Elon University

Policy forecast: Is it stormy, cloudy, sunny?

Researchers from the Imagining the Internet Center conducted a video survey of WTPF and WSIS participants, recording interviews with more than 60 stakeholders from all sectors of society from across the world about the ongoing evolution of the Internet. Use the video viewer to see their responses. Click on the first video to begin a player that will cycle through all visible on this page or click on those you wish to view. To see additional videos, click on the numbers at the end of the video column to display additional videos – there are dozens more than you see here. The question on this page: 

THE CONDITION OF GLOBAL INTERNET POLICY: Describe the condition of global Internet policy today in one of the following weather terms: Is it sunny, partly cloudy or stormy, and WHY?

Among the respondents are Internet Hall of Fame members Louis Pouzin and Robert Kahn, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, the chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force, leaders from ICANN and the Internet Society, business and non-governmental organization leaders, communications policy people from 38 countries, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Montenegro, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia, and citizens who were at the events for various reasons.


As the leaders of large and powerful organizations such as governments and corporations have begun to understand the disruptive power of the Internet they are beginning to try to exert influence in new ways in order to serve their own particular goals for today and the future.

In the early 1990s the first architects of the Internet began to develop a series of multistakeholder global-membership organizations in support of the continuing evolution of the network of networks. The Internet Architecture Board (IAB)Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) mostly consisted of the people who were figuring out how to build an open network on which more and more people could exchange communications.

The Internet of 2013 is complex and becoming more chaotic. It is estimated that more than 2.7 billion people have access to the Internet, and broadband, wifi and mobile devices are rapidly amplifying both good and bad network effects.

As more important services are brought online every day, entrenched institutions are challenged by emerging threats and opportunities. Global politics and everyone’s social and economic futures are weighing heavily in the balance of the decision-making of multistakeholder organizations in control of the future evolution of the Internet.

People involved in organizations such as the Internet Governance Forum and the International Telecommunications Union – both established through UN processes – may seem at odds. as roles seem to overlap or be at odds and are difficult to define at a time of accelerating change.

The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) has responded by creating a Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation. Among the points raised as in need of discussion for enhanced global cooperation on Internet issues as of the spring of 2013:


• Definition and understanding of “enhanced cooperation”

• Role of enhanced cooperation vis-à-vis the IGF (some countries think IGF is already enhanced cooperation)

• Procedure used to identify specific themes

• Undertaking a mapping exercise of themes to identify what has been achieved / what is outstanding / what are the opportunities

• What are the public policy issues at global level?


1.  Digital divide

• How to deal with asymmetric Internet governance regimes and the emergence of regional and multilateral arrangements for discussion mainly in the North

• The South is preoccupied with access to the Internet, while the North leads privacy, e-commerce, IP and online digital enforcement. This is not a democratic approach and narrows choices for developing countries. There is a need to harmonize initiatives from the North and South to prevent fragmentation (“Digital domination,” “digital dependency”)

2.  Reaching out to developing countries/less-developed countries

• Improving accessibility and affordability of the Internet (including through the use of Universal Service Funds)

• Adaptability of online services for devices used in developing countries (such as specific versions of mobile phones)

• E-commerce: Compatibility of online payment processors with Africa

• Tackling unemployment in developing countries through adoption of e-solutions

3.  IP, copyright and censorship

• Copyright enforcement of Internet content at national level

• Licensing of Internet content by companies

• Accessibility of content

• Internet censorship at national level

• Internet freedom: Freedom of expression, Freedom of information

• Piracy

• Freedom of accessing information (blocking content for countries due to political reasons)

• Fostering innovation on the Internet

4.  Applications, content and literacy

• Promoting content and linguistic diversity

• What Internet applications can be supported and prioritized as part of enhanced cooperation (e-health, e-education)

• E-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological and other essential services

• Capacity building for Internet literacy

5.  R&D and technical/engineering cooperation

• Naming / global domain name system / Top level domains (arabic .ar domain name)

• Addressing / IPv6 adoption

• Research and development (for example Domain Name System Security Extensions – DNSSEC)

6. Internet governance

• Internet governance and institutionalization (including the question of how to institutionalize/formalize multi-stakeholder governance and decision-making)

• Definition of equal footing in multi-stakeholder collaboration

• Roles and responsibilities – for example, standard setting and legislation vs. day-to-day technical administration

• Privatization of regulation: Open public Internet is narrowing down. No opportunity to opt out of or scrutinize Internet regulation that was envisioned and developed by the private sector

• Politicization of Internet governance and erosion of multi-stakeholderism (lack of non-governmental participation).

• Transparency and accountability in governance (for example, ICANN and the role of GAC)

• Reducing the cost of governance and improving transparency/reducing corruption with the help of the Internet (e-government)

• Oversight/governance of the technical and logical infrastructure of the Internet

• Independent reviews of different aspects of the Internet (accountability, transparency, stability?)

• Hard law vs. soft law for regulation

• How to continuously adapt Internet governance and enhanced cooperation institutions to a rapidly-changing Internet?

