The Policy for a Networked Society initiative supported transparent, accountable, and globally inclusive policy making processes for the Internet and information technology. Its goal was to expand the pool of thinkers, advocates, and nonprofit experts to represent the public’s interest in key policy discussions.
In March 2002, Markle initiated a 2-year collaboration with InterAction to expand nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to facilitate their humanitarian relief and development work. This effort built on InterAction’s existing ICT Network, helping members to share best practices, create new models, and develop partnerships to address the needs of developing nations.
The mission of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force was to narrow the economic and social divides within and among nations. This project focused on advancing the use of ICT to address development challenges faced by societies around the world.
In association with the Internet Clinical Advocacy Project, Markle worked in partnership with Stanford Law School to help support its Center for Internet and Society.
In association with the Internet Clinical Advocacy Project, Markle provided support that helped this center continue its clinic, which focused primarily on intellectual property issues related to non-digital and other media.
With Markle’s support, the Institute for State Studies at Western Governors’ University conducted research in organizational development and project planning, principally in the area of governance in the 21st century.
Markle partnered with the National Consumer Law Center in 2001 to help this organization continue its leadership role on the facilitation of e-commerce and consumer protection. The work involved analysis and advocacy support in the battles over consumer protections in e-commerce.
The Uniform Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) Tracking project ensured the completion of a standardized public database that provided free access to an online compendium of archived decisions regarding domain name dispute cases. Markle contributed to the design and implementation of the UDRP Tracking system.
In June 2001, Markle created the Markle Fellowship at Oxford University, which was designed to encourage individuals and institutions to develop comparative approaches to communications law and policy issues. The goals of the program were to increase information sharing, maintenance of a global governance network, and the identification of new leading thinkers on policy from around the world.
The Internet Standards Bodies initiative was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Democracy and Technology. The project focused on emerging technical and policy decisions related to free expression, privacy, and access to information on the Internet.
Since 2001, Professor Guo Liang from the Center for Social Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has surveyed the development of the Internet in China and, with Markle’s support, four reports have been released. These reports provide the necessary baseline facts and figures to accurately understand the Internet’s effect on everyday life in China.
Markle sought to support the development of law school-based clinics and related academic clinical institutions that allow law students and others to work with seasoned advocates to promote the public interest in the area of the Internet and other new information technologies. The aims of this project also included the encouragement of clinical legal education in the field and the building of capacity in the legal profession and other fields for public interest advocacy. Boalt Hall School of Law, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, and the Center for Internet and Society were the three clinics funded under this project. Two reports provide more details on the outcomes of this project: Serving Citizen’s Needs: Minimizing Hurdles to Accessing Government Information Online and Second Level Digital Divide: Differences in People’s Online Skills.
In March 2000, the Markle Foundation launched a public opinion research effort focused on accountability for Internet policy. The findings of this research were then used to develop an “accountability framework,” which enabled policymakers, the press, and the online community to understand what Internet users and non-users alike expected from those who shape, regulate, or use the Internet environment. These findings were then made available on the State of the Net Series: Towards a Framework for Internet Accountability, which was sponsored by the Internet Education Foundation.
In November 1999, the Markle Foundation created the Markle Fellowship Program at the New America Foundation. The program funded nine scholars who published original works about the ways in which information technology can benefit society. The program was designed to support the next generation of public intellectuals, to foster fresh ideas, and to contribute to the dialogue on these issues, both nationally and internationally.
The Internet Governance Project was designed to promote the public interest in nontraditional, international venues where decisions are made and standards are set with respect to the Internet. The issues under consideration included e-commerce standards, intellectual property, consumer protection, privacy, content regulation, taxation, and online jurisdiction. In its initial year of activities, Markle focused on increasing public participation in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet’s first official governance body, and to make that body more accountable to all users of the Internet. The project sought to ensure that the election of ICANN’s board of directors was representative, fair, and credible.
Markle worked with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society to organize the conference Pressing Issues II: Understanding and Critiquing ICANN’s Policy Agenda in November 2000. The conference examined many of the new challenges and issues on ICANN’s agenda, such as the intersection of intellectual property and privacy concerns in ICANN’s policy making process, the import of the process and outcome of the first at-large elections, and the application process and criteria for new top-level domain name applications.
The Programme on Comparative Media Law and Policy was created in September 1996 to address the need for detailed study of the policy and regulation strategies that nations follow in response to media globalization, and the implications of these strategies for democracy and human rights. This initiative enabled field experts to strengthen the monitoring of national and international approaches and policies, and facilitated regional, national, and local debate on the relationships among information flow, regulation, culture, and governance.