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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Contribution Feb 2013 Text Display Screen

Name : ALQURASHI, Mansour
Date : October 10, 2013
Organization : Communication & IT Commission (CITC) / National Committee for Information Society (NCIS)
Country : Saudi Arabia
Issues : Issue 3

Contribution :

Despite its phenomenal growth, the existing Internet was not conceived with its multiple uses, internationalization, and the WSIS principles in mind. The evolution of the Internet, from both the technical and the governance perspectives, has been slow, difficult, and based on a suboptimal platform. Among its weaknesses, which need to be addressed and improved, are:

             Internet governance which is not fully internationalized and which focuses primarily on domain names;

             Limited security features, including susceptibility to malware and spam; and

             Limited facility for multilingualization, non-Latin scripts, and local content.

A feature that has characterized Internet development and governance over the last two decades has been an apparent commitment to avoid fragmentation. However, extrapolating from the successes of policies, programs and initiatives in other areas of ICT, there appear to be substantial benefits to be gained from competition. In particular, this could apply to a new, alternate internet based on innovative technologies that address current challenges and whose protocols and governance are optimized from the beginning to support current and projected requirements.

The competition and innovation provided by one or more new, alternate internets can be expected to lead to improvements in all internets. The core technology that powers the existing Internet, for example, has changed little since it was invented, and the existing monopolistic situation has not been effective in addressing current challenges.

It would, of course, be necessary to ensure interoperability among internets while presenting options for those countries which choose to use a new, alternate internet. The need for a new, alternate internet has been recognized by many relevant organizations and work is progressing on many fronts, with some attempt at coordination. Research is underway on both evolutionary and clean slate approaches to Internet development.

International public policy related to development of the Internet should stress that sustainability, security, stability and interoperabilty are of paramount importance. This does not preclude alternative internets that use different technologies and protocols, as long as gateways are provided to ensure interoperability.

New developments in a clean slate approach should ensure native capability to address the known deficiencies of the existing technology. These include, among others: scalability; security; multilingualism; and efficiency.

Governance principles need to adapt to developments in the Internet and should not be focused primarily on a domain name system. Governance should evolve and adapt to changes in the Internet in a manner that optimizes the entire ecosystem. This includes:

             Full internationalization appropriate to the infrastructure design and with a decentralized governance structure in line with WSIS principles;

             Support of cybersecurity, including coordinated measures against malware, botnets, phishing, spam, etc.;

             Support of all forms of e-transactions and in particular e-government;

             Support of implementing multilingualism, diverse scripts, and local content; and

             The needs and requirements of developing countries through their participation in the design and governance of the Internet and its development.