52 Emory L.J. 187 (2003)
Freedom of Expression, Democratic Norms, and Internet Governance

handle is hein.journals/emlj52 and id is 199 raw text is: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, DEMOCRATIC NORMS, AND
INTERNET GOVERNANCE
Dawn C. Nunziato*
I. INTRODUCTION
Within a decade, the Internet has transformed from an obscure medium for
the exchange of military and scientific data to a global medium of mass
communication and expression of all kinds. As speech on the Internet has
become increasingly important, a number of governments have made well-
publicized and widely criticized attempts to control it. Not as well-publicized
or as well-analyzed are the speech-regarding policies of the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body that has
been governing the Internet's infrastructure for the last five years. In the
agreement under which it gained its current powers, ICANN assured the
United States that it would govern the Internet's infrastructure democratically
and would implement governance structures to take into account the interests
of affected Internet users around the world. In particular, ICANN promised to
conduct worldwide elections of representatives to its decision-making bodies
and to embody deliberative and representative democratic structures. While
ICANN has acknowledged the importance of implementing such procedural
democratic norms, it has failed to acknowledge that the ideals of democratic
governance encompass substantive norms, such as protection for freedom of
expression. Nor has ICANN acknowledged that any of its policies implicate
free speech.
In this Article, I challenge both components of the prevailing ideology-
that ICANN's governance of the Internet's infrastructure does not threaten free
* Associate Professor, The George Washington University Law School. B.A., M.A. (Philosophy), J.D.,
University of Virginia. I have benefited from presenting earlier drafts of this Article at the Conference on New
Technologies and International Governance sponsored by the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies (SAIS), the Wharton Legal Studies Research Colloquium, and The George Washington University
Law School Works-in-Progress series. I am also very grateful for the assistance of Robert Brauneis, David
Epstein, Ellen P. Goodman, Todd Peterson, David Post, Roger Schechter, Robert Tuttle, and the library and
research assistance of Leonard Klein, Kiyoshi Tsuru, and Stephen Soltanzadeh. All web sites referenced
herein were last visited February 1, 2003.

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