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Wednesday, November 11 • 14:00 - 15:30
WS 52 The Global “Public Interest” in Critical Internet Resources

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The draft outcomes document for the WSIS+10 review says that, "We recognize that the Internet is a global resource that must be managed in an open and inclusive manner, which serves the public interest."  The NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement says the “Internet is a global resource which should be managed in the public interest.” Resolutions appended to the ITU’s core treaties say that IP-based networks must be interoperable and globally reachable in the public interest, and that governments must provide a clear legal framework “to ensure adequate protection of public interests in the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses.” ICANN’s Bylaws and Affirmation of Commitments employ the term three and five times, respectively. ICANN’s GAC has invoked the term to justify some of its positions, and applicants for new gTLDs are asked to undertake Public Interest Commitments. But what does the “public interest” really mean with respect to critical Internet resources? There has been no collective effort to clarify the standard to be followed. ICANN’s new Strategic Plan prioritizes developing ”a common consensus based definition of public interest” for the organization; could a broader, parallel public discussion be helpful?

This Roundtable will explore such questions as:
• At the national level, the term has been used in fields like telecommunications and broadcasting to promote universal connectivity, stability, competition, and diversity. Are these or similar goals relevant for global Internet governance?
• If it proves impossible to agree a robust definition, can we at least sharpen the focus by identifying actions that do/not seem broadly consistent?
• Would trying to define the term be chimeric, and set off interest-based negotiations? Should we simply use it as a vague aspiration, or desist in using it?


William Drake, University of Zurich / Noncommercial Users Constituency, ICANN 


Rinalia Abdul Rahim, Compass Rose Sdn Bhd, Malaysia 

Jari Arkko, IETF Chair, Finland

Olga Cavalli, Government of Argentina

Vint Cerf, Google, USA

Anriette Esterhuysen, Association for Progressive Communications, South Africa

Amb. Benedicto Fonseca Filho, Ministry of External Relations, Brazil 

Jeanette Hofmann, The Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Germany

Tarek Kamel, ICANN, Switzerland

Wolfgang Kleinwachter, European Summer School on Internet Governance, Germany

Marília Maciel, Rio de Janeiro Law School, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil

Nii Quaynor, University of Cape-Coast, Ghana 

George Sadowsky, ICANN Board of Directors, USA

Asst. Sec. Lawrence Strickling, Department of Commerce, USA 

Thomas Schneider, Federal Office of Communication, Switzerland

 Remote Moderator:

Grace Githaiga, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)


Stefania Milan, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Session Organizers
avatar for William Drake

William Drake

Director of International Studies, CITI, Columbia University
William J. Drake is Director of International Studies at Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia Business School, in New York City. In addition, he teaches adjunct at Columbia Business School and at the Center for Executive Education in Technology Policy, Carnegie Mellon... Read More →

Wednesday November 11, 2015 14:00 - 15:30 GMT-03
Workshop Room 1

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