The Strategic Significance of the Internet Commons

Michael Chertoff

Safeguarding the global commons demands a code of conduct universally supported by a global community. By relinquishing control of the Internet directory “root zone file,” the United States demonstrated its commitment to cyberspace as a global common which cannot be owned or ruled by one.

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James Lotspeich 7/17/2014 11:24:21 AM

While the article attempts to wrestle with large problems regarding internet governance, it does so from a standpoint of a theoretical entity (cyberspace) and not a real, physical network of (mostly) privately owned equipment. While the article briefly attempts to address this critique by comparing space and satellites to cyberspace and physical infrastructure, the key difference is that space exists as a resource regardless of what equipment is used to take advantage of it. Cyberspace, on the other hand, does not exist as a resource unless and until the physical infrastructure is purchased, built, and connected. In other words, all other domains are separable from the physical means by which they are manipulated. Cyberspace is not. Without acknowledging and dealing with this difference, it is impossible to arrive at usable conclusions regarding how to govern cyberspace.