Authored by Lawrence Lessig
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) began as a response to the major shifts that the Internet
was causing in social arrangements. Those same factors persist at the end of the WSIS process: the Internet’s growing importance has left the state in a position of reliance on private enterprises for expertise and flexibility in decision-making. Meanwhile, the international nature of the Internet has forced states to recognize their interdependence, with a certain tendency toward international federalism emerging. As individuals perceive this shift, they are asking what this international integration means for their relationship to the state, and their very rights as citizens in the information society. Still, many people are simply embracing the Internet and forming new, international communities online, while business opportunities abound. Because these societal shifts were recognized by representatives at the Geneva Phase of WSIS, they agreed on the Declaration of Principles – calling for multilateral, transparent, democratic, coordinated, and multi-stakeholder approaches to decisionmaking in the networked world.
Last updated February 20, 2008