Competing Institutional Trajectories of Global Regulation – Internet in a Fragmented World
Like the world itself, the world of Internet governance is a fragmented one. Governments collide, corporations compete, civil society watches anxiously and mobilizes. It is a space where no invisible hand prevails as many regulations make up a complex multi-layered governance scheme. At the recent the WCIT 2012 organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Dubai, discussions stalked over whether to grant governments more power to regulate the cyberspace. Most Western powers rallied behind a « hands off approach » to Internet regulation, whereas many others and some very important nations pled in favour of greater government control and increased ITU oversight of Internet governance. This communication will examine the conflicting views concerning the regulation of the Internet while attempting to explain the current fragmentation/segmentation of the Internet universe in three worlds and rationales, i.e. that of governments, of corporations and of civil society. It will also discuss the Global Internet Governance in terms of competing institutional trajectories that are a reflection of those three worlds competing and overlapping. The paper will thereby attempt to unveil the main building blocks of Internet governance and the underlying power rivalries, the distribution of capabilities among actors, both public and private, and the power if ideas and institutions.