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In recent years, the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union has become an arena where governments promote rival visions of the future of the organization and, more importantly, how the Internet itself should be governed. These debates reflect a growing tension around a foundational question: to what extent can and should nation-states act to manage the flow of information within their sovereign territory? As the Internet’s importance as a driver for global economic and social growth has grown over the past decade, so too has the interest of some governments to secure for themselves a larger role in regulating the technical, economic, and policy aspects of its management.
Governments are driven by a range of objectives as they consider the future of the Internet, including access and uptake, competition policy, privacy and security, and, in some cases, regime stability. Will it be possible to accommodate some governments’ desire for a more robust role and still maintain essential democratic principles such as the free flow of information between people around the world, universal human rights, and the core belief that has driven the Internet’s exponential growth over the past decade: that users, companies, and civil society – not governments – ought to control the Internet’s future? What are the political, economic, and geopolitical factors driving Internet regulation and policies? Umair Javed moderated a discussion with Will Hudson of Google, Sally Wentworth of the Internet Society, and Patricia Paoletta of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis to explain recent activities at the UN to influence global Internet policy.
- Will Hudson, Senior Advisor for International Policy, Google Inc.
- Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
- Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy Development, Internet Society
- Moderator: Umair Javed, Associate, Wiley Rein LLP