ICANN criticize UN’s Global Digital Compact for excluding technical experts

Major internet organizations, including ICANN, APNIC, and ARIN, have criticized the United Nations’ Global Digital Compact for excluding technical experts as a distinct voice in internet governance. The organizations argue that the tripartite model proposed by the UN is unnecessary, as current governance models, which include technical stakeholders, have successfully supported the growth and sustainability of the internet.

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Major internet organizations, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), and the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), have expressed concerns regarding the UNs’ proposed Global Digital Compact. They argue that the compact, which aims to establish shared principles for an open, free, and secure digital future, excludes technical experts as a distinct voice in internet governance.

The organizations assert that technical experts have made significant contributions to the growth and sustainability of the internet and should be recognized as valuable stakeholders in internet governance. However, recent articulations of the Global Digital Compact suggest a tripartite model of digital cooperation, consisting of the private sector, governments, and civil society, without including a distinct role for technical stakeholders. ICANN, APNIC, and ARIN argue that this omission is dangerous as it would result in the technical community losing its voice in decision-making processes.

To support their arguments, the organizations co-signed and published a document criticizing the current form of the Global Digital Compact. They emphasize that the technical community is not part of civil society and highlight the outcomes of the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) – a UN event staged in 2003 and 2005 – which acknowledged the unique and essential roles played by technical stakeholders. The WSIS+10 event in 2015 further reaffirmed the significance of including technical experts in internet governance.

The authors of the document, including Paul Wilson, CEO of APNIC, and Sally Costerton, interim President and CEO of ICANN, contend that the proposed tripartite model is unnecessary and goes against established practices. They point out that the internet user population has grown from one billion in 2005 to over five billion today, suggesting that the current governance models, which involve technical stakeholders, have successfully delivered a robust internet.

In conclusion, ICANN, APNIC, and ARIN criticize the United Nations’ Global Digital Compact for excluding technical experts and advocate for the inclusion of the technical community as a distinct voice in internet governance. They argue that the proposed tripartite model deviates from established practices and overlooks the significant contributions made by the technical community. The organizations assert that the existing governance models have been effective in supporting a robust internet and urge the UN to acknowledge the importance of the technical community in shaping future internet governance processes.