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In January 1998, an agency of the Department of Commerce (NTIA) issued what has become known as the "Green Paper." The document was a proposal which made clear that the agency intended to empower a non-profit entity to take control of the Internet and its DNS system.[1] The proposal drew criticism from some American lawmakers and other concerned individuals who saw the American-fostered Internet about to be handed over to a Swiss entity.[2] The revised "White Paper" addressed some of those concerns but still posited the need for an Internet organization which could respect and foster stability, competition, bottom-up coordination, and international representation, while also establishing appropriate protocol and administrative mechanisms.[3] The "White Paper" did not clarify all of the divisive issues but instead called for the proposed entity to utilize its self-governance to decide on the issues at hand itself.[2] The White Paper spurned the creation of the International Forum on the White Paper, which involved the creation and meeting of four globally regional forums, and brought together some 1,000 Internet stakeholders. The IFWP did not create any specific proposal in response to NTIA's White Paper, but it did create a valuable body of thought and laid the foundations for future Internet governance and multi-stakeholder conferences and organizations.[4]

  1. ICANN White Paper. ICANN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Green Paper vs. The White Paper. ICANN. Published 1999 October 18.
  3. How do the NTIA White Paper and the ICANN By-Laws Impact Membership?. Harvard Law. Published 1999 January 19.
  4. Letter from Boston Working Group to Ira Magaziner. National Telecommunications & Information Administration. Published 1998 September 28.