• The sovereign right of states in defining public policy on the Internet

• Multilateral, stable funding of IGF and WGEC

7.  Security

• Management and protection of Internet resources and infrastructure / measuring infrastructure performance

• Security and Safety / Cybercrime / Rule of law on the Internet

• Protecting children

• Privacy

• International ownership of data (cloud)

• Access to troubleshooting

People who participated in answering the survey questions include:
Nicola Treloar, Policy Advisor, New Zealand; Orebe ‘Tope, Nigerian Communications Commission International Affairs Unit; Ana Neves, Information Society Science and Technology Foundation, Portugal; Pascal Dutru, Regulatory Strategy & Policy Department Manager for the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, Qatar; Kirill V. Oparin, Deputy Director, Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Department of International Cooperation;

Leonid Todorov, Deputy Director, External Relations for CCTLD, Russia; Nigel Hickson, Vice President, Europe, ICANN (from Belgium); Mark Patenaude, VP and General Manager, St. Joseph Communications, Canada; Wolfgang Kleinwächter, professor of Internet Policy and Regulation, University of Aarhus, Denmark; Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU (Mali native, resident of Switzerland); George Victor Salama, Senior Manager for Public Policy, Samena Telecommunications Council, United Arab Emirates; Sally Wentworth, Senior Director of Strategic Public Policy, Internet Society, United States;

Bocar Ba, CEO, Samena Telecommunications Council, United Arab Emirates; Nashwa Gad, Department Manager, US-WSIS & Internet Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt; Ahmed Raghy, Deputy Director, Infrastructure Development Regulation, National Telecom Regulatory Authority, Egypt; Juuso Moisander, Information Society and ICTs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland; Louis Pouzin, President, Open-Root, France; Jari Arkko, Chair, Internet Engineering Task Force, Finland; Thomas Grob, Senior Expert, Regulatory Strategy and Economics, Deutsche Telekom, Germany;

Michael Rotert, European Federation of National Associations of Internet service providers; Riant Nugroho, Commissioner, Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority; Ahmad Bidabadi, Chairman of the Board, Data Processing Company, Iran; Stefano Ciccotti, CEO of Rai Way, Italy; Ramunè Petuchovaitè, Programme Manager, EIFL, Italy; Abdoulkarim Soumaila, Secretary-General, African Telecommuncations Union (ATU), Kenya; Paul Mitchell, Technology Policy Group, Microsoft, United States; Patrice Lyons, General Counsel, Corporation for National Research Initiatives, United States; Abubaker Ntambi, Research Specialist, Uganda Communications Commission, Uganda; Theo Cosmora, Founder & CEO, The People’s Vision, United Kingdom;

Harsha Liyanage, Managing Director of Fusion, Sri Lanka; Gary Anderson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer- Uraxs Communications, Switzerland; Dr. Robert Kahn, President & CEO, Corporation for National Research Initiatives, United States; Patrick Mutimushi, Director Technology & Engineering, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, Zambia; Elisabeth Rochman, WW Market Development Consultant, Hewlett Packard, Switzerland; Nevine Tewfik, Deputy Director, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt;

Mohammad Ali Tifouni, Programmer, Civil Service Commission State of Kuwait, Kuwait; Hassame Makki, Representative, Swiss Delegation, Switzerland; Mustafa Khan, University of Frankfurt student, Pakistan; Patricio Carvajal, Digital Literacy Director, Ministerio de Telecomunicacio y de la Societal de la Informacion – Aulo Movil, Ecuador; Gjergji Gjinko, Director of Cabinet of Minister for Innovation and ICT, Republic of Albania;

Musab Abdulla, Manager of Strategy and PMP, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Bahrain; Aysel Garibzade, TASIM Coordinator, Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, Azerbaijan; Abu Saeed Khan, Senior Policy Fellow, Lirne Asia, Bangladesh; Franc Dolenc, Director of Telecommunication, Slovenia; Helen Mason, Head of Operations, Child Helpline International, The Netherlands; Maseqobela Williams, Deputy Principal Secretary, Government of Lesotho, Lesotho; Ahmed Doeseri, Telecom Regulatory Authority, Bahrain;

Jasim Mohammed Al Senaidi, Representative, E-Omon, Oman; Boris Engelson, Freelance Journalist, Switzerland; Abdullah Rassam, TeleYemen Representative, Yemen; Ikhsam Baidirus, Head of Centre for International Affairs, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia; Abdulameer Al Lawati, Representative, Oman; Leulseged Alemie, Communication and IT Capacity- Building Director, Ethiopia; Ravi Prasad, Head of Policy and Research- Child Helpline International, The Netherlands; Ana Perdigao, Senior Consultant, Strategis Communications, Belgium; Roswitha Grass, NGO, Civil Society, Switzerland;

Dasho Kinley Dorji, Acting Minister, Ministry of Information and Communications Kingdom of Bhutan; Patrick Akers, Air Force Captain, ISAF Afghanistan, United States; Ewan Sutherland, Independent Telecommunication Policy Analyst, South Africa; Vujica Lazovic, Deputy Prime Minister for Information Society and Telecommunication, Montenegro.

– WTPF-WSIS 2013 video interviews were conducted by Joe Bruno, Ryan Greene, Brian Mezerski and Julie Morse, researchers from Elon University’s School of Communications, under the supervision of Brian Walsh, assistant professor, and Janna Anderson, associate professor and director of the Imagining the Internet Center.