The Technical Community Role in Global Internet Governance

24 October 2013 - A Workshop on Internet Governance Principles in Bali, Indonesia


Within Internet governance, the technical community plays a special role. Operational and governance modalities for the Internet are both enhanced and constrained by the technical characteristics of what is to be governed. The Internet is a marvel of uer-oriented engineering, allowing users with very little technical knowledge to access a wealth of communications capabilities and content.  It is less obvious that this ease of use is built upon the cumulative work of tens of thousands of participants, resulting iin thousands of standards, devices, and programs created by that large and disciplined group of people. Membership in the community is defined implicitly by competence and substantial accomplishment, recognized by members of the technical community.

This special status and the cultures of the technical community that made Internet evolution possible and permeate it need to be better understood within the context of the evolving multistakeholder model. What specific aspects of governance, if any, should be relegated to the technical community? What individuals within academia fit within this stakeholder group, and why? How can this particular community best interact with other stakeholders to promote effective cooperation?

Our  goals are to more clearly identify the scope of the technical community's membership, and to further examine the technical community’s role in governance and what it beings uniquely to the overall enterprise.