An Introduction to Internet Governance

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Kurbalija, Jovan
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Although Internet governance deals with the core of the digital world, governance cannot be handled with the digital-binary logic of true or false, or good or bad. Instead, the subject demands many subtleties and shades of meaning and perception, requiring an analogue approach, covering a continuum of options and compromises. The aim of the book An Introduction to Internet Governance, by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, is to provide a comprehensive overview of the main issues and actors in the field through a practical framework for analysis, discussion, and resolution of significant issues. Written in a clear and accessible way, supplemented with figures and illustrations, it focuses on the technical, security, legal, economic, development, sociocultural, and human rights aspects of Internet governance. The text and approaches presented in the book have been used by DiploFoundation and many universities as a basis for training courses and capacity development programmes on Internet governance.
The controversy surrounding Internet governance starts with its definition. It is not merely linguistic pedantry. The way the Internet is defined reflects different perspectives, approaches, and policy interests. Typically, telecommunications specialists see Internet governance through the prism of the development of a technical infrastructure. Computer specialists focus on the development of different standards and applications, such as XML (eXtensible Markup Language) or Java. Communication specialists stress the facilitation of communication. Human rights activists view Internet governance from the perspective of freedom of expression, privacy, and other fundamental human rights. Lawyers concentrate on jurisdiction and dispute resolution. Politicians worldwide usually focus on issues that resonate with their electorates, such as techno‑optimism (more computers = more education) and threats (cybersecurity, cybercrime, child protection). Diplomats are mainly concerned with the process and protection of national interests. The list of potentially conflicting professional perspectives of Internet governance goes on.