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Policy Principles - The ICT Framework


What is "Internet Governance? The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) raised questions about "Internet governance." This term is often misunderstood. In a March 2004 paper prepared for the UN ICT Task Force, three leading Internet policy experts, including the Executive Director of GIPI, distinguish among three sets of issues, describing how each is "governed" by a mix of governmental and non-governmental arrangements: (1) ICT governance issues, which contain as a subset; (2) Internet governance issues, which contain as a subset: (3) Administration and coordination of Internet names and numbers. CDT discusses the role of ICANN in Internet Governance in a July 2004 paper, ICANN and Internet Governance: Getting Back to Basics [ENG][RUS]

Several prominent international bodies have developed principles for Internet policy. There is striking overlap among these recommendations. They provide the starting point for policy development:

The Regulatory Framework for E-Commerce - International Legislative Practice May 2002 [pdf]

There are international models to draw upon for elements of an Internet regulatory framework. This GIPI memorandum offers an outline of key issues that comprise an e-commerce framework and points to the relevant international models, in seven areas: telecommunications liberalization, recognition of electronic documents (including their legality as contracts and evidence), consumer protection, electronic funds transfer and the use of credit and debit cards, dispute resolution, ISP liability, and domain names. Other issues - intellectual property, privacy, cybercrime - are discussed elsewhere on the GIPI site.

E-Commerce Framework

PowerPoint presentation by GIPI Manager Bob Horvitz, Nov. 2002, presenting an overview of telecom reform, e-document legislation, consumer protection and other issues, with reference to international models.

Internet growth - key learnings from India [pdf]

Paper by Rishi Chawla, GIPI India, presented at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on User Groups/Consumer Societies of the Telecommunication Sector, 22-23 November 2002, in Phuket, Thailand

Regulation and Internet Use in Developing Countries [pdf]

Using data from a unique new survey of telecommunications regulators and other sources to measure the effects of regulation in Internet development, finds regulation strongly correlated with lower Internet penetration and higher Internet access charges. Finds that countries that require formal regulatory approval for Internet service providers (ISPs) to begin operations have fewer Internet users and Internet hosts than countries that do not require such approval. Moreover, countries that regulate ISP final-user prices have higher Internet access prices than countries that do not have such regulations.

A Layered Model for Internet Policy

An excellent paper by by Kevin Werbach, Sept. 2000, presenting a way for telecom regulators to respond to the problems of media convergence on the digital "platform" of TCP/IP. Written with the US Federal Communications Commission in mind, it is even more relevant today to less developed countries, which are less limited by existing investments in infrastructure than the US is. It is particularly good on interconnection, which is a central issue in societies served by an abundance of diverse networks.

ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook, by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Johannesburg (2003)

Intended for non-specialists in government and civil society. Contains four parts: an introduction on ICT policy; the Internet, markets and access; national ICT and Internet policy and regulation; specific issues in Internet policy and regulation (gender, intellectual property, freedom of expression and censorship, privacy and security, cybercrime and anti-terrorism legislation, surveillance).

GIPI is guided by the following principles and perspectives:

These principles are also available in Russian.

Is Internet Regulation Needed?

The first step in legal reform for the Internet is to ask: Does the current law -- or the absence of law -- hinder or promote development of the Internet?

Before Regulating the Internet --

Government officials, the Internet industry, and the public need to determine: what would be the purpose (and the effects) of new laws or regulations?

To Regulate or Not to Regulate? That is the question!

What Is Unregulated?

Unique Nature of the Internet

Internet policy must take into account the ways in which the Internet differs from TV and other mass media:

With These Principles in Mind --

One can ask -- what legal framework is needed for the Internet to flourish.

Many of the legal principles favoring Internet development are principles of general application to business law and the field of telecommunications, and are not specific to the Internet.


An effective ICT/Internet strategy should identify --

Support for Entrepreneurship

Telecomm Liberalization

Privatization: Internationally, telecomm policy favors privatization.

Competition: Competition can drive down prices, promote investment and spur the deployment of affordable services

International standard: full and fair competition in local exchange service, leased lines, long distance, and backbone; among wireline, wireless, and cable; and among ISPs.



Technical Standards

Price Regulation - Affordability

Universal Service

Training and Public Access

Local Language Content

Internet/ICT Law

In addition to the foregoing basics, issues specific to ICT and the Internet must be addressed:


The World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies�- a project initiated by infoDev, the Global Information and Technologies Department of the World Bank. The first three WDR Discussion Papers are

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