2.3. Public policy governance

The difference between the public policy sphere of governance, and the technical coordination and standards development spheres, is that whereas the latter engage public policy issues in an indirect and subsidiary manner, public policy governance, by definition, does so directly and primarily. Just as the main instruments of technical coordination are norms and markets, and of standards development norms and architecture, the principal mechanism for the exercise of public policy governance is through the use of rules.

Although rules are found in other hierarchical power relationships than that between government and governed, it is in that context that they find their most common and effective expression, and are known as law. Law may of course be further subdivided in any number of ways, for example into that produced by legislative, executive or judicial arms of government, but the more relevant distinction for present purposes is between international law, and national or sub-national law (which together we may call domestic law).

In this section, a brief survey will be made of a range of laws and other rules on a selection of Internet-related public policy issues at both international and domestic levels, taking the particular example of Australia where possible, and omitting discussion of WSIS and the IGF which are the subject of Chapter 5.[1] In doing so, it is hoped that some of the gaps in the existing governance regimes applied to those public policy issues will be identified, and the scope of the IGF’s potential work programme illustrated.



The arrangement below is intended to highlight the relevant issues rather than the relevant actors, however those involved in technical coordination and standards development have already been surveyed in the first two sections of this chapter, and some of the most prominent intergovernmental organisations are described in chapter 3. A clear and complete tabular overview of all the organisations active in Internet governance is found in table 1 of Mathiason, John, Mueller, Milton, Klein, Hans, Holitscher, Marc, & McKnight, Lee, Internet Governance: The State of Play (2004).