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The World Needs An Online Internet Policy Institute

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The world needs a place to foster more informed debate on Internet policy and regulation.
1. Why is it needed?
A number of events have coalesced over the past year or so to make me think that the world – its politicians, its governments, its businesses, its charities, its academics and free thinkers, its people - needs a place to identify and discuss best practice:
Google in China
Digital Economy Bill in UK
France’s three strikes and out for illegal peer-to-peer file sharing
Rural broadband
The Digital Divide
Child Safety online
UNO Convention on Children’s Rights (Offline)
2. Research Institutes
There are a number of research organizations round the world with a focus on the Internet and policy, including:
- OII - the Oxford Internet Institute
- The Berkman Center for the Internet and Society
- BCLT - the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology
- FIR at St.Gallen / Switzerland
- Information Law Institute at NYLS
- Supernova @ Wharton (Kevin Werbach)
- ITM at University of Muenster (Germany)
- Hand-Bredow-Institute Hamburg (Germany)
- NEXA at Torino (Italy)
- PIRP at Harvard
- CITP at Princeton (Ed Felten)
- Centre for Asia Pacific Technology Law & Policy (NTU)
The Berkman Center, for example, has held meetings for years that are focused on policy, and major international conferences, such as the Rueschlikon Conference, or meetings of the Aspen Institute, have had strong funding to bring participants together around selected policy issues.
The proposed institute does not propose to replicate these existing initiatives. While strong individually, and as a set, they face major difficulties in gaining the commitment of highly placed individuals, with new perspectives on the issues, and the ability to really effectuate change. One reason is that they are often too far removed from government policy circles.
It will maintain an independence from any single party or industry, but at the same time seek to be close to the heart of government. Anchored and housed in London, but with links to academia and industry, the Institute would provide an opportunity for academic research, and industry perspectives, to be brought together in ways that could directly inform policy and regulation.
3. Annual Conference
An annual conference would bring together world policy makers and could be hosted at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University.
4. Spreading the Message
We’d want to see associates of the Institute established in each major country so we can delegate and allow this initiative to grow organically.

Email me at

(c) Derek Wyatt 2010


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