Hands of a guy on laptop keyboard

Practical solution for global inviolability of the Internet root zone

Published on 16 October 2014
Updated on 05 April 2024

There is a practical solution for global inviolability of the Internet root zone

  • The Internet root zone should be inviolable at any time, wherever it may be located.

  • No state should have the jurisdiction to prescribe, adjudicate, or enforce policy over the Internet root zone.

  • The Internet root zone should only be modified through existing procedures or new ones that might be introduced in September 2015.

  • The inviolability of the Internet root zone should be based on customary law that recognises the consistent practice of no unilateral interference by the US authorities in the content of the Internet root zone.

These few policy suggestions map the potential solutions for the status of the Internet root zone, one of the most controversial issues in Internet governance politics. In Diplo’s Policy Brief, Jovan Kurbalija elaborates on the legal, technical, and policy ways of achieving global inviolability of the Internet root zone.

Legally speaking, inviolability of the root zone is based on recognising as customary law the USA’s consistent custodian role of no unilateral interference in the content of the root zone file and treatment of the root zone as a common heritage of mankind. The inviolability could be introduced independently (a stand-alone solution) or as a part of broader package of arrangements for the future status of IANA.

Kurbalija concludes his policy brief thus:

‘At a minimum, the inviolability solution could put to rest the highly symbolic issue of the root zone, thus allowing the global community to focus more policy energy on other practical and relevant issues that will determine the future of the Internet. The inviolability solution is also a reasonable compromise which would anchor this arrangement in international law while contributing to the multistakeholder governance of the root zone as a separate matter.’

The concept will be further discussed with legal, policy and technical communities at an event on Jurisdiction in the Internet era (6 November 2014) in the preparation for the Geneva Internet Conference (18-19 November 2014).

Please join this discussion in situ (preferable) or online. You may follow other preparatory threads for the Geneva Internet Conference:

– How to overcome IG policy silos on global and national levels 

Consult a webinar recording (16 September), take a few minutes to complete a survey on policy silos, and join the forum discussion where you can find different experiences in dealing with policy silos.

– Whom do I contact if I want to raise my IG concern?

Find more information at the background webinar (6 October) and discussion on a one-stop shop for IG. 


Evidence and measurement in Internet Governance

This discussion will be initiated with a webinar and a Bern event on 28 October. 13.00‒14.00 CET (12.00 GMT). We will discuss ‘data and numbers’ in various fields of IG: cybersecurity, development, e-commerce.  Registration is still open.

All these events will feed into the Geneva Internet Conference (18-19 November) aimed at advancing discussions on existing and new solutions (such as inviolability) for achieving robust, inclusive, and genuine multistakeholder Internet governance.

See: Diplo’s Policy Brief: ‘There is a practical solution for a global inviolability for the Internet root zone’ 


Subscribe to Diplo's Blog