Leveraging Local Communities
The effectiveness of the Internet as a mechanism to orchestrate public discourse is unprecedented in the history of communication. As we have witnessed the power relayed by social media communities to special interests influence the direction of national conversations, so will communities cultivated by profit driven corporations continue to empower their facilitators.
It is widely recognized that any organization is potentiated by self-interest to increase its own autonomy and reduce its accountability to others. It is in this spirit that the United States questions how it will be ensured that ICANN does not inappropriately control or influence the process for its own self-interest.
The greatest threat to the preservation of the Internet, from the aspirations of influence by any given repressive regime, is not in the participation parity of governments. It is in that a handful of companies, dominating an Internet that is increasingly centralized, will have the natural tendency to operate in their own concern. The argument that this inures to the benefit of the United States beyond a transitionary period is unsubstantiated by the prevalence of offshore tax mitigation strategies enacted by a number of such companies, and certainly corporations must remain accountable to their governments.
When governments do not have the allegiance of the communities that capacitate the infrastructure for social, economic, and political processes, governance becomes compelled from the direction of these processes. In the context of globalization, this is the vacuum in the larger question of accountability, implying that governments are critical to the multistakeholder model. While a solution led by one or more governments may expose the Internet to the unacceptable prospect of external sovereign control, the effective participation by governments worldwide remains key to ensuring that accountability protects the Internet from tremors resulting from the real threat of manipulation by special interests representing any given industry, cause, entity or nation.
ICANN is a prime example of an organization that leverages the efficiencies granted by the Internet as a collaborative platform to facilitate interaction between its related technology communities. Perhaps a solution yet exists in a judicious separation of outstanding powers facilitated by a parallel Organization that is structured such that governments may nurture their own local technology Communities and collaboratively coordinate with the IANA functions operator, in their own Rights, in order to expedite matters of Internet governance from the bottom up, while preserving global stability.