Global Governance in the Information Age by Wolfgang Kleinwachter

By Wolfgang Kleinwachter

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But there will be no direct contractual relationship between ICANN and the 180+ national governments. Additionally, a "best practice" document should reduce wishes of re-delegation for the ccTLD management by governments to cases of technical failure. ICANN would follow the wish of a government for re-delegation only if there is the consent of the "local Internet community". Although ICANN wants to channel the issue into a purely technical avenue based on "technical performance", it will undoubtable be pulled into nontechnical conflicts if a government calls for a politically motivated re-delegation against the outspoken wish of the local Internet community.

There is no need to broaden ICANN's mandate or to give ICANN more power. To label ICANN as the “United Nations of the Information Age” is a journalistic exaggeration. But the truth is that regardless of what ICANN decides, even if it restricts itself to a very narrow interpretation of its technical mandate, very concrete political conflicts will emerge which mirror the overriding general problems of the transformation period from the industrial to the information society and which always leads to the problem to build bottom up a "rough consensus" which is accepted likewise by the private industry, the internet users and the national governments.

But with globalization, the system based on the sovereign nation-state, shows some cracks when confronted with global challenges. Like in the early days of the "industrial revolution", the call is not to change the system but to make it more flexible for a changing economic environment. The call for co-regulatory systems tries to combine the positive values of stable governmental regulation within and among nation-states, with the new flexibility needed to meet the challenges of globalization in the information age.

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