Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process
Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
About This Event


Event Summary

Who governs the Internet, and how can we secure the traditionally open nature of the Internet? On Tuesday at AEI, several Internet experts addressed these concerns, beginning with AEI's Jeffrey Eisenach, who highlighted — by reflecting back on a time when webcams were used to monitor coffee pots — how much our uses of the network have expanded.
Ambassador Danny Sepulveda and David McAuley of Bloomberg BNA established the importance of ensuring a well-functioning network and outlined the different moving pieces of the broader Internet governance debate. Ambassador Sepulevda stressed that all stakeholders need to be responsible for and responsive to the network as a whole and to the needs of other interested parties.

During the panel discussion, Steve DelBianco of NetChoice stressed how important accountability is in the planned transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function. Steve Crocker of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) clarified the current authorities of ICANN and explained how a fairly technical record-keeping task has become so hotly debated. 

Larry Strickling of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration concluded the event with a keynote address focused on the IANA transition and common misconceptions about it, particularly those relating to the US relinquishing control over the Internet. As Strickling explained, the IANA transition is simply the last step in a privatization process that started more than a decade ago, and any delay would only undermine our commitment to the multistakeholder model.
--Guro Ekrann

Event Description

During the 50th Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers meeting, the global Internet community signaled its continued concerns regarding the accountability and transparency of the Internet governance process. As the US government prepares to end its oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, how might we strengthen the multistakeholder process and ensure that rogue governments or actors do not threaten the traditional openness and innovation of the Internet?

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

We invite you to follow the discussion on Twitter using #igfAEI.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


8:30 AM

8:50 AM
Opening Remarks:
Jeffrey Eisenach, AEI

9:00 AM
Danny Sepulveda, US Department of State

David McAuley, Bloomberg BNA

10:00 AM
Steve Crocker, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Steve DelBianco, NetChoice
Laura DeNardis, American University
David Gross, Wiley Rein LLP

Shane Tews, AEI

11:00 AM
Keynote Address II:
Larry Strickling, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

12:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Guro Ekrann at [email protected], 202.862.5882.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

More from ICANN on Accountability and Transparency

Speaker Biographies

Steve Crocker is the current chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). He is also the CEO and cofounder of Shinkuro Inc., a startup focused on the dynamic sharing of information across the Internet. As part of the team that developed protocols for Arpanet in the 1960s, he has been involved with Internet governance since its inception. Crocker organized the Network Working Group, predecessor to the modern Internet Engineering Task Force, and created the Request for Comments that document protocol designs. For these contributions, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers honored him with the Internet Award in 2002. Crocker has continued to play an important role in Internet governance through his involvement with the Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Architecture Board, and Board of the Internet Society.

Steve DelBianco is the executive director of NetChoice, a trade association of eCommerce businesses. He is the elected policy chair for the Business Constituency at ICANN. DelBianco has provided expert testimony in 14 congressional hearings on Internet governance, online consumer protection, and Internet taxation. He served on the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative Exchange Council for more than a decade. He has also repeatedly opposed new tax burdens on Internet commerce at the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board and has taken part in six meetings of the UN Internet Governance Forum. DelBianco has been featured on CNN, The Wall Street Journal, POLITICO, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and many other media outlets.

Laura DeNardis is a scholar of Internet architecture and governance and a professor and associate dean in the School of Communication at American University. Her books include “The Global War for Internet Governance” (Yale University Press, 2014), “Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability” (MIT Press, 2011), “Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance” (MIT Press, 2009, 2014), and “Information Technology in Theory” (Thompson, 2007), with Pelin Aksoy. DeNardis is a fellow of the Yale Information Society Project and previously served as its executive director and a lecturer at Yale Law School. She is a senior fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the research director for the Global Commission on Internet Governance.

Jeffrey Eisenach is a visiting scholar at AEI. Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget. At AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a senior vice president at NERA Economic Consulting and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches Regulated Industries. He writes on a wide range of issues, including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. He has also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

David Gross is a partner at Wiley Rein LLP and is a global expert on international telecommunications. He was US coordinator for international communications and information policy at the US Department of State from 2001 to 2009. In this capacity, he chaired the US delegations to two International Telecommunication Union (ITU) treaty-writing Plenipotentiary Conferences, a wide variety of other major ITU conferences, three Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings, and many other significant, global information and communications technology events. He was also the chief US negotiator at the UN Heads of State World Summit on the information society in 2003 and 2005 and served on the UN Information and Communications Technologies Task Force for five years. He has addressed the UN General Assembly and led US delegations to major international telecommunication conferences on multiple occasions.

Danny Sepulveda is the deputy assistant secretary of state and US coordinator for international communications and information policy in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He has long been involved with issues of Internet governance through his work for the US Senate Commerce Committee. He was senior adviser to Senator John Kerry (D-MA) during his time as chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and advised Kerry on key issues of internet governance reform. During his professional career, he has also served as an adviser to Senators William Cowan (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Barack Obama (D-IL). In addition to trade and technology, his areas of expertise include labor issues and immigration.

Lawrence E. Strickling serves as assistant secretary for communications and information at the US Department of Commerce and as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). At NTIA, Strickling leads the agency's efforts to promote the stability and security of the Internet domain name system by participating on behalf of the US government in ICANN activities. He also oversees NTIA initiatives to expand broadband Internet access and adoption across America, increase the amount of wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband services, protect consumer privacy online, and build a nationwide broadband network for public safety. Strickling has more than two decades of technology policy experience in the public and private sectors. He has served as chief of the Common Carrier Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and as associate general counsel and chief of the FCC’s Competition Division. He has also served in senior roles at a number of telecommunications companies, including Broadwing Communications LLC and Regional Bell Operating Company Ameritech Corp.

Shane Tews is a visiting fellow with AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, where she primarily works on cybersecurity and Internet governance issues. She is the chief policy officer at 463 Communications. Tews was formerly vice president of global public policy and government relations for Verisign Inc. and is vice-chair of the board of directors for the Internet Education Foundation. She formerly sat on several information technology boards, including the European American Business Council and the United States Telecommunications Training Institute. She also chaired the Information Technology Information Council’s federal government relations department and sat as chairman of the TechNet Public Policy Committee.

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