot to raise the awareness of the issue. Thanks for that.


Internet Governance is a global issue and it takes people with international experience to deal with it. The rules of the game are those used in diplomatic circles. And Markus Kummer with his experience in diplomatic services has done a good job of coordinating the work of the group. It will be interesting to follow developments at the next WSIS meeting in Tunis later this fall. Will the WSIS agree with what the Working Group proposes? What will be the next step?


In this context the pioneering work of ICANN should be noted. ICANN paved the way for the Internet to become really global. No doubts about that. However, ICANN over-mandated itself for a time being by thinking they could do it all by themselves (In the meantime ICANN has come to their senses and I will deal with that in a future CECUA editorial). They installed an ICANN Advisory Committee (GAC) and thought that was enough. It was enough at the beginning when the Internet was a privilege of a few. But when business discovered the Internet as a new marketing and sales channel it was not enough any more. Consequently, GAC has become more and more important. And the key question now is who is the boss? ICANN or the Governments?


The Working Group provides 4 sketches or models for future Internet Governance. The models are theoretical and leave many questions unanswered. However, they provide a basis for discussion. In some of the models Governments are the bosses, in others it is a combination of Governments and non- Government institutions. The paradox is that Governments cannot do it alone and no private company like ICANN (a private US company) can do it alone either. Internet Government is a multi-stakeholder issue, which calls for cooperation and consultation between private and public sector and also users (civil society is the new fancy term for users?). CECUA favors such a multi-stakeholder arrangement and has been advocating it for many years. The WGIG working group and the report is only a first step towards real Internet Governance. Many steps are to follow. It will be interesting to follow developments at the next WSIS meeting in Tunis only few weeks away.


The report deals with many of the issues CECUA has been advocating and fighting for. However, one issue is left out: cyberspace naming. Today people have a Christian name they go by daily. Then they have a cyberspace name they also more and more go by daily. And there will be more. This is not only confusing to the individual him or herself, it is even more confusing to friends and family. This is an Internet Governance issue and should have its proper place on the WGIG table.


Dr. Jon Thorhallsson

CECUA President




1This CECUA contribution is an addition to current CECUA contributions to the Internet Governance Research Approach ( and European Internet Co-regulation Network (


2 CECUA is accredited to the WSIS