At the beginning of every year the Brooking Institution releases the Big Bets and Black Swans – a memo addressed to the US president with policy insights and actionable recommendations on challenges lying ahead. Of interest to me is that this year’s memo among other things addresses the internet.
Peter Singer and Ian Wallace memo to the president looks at how the Barack Obama administration can secure the future of the internet as we know it today. This comes against the backdrop of Edward Snowden’s jaw dropping revelations about the activities of the National Security Agency. This revelations have kick started a debate among nation states and internet stakeholders on the future of internet. One of these stakeholder meetings is set to take place in Sao Paulo - Brazil in April 23-24, 2014. This stakeholder meeting is an ICANN organised meet with the support of Brazilian government which had big fallout with Obama administration over NSA spying concerns of President Dilma Rousseff.
One of the main agenda of the ICANN Brazil Gig is to come up with principles of ‘internet governance’. Peter Singer and Ian Wallace in their memo to the president rightfully point out that once Edward Snowden raised the damning report of NSA activities Washington has taken a back seat on matters of protecting the internet since they do not have the moral authority to pontificate on such matters given what NSA has been doing. However, the two authors seek to have the president raise the priority of internet policy and strategy. In so doing the United States would play a pivotal role in the raging debate on ‘internet governance’.