Francesca Musiani is a researcher with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), affiliated with the Institute for Communication Sciences (ISCC). In this latest post in our series on alternative internet(s), she looks at the implications of governance by control of internet infrastructure.
A few bricks were lifted from the Great Firewall of China for three days during last week in Beijing as China hosted the World Internet Conference from the 19th to 21st of November.
The conference was a meeting of representatives of local Internet giants, such as Alibaba and executives from international tech corporations such as LinkedIn and SoftBank. Chinese authorities block access to Western social media and news websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but occasionally lift these controls for the attendees of high profile international events. This was also done earlier in November for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum which was hosted in the Chinese capital.
This August, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and in conjunction with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the leading organization responsible for maintaining the internet’s stability, hosted the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also known as the NETmundial Initiative. This conference brought together hundreds of government representatives, private sector members, civil society leaders, and academic and technology experts, as well as thousands of viewers via social media, to discuss the framework for carrying out global internet governance, in accordance with the NETmundial Principles established earlier this April.