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New modes of regulatory governance for the internet? Country code top level domains in Europe

Christou, George and Simpson, Seamus (2007) New modes of regulatory governance for the internet? Country code top level domains in Europe. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract

Discussion of the evolving system of Internet governance has become prominent in the academic literature over the last decade or so. However, the role of the state in the governance of the vital system for Internet naming and addressing has been comparatively under-addressed by political science. The commercialization of the Internet has seen a substantive growth in country code domain name registrations (e.g. dot uk, dot de) raising significant questions about appropriate governance forms and regulatory functions to allow for both an efficient domain name market and a robust public policy framework to cater for consumer and citizen interests. This paper draws on conceptualisations of 'new governance' in emerging global economic sectors to characterise emerging patterns in country code top level domain name (ccTLD) governance in Europe. It finds that states have chosen to devolve the governance of ccTLDs to independent privately ordered parties, in the process creating non-hierarchical systems of governance characteristic of those found in the ‘new governance’ literature. Nevertheless, the state is still an important actor in these systems, whose precise position varies according to the national case in question.

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