[Air-l] New Report: "Understanding WSIS"

Hans Klein hans.klein at pubpolicy.gatech.edu
Wed Dec 10 03:09:16 PST 2003

The UN World Summit on the Information Society is currently underway in Geneva.

This report on WSIS is now available at the IP3 website:

"Understanding WSIS: An Institutional Perspective on the
UN World Summit on the Information Society"

WSIS is hard to understand.  The 2003 Geneva meeting of the UN World
Summit on the Information Society has brought thousands of people to Geneva
to articulate a collective vision about the benefits and potentials of 
in society and the policies needed to realize them.
      Even immediate participants have difficulty understanding what has 
been achieved.
With so many recommendations, which ones will lead to concrete political 
and social change?  What is important and why?
      To help answer such questions, this report provides an institutional 
analysis of WSIS.
It focuses on two main features: its characteristics as a policy forum and 
the mechanisms
available to it for policy implementation.
      This institutional analysis is then applied to a set of WSIS policies 
to identify those with the
greatest potential to lead to social change. Two policies stand out: 
Internet governance and
security.  The WSIS forum is well suited to bestow legitimacy on a proposal 
to alter
the existing Internet governance regime, and the available implementation 
are well suited to put such a proposal into practice.  Likewise, WSIS is an
appropriate forum for promulgating a global agreement on security, and the 
implementation  mechanisms are also suitable.  Other policy topics 
considered are:
free and open software, communication rights, intellectual property,  human 
and funding.
      To say these policies are good candidates for action is not to say 
that they necessarily
will be endorsed and implemented.  Nonetheless, by identifying issues that 
"fit" the
world summit institution, this analysis can help set priorities for action 
and to gain
understanding of outcomes.

Report available at: http://www.ip3.gatech.edu

WSIS web site: http://www.itu.int/wsis/

The Internet and Public Policy Project (IP3) promotes Internet 
policy-related research in the
School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. It promotes dialogue between 
researchers within
and outside the Institute, offering forums for debate and discussion.

This report is a joint project between IP3 and Computer Professionals for 
Social Responsibility
(www.CPSR.org) with funding from the Open Society Institute distributed 
through the Internet Democracy Project.
Additional funding came from the Georgia Tech President Undergraduate 
Research Award Program.


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