9% Solution

In 2014, the top three people in ISOC are two Americans & one European. The top four people in ICANN are two Americans, one Brit and an Australian. IETF Chair Jeri Arkko, a Swede,has been eloquent on the need for diversity in IETF. The vast majority of leaders at leading Internet organizations are from the U.S. and Northern Europe. Those countries are about 9% of the world population and fewer than half of the Internet users. The ITU and other UN organizations are the only part of the Internet Governance scheme that remotely reflects the distribution of Internet users.     

No one involved believes this right but the data is clear that efforts by the organizations to be more broadly based have not yet succeeded. The distortion will become even more extreme as $50 smartphones connect two billion more people to the Internet. Cisco data suggests Africa will have more Internet users by 2007 than the U.S.. It looks like India alone will have more than Western Europe.    

Quotas are almost certainly politically impossible in these groups so that isn’t on the table and probably not a good idea. One response to the problem is for the organizations to reach out and attract more people whose native language isn’t English. Better ideas welcome.

It’s probably going to prove impossible to improve this without the U.S. reducing its five year effort to diminish the ITU, where most of the world attends. Ironically, a few years ago the U.S. recognized the ITU as the place for Internet discussions, looking for help on satellite rules and more. But since the Secretary-General in 2007 called for an International treaty on cybersecurity, the U.S. has worked tirelessly to discredit the ITU. We all know the U.S. led split at WCIT.

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