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Internet Policy Institute @ World
There are sociological, religious, political, linguistic and cultural values attached to the internet (the “net”) which differs from nation to nation.
Consumers, irrespective of their nationality, need help and advice on different aspects of the net – from what is best for their children to what is the best practice for rural broadband. Consumers are uncertain how their “net rights” are protected and indeed which court of law is responsible for them, if indeed there is a single court of law.
Governments, irrespective of what system of government, need better advice on cyber crime, on intellectual property rights, on privacy, on the law, on regulation and much more.
The existing world institutions – the UNO, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank – were established during and at the end of the Second World War and have largely favoured white, western countries; they are singularly inappropriate organisations to handle the complexities of the net.
At the eG8 in Paris and Deauville in May, 2011 President Sarkozy suggested a world body for the net but the American companies present and their Government supported by other G8 countries opposed the very idea. And yet, the global consumer needs a place of advice, a centre to resolve disputes and a place which monitors policy.
It is time to start a place where the global citizen can come with confidence to seek help and advice on everything to do with the net.
So rather than create a single centre what is being proposed is an Internet Policy Institute which starts its journey in different capitals of the world serving the major religious, political and cultural hubs.
Thus, not just an Internet Policy Institute @ London (English/Politics/Anglican) but initially @Doha (Arabic/Muslim), @New Delhi (Hindi and Hindu), @Beijing (Mandarin/Politics), Santiago (Spanish/Catholic), Washington, DC (English/Politics) and Dar es Salaam (African/Muslim). Of course, Beijing may take time to resolve but it will be worth the effort.
For sure there will be other capitals of the world who will want to create a chapter of the
Internet Policy Institute. Brussels could lay a claim as the political centre of 27 countries to be included in the first swathe of centres but initially this could be handled from London. Paris will suggest that as there are 28 Francophone countries she should be included and Tokyo, Ottawa, Sydney and Canberra would also be candidates. We would not want to preclude them but they would not feature in the first wave and/or would become a sub-set of an established centre.
Each institute would be attached in a formal way to a local university which has already established an international reputation in internet research or is on its way.
Initially, IPI centres would be established first in London and then on a three-six monthly cycle @Doha which would help start @New Delhi and with @London would be responsible for @Beijing; meanwhile @London would be responsible for @Washington, DC which in turn would kick start @Santiago.
As much as possible of the workings of the Internet Policy Institutes would be conducted via the net and would set new standards in openness, transparency and carbon footprint. Each in turn would become the centre of excellence in their hinterlands and grow organically. Every year there would be an international conference and each centre would host it on rotation.
After three years, each centre would also be responsible for 50% of its funding and after five years these should be, as far as possible, stand alone institutions. So right from the outset staff would understand that seeking on-going funding is a priority. Initial estimates suggest that an investment of between £17m-£20m ($27m-$32m) would be required over the first three years.