Negotiating a New Governance Hierarchy: An Analysis of the Conflicting Incentives to Secure Internet Routing by Brenden Kuerbis & Milton Mueller [Communications and Strategies]

Abstract: New security technologies are never neutral in their impact; it is known that they can alter power relations and economic dependencies among stakeholders. This article examines the attempt to introduce the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) to the Internet to help improve routing security, and identifies incentives various actors have towards RPKI implementation.

We argue that RPKI requires ISPs to achieve security at the expense of autonomy, requires all actors to tradeoff simplified global compatibility and centralization of power, and affects the policies and business models of the Regional Internet Registries and their relationship to ICANN.

While the Internet remains a space where authority is highly distributed, elements of hierarchy do exist, especially around critical resource allocation, and it is likely that security and other concerns will lead to continuing efforts to leverage those hierarchies into more powerful governance arrangements.

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