Internet Transition Shows Need for Education Effort, Strickling Says



As Assistant Commerce Secretary Lawrence E. Strickling sees it, 11th-hour criticism of the transfer of internet oversight functions to the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers shows that the global internet community needs to do a better job in bringing policymakers along in the future.

All interested parties must be given as many opportunities to participate in the process as possible so that critics can air their issues during it and not at the very end, Strickling said. 

Strickling said proponents of what is called the “multistakeholder model” must spread among policymakers greater awareness and understanding of how the process works.

“We can explain that they offer a nimble, flexible approach, much better suited to rapidly changing technologies and markets than traditional regulatory or legislative models,” Strickling said Oct. 26 at an internet governance event hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

After a global community of business interests, trade associations, governments, academics and individual internet users spent two years developing a plan and obtained approval from the Commerce Department, GOP lawmakers moved to block the transition by trying to insert language in a stopgap government funding bill.  Four state attorney generals filed a last-minute lawsuit, which they later dropped.

“You do not show respect for the multistakeholder process when you do not participate for two years and then afterward say you object to the outcome,” Strickling said. “Of course, there will always be those who are not happy with the outcome.  But if you believe in the process, you must respect the process.”