Global Standard Setting in Internet Governance

ISBN : 9780198841524

Alison Harcourt; George Christou; Seamus Simpson
288 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Jan 2020
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The book addresses representation of the public interest in Internet standard developing organisations (SDOs). Much of the existing literature on Internet governance focuses on international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The literature covering standard developing organisations has to date focused on organisational aspects. This book breaks new ground with investigation of standard development within SDO fora. Case studies centre on standards relating to privacy and security, mobile communications, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and copyright. The book lifts the lid on internet standard setting with detailed insight into a world which, although highly technical, very much affects the way in which citizens live and work on a daily basis. In doing this it adds significantly to the trajectory of research on Internet standards and SDOs that explore the relationship between politics and protocols. The analysis contributes to academic debates on democracy and the internet, global self-regulation and civil society, and international decision-making processes in unstructured environments. The book advances work on the Multiple Streams Framework (MS) by applying it to decision-making in non-state environments, namely SDOs which have long been dominated by private actors. The book is aimed at academic audiences in political science, computer science communications and science and technology studies as well as representatives from civil society, the civil service, government, engineers and experts working within SDO fora. It will also be accessible to students at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels.


1 Introduction: global standard setting in Internet governance.
2 Informal governance and decision-making through multiple streams: explaining standard developing organisations.
3 Internal governance of the IETF, W3C and IEEE: structure, decision-making and internationalisation.
4 The Quick UDP Internet Connection (QUIC) and Transport Layer Security 1.3 Standards: Snowden and the Impact on the Encryption Debate in the IETF
5 Political drift and forum shifts: the case of browser development
6 802.11ax: Technical Standards-Making, Unlicensed Spectrum and the Future of WiFi
7 The Do Not Track standard: a failure of self-regulation and the politics of contestation.
8 Dynamic Spectrum Access, technical standards and competing spectrum policy interests in the TV white space environment.
9 Protocols and state surveillance.
10 Engineers and the public interest.
11 The Internet of Things: a policy window for standard essential patents.
12 Conclusion: SDO Decision-making and the Public interest.

About the author: 

Alison Harcourt is Professor of Public Policy at the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter. She is also Director of the Centre for European Governance. Alison specialises regulatory change in digital markets and interested in solutions to regulatory problems based around the citizen/consumer and/or civil society voice. She has written on the regulation of traditional and new media markets and internet governance at EU and international levels contributing to the literature on agenda setting, regulatory competition, soft governance, Europeanisation and policy convergence. ; George Christou is Professor of European Politics and Security at the Department for Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. His main research interests include the EU's role in conflict resolution, with specific interest in Cyprus and Turkey; European Neighbourhood Policy, how it has been constructed and how it has been received; the EU as an actor in Internet Governance and the political economy of European and Global Internet Governance; and the EU's Cyber Security Policy. ; Seamus Simpson is Professor of Media Policy in the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford. His research interests are in European and global communications policy and his work has been funded by the ESRC and the European Commission. He was part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers team which undertook the first EU-funded evaluation of the pan-European electronic communications regulator, BEREC, in 2012.

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