[discuss] technical vs societal issues (was: Report from the BR meeting local organizing group - Dec 2013)

Mawaki Chango kichango at gmail.com
Mon Dec 23 09:24:41 UTC 2013

Hi S Moonesamy,

I hear you... and I'll second John's answer to that. I guess different
people will converge to the BR meeting with different expectations. My
hopes for a successful BR meeting would be as follows. Let people
(politicians, the social crowd, part of academia and even some of the
techies) voice their concerns. Let the technical community (design and
specification of technologies, protocols and standards, plus DNS, IP
addresses and ASN operations, and to the extent technically competent in
the matter at hand hybrid players such as ISOC and academia) engage and
explain to all of us that some of those concerns are ill-scoped in the
context of "internet governance" at the global level, and why (part of this
category may be better forgotten about, part may be issues to address
between governments or within national polities in areas that are not
specifically Internet, etc.); but some other concerns may be tackled with
some technical contribution and these are possible trade-offs; and no these
other ones we know for sure will create a far more nefarious situation that
what you guys are complaining about and this is how, etc.

In the end of that process whereby the different groups of actors will
genuinely try and help each other come to a common, well informed and
intelligent understanding of the issues (through the understanding of each
other's concerns), one could draw a list of "societal and political"
principles which the BR government will be happy to call "global Internet
governance" principles. Complementarily, the tech community may draw from
the deliberations that would have led to those principles a set of action
lines for things they might be able to do to get the Internet closer to
what those principles imply, at their technical level (see Gentleman
Curran's suggestions about what some of that might be.)

Last, meetings such as BR's need not to be assessed or appreciated from a
technical perspective mainly, let alone, only. They are catalysts that can
create/shape social discourse and benchmarks (norms) empowering social
actors to expose related abuses of power by governments and large
corporations or any other powerful actors, shame the authors of such abuses
and even eventually move the needle in policy/legal provisions at
appropriate levels, in order to institutionalize accountability mechanisms
in the domain at hand --even if the technology were not to change the

Am I being too much optimistic?

Best regards,

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
*Mawaki Chango, PhD*
Founder & Principal, DIGILEXIS Consulting
m.chango at digilexis.com
Skype: digilexis

On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 11:36 PM, S Moonesamy <sm+1net at elandsys.com> wrote:

> Hi Mawaki,
> At 12:46 22-12-2013, Mawaki Chango wrote:
>> It tells me two things. One, despite your own skepticism (well noted),
>> some in the technical community may still be of the opinion that some
>> technical improvements are possible, and they are trying to achieve that.
>> Two, you recognize that there are some negative issues, but you think they
>> are of societal and political kind and so will be their solutions, if there
>> are solutions.
> There are negative issues.  Once one gets into the details one might come
> across solutions.  The problem with the solutions is that they come
> together with other problems.
> There is nothing I disagree with there. So for me it's simple. I don't
>> think the BR meeting purports to be an IETF kind of meeting with a view to
>> come up with a blueprint for the redesign of the Internet, not at all. The
>> talk that will take place there is, IMHO, of the societal and political
>> kind --which you recognize may be relevant in this context. And if, in
>> addition to bringing some clarity to the issues on that front, the outcome
>> of the BR meeting also sends a signal of encouragement to those in the
>> technical community already striving to make some improvements so that they
>> take a long and hard view in order to come up with some
>> innovative/ingenious possible (if only partial or incremental) solutions,
>> wouldn't that be enough? I would think so (keeping in mind that all these
>> folks have been running around to IGFs since 2006 without accomplishing any
>> of these.) After all, wasn't one of the defining innovative features of the
>> TCP/IP architecture to be modular and capable of evolving?
> I can give you a magic box which provides you with the ability to
> communicate with many people in the world.  It also allows many people to
> communicate with you.  Some of these people may be bad people.  The
> architecture can be fixed to prevent bad people from communicating with
> you.  I would have to ask you to define "bad people" to implement that fix
> in the magic box.
> I'll assume that innovative or ingenious solutions are possible.  Before
> getting into solutions it would help to get an understanding of what the
> problems are, or as what is written above, bring clarity to the issues.
> Regards,
> S. Moonesamy
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