Internet governance refers to the development and application of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programs that shape the evolution and use of the internet. It’s a complex, multifaceted area that encompasses a variety of stakeholders, including governments, private sector entities, civil society, and international organizations.

Policies Governing Internet Architecture and Operations:

  1. Domain Name System (DNS): The system translates user-friendly domain names (like “”) into IP addresses. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for coordinating the global DNS.
  2. Internet Protocol (IP) Address Allocation: IP addresses are unique numerical identifiers for devices on the internet. Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are responsible for allocating IP address space within their respective regions.
  3. Internet Standards Development: The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the primary body responsible for developing technical standards that make the internet work.
  4. Root Zone Management: The root zone of the DNS ensures that domain queries are directed to the appropriate top-level domain (TLD) server. ICANN works in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Verisign to manage the DNS root zone.
  5. Cybersecurity Standards: Various bodies, like the IETF and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), work on standards to enhance the security and privacy of internet users.

International Cooperation on Internet Governance:

  1. World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS): Held under the auspices of the United Nations, WSIS seeks to create an inclusive information society. One of its outcomes was the creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).
  2. Internet Governance Forum (IGF): An initiative of the UN, the IGF provides a platform for stakeholders from government, industry, and civil society to discuss public policy issues related to the internet.
  3. GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee): Within ICANN, the GAC provides advice on public policy, especially where there may be an interaction between ICANN’s activities and national laws.
  4. Multistakeholder Model: Recognized widely as the ideal framework for internet governance, this model ensures that various entities, including governments, the private sector, civil society, and academia, have a say in the governance process. ICANN is an example of an organization that employs this model.
  5. Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements: Countries often engage in agreements to tackle shared challenges on the internet, such as cybercrime, cybersecurity, and data protection.
  6. International Telecommunication Union (ITU): An agency of the UN, the ITU addresses issues related to ICTs, including aspects of internet governance.

The decentralized, global nature of the internet necessitates a cooperative approach to its governance. While certain aspects are technically driven, many intersect with public policy, underscoring the need for a collaborative, inclusive, and transparent governance process.