The administration of the internet must be made more democratic. This is the Brazilian proposal that will be presented in Geneva by José Alexandre Bicalho, advisor to the Board of Directors of the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel).
Bicalho, who is a member of the Internet Management Committee of Brazil and represents Brazil on the United Nations (UN) Work Group on Internet Governance, recalled that this function is exercised at present by the United States, through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), based in California.
The Brazilian position will be presented by Bicalho at next week’s meeting of the UN Work Group on Internet Governance in Geneva. He believes that Brazil’s position will appear “at least, as one of the options for the governance model” to be proposed by the group in its final report.
The structure of the ICANN is being questioned, because some governments think that it does not suit the demands of the decision-making process.
That is, the ICANN’s existing mechanisms for governmental and civil society participation are inadequate, Bicalho said. What is being debated is the definition of an appropriate forum in which to conduct this discussion.
“Even if this forum turns out to be an internationalized version of the ICANN itself, modified and adapted to meet the demands that are being identified within the scope of the UN Work Group on Internet Governance,” he explained.
The Brazilian representative informed that there are problems with the connection between the ICANN and the United States Department of Commerce.
It is naturally very difficult for the totality of countries to recognize as legitimate an organization that has very close ties to a single government.
“It is a very complicated situation, but, theoretically, the tendency is for it to end in 2006, with the expiration of the memorandum of understanding between the United States and the ICANN,” Bicalho said.
“This could facilitate an internationalization of the organization and make it more acceptable to the majority of countries,” he added.
Bicalho explained, however, that there is a growing awareness that the ICANN limits itself at present to taking care of some specific Internet Governance issues, which suggests that there should be mechanisms to deal with other questions, such as spam (messages sent without the recipient’s control) and security, for example, for which no global mechanism exists where countries can sit down and discuss these matters.