[discuss] Current drive

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 14:59:57 UTC 2014



The problem with approaching the “public interest” in the way that you are
suggesting is that notions of the public interest are at the normative level
which means that they are values that underlie the entire range of decisions
and perspectives in a particular area rather than something from which one
can pick and choose.


As an example, a “public interest” approach to public transit will make
provide criteria concerning decisions about routing, stops, pricing and so
on based on how to optimize benefits to the public rather than how to
optimize return on privatized investment.  From my experience municipally
owned public transit looks rather different from transit in places where it
is privately owned/managed. Of course, there will need to be considerations
of financial sustainability (and trade-offs between subsidies for public
transit and other calls on the public purse) and there are considerations of
local culture (including political culture) as between different locales,
but you get my point


I think that as the significance and scope of deployment of the Internet
grows and the Internet becomes even more ubiquitous the calls for (and
arguments in support of) seeing the Internet as a (global?) public utility
operating (i.e. being “governed”) “in the public interest” are growing apace
at least outside of circles dominated by a neo-liberal ideology.


Given the heightened awareness following the current struggles against
neo-liberal ideology driven privatization of water supplies in various parts
of Latin American I would hope that issues of how to treat the Internet as a
public good would be a focus of discussion in Sao Paulo.




From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of Alejandro Pisanty
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2014 10:53 PM
To: John Curran
Cc: discuss at 1net.org List
Subject: Re: [discuss] Current drive




at this point an asymmetric approach to the problem may be productive
(addressing Michael Gurstein and Parminder Jeet Singh as well): 


Very briefly: Frank LaRue, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of
Expression, has proposed for years that instead of defining "Internet
rights" positively, in detail, etc. we focus on the rights themselves and
prevent, prosecute and punish their violations independently of whether
"online" is involved or not (disclaimer: very briefly, my own summary for
this discussion.)


In the same mode of thinking the questions about public interest can be
recast. What specifically goes against the public interest, and how vital is
it to solve it? (solving one problem has the cost of opportunity of not
solving others.) A framework similar to risk management (identifying
separately probability and impact; assessing the risk/damage-cost-benefit
relations) may be useful.


This approach may quickly lead us to productive steps on the problem Milton
continues to discuss and the one now posed by George. The other approach
seems to me to have been wrung drier than by lyophilization. 




Alejandro Pisanty




On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 11:33 PM, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:

On Apr 3, 2014, at 5:12 PM, Sivasubramanian M <isolatedn at gmail.com> wrote:

If this is agreed, then we also need to agree that such an effort requires
resources, though I wouldn't brand the flow of revenues as "taxes" or
"rent". If ICANN acknowledges its broader role and starts "investing" in
broader causes of Global Public interest of importance to the Internet, then
Michael Gurstein's "other points" are automatically answered. 


It is not clear that ICANN (or the rest of Internet identifier system) has
an direct and 

inherent role to promote "global public interest", although successful
administration of 

the Internet identifiers should definitely help contribute to that goal and
thus result in 

the system doing its "share" towards global public interest with respect to
the Internet.


There is, however, a question that needs to be asked related to resources
and allocation, 

but it is more focused on the actual role of proper administration of the
Internet identifier 

system itself, and whether or not there is an inherent responsibility to
provide resources 

towards the principle of inclusiveness.  To wit, can a system commit to a
value principle 

such as:

      " – Open and Inclusive: Discussions are open to all and structured to
encourage the broadest range of relevant inputs from all interested parties.
Input provided is valued and heard by all. All documents are freely
available online. Processes for public comment and remote participation are
provided wherever feasible, and without requirements for participation other
than decorum. "

without also specifically supporting making resources available to
interested parties who 

may not otherwise to be able to participate in discussions?   Some

/capacity building of this nature is already being done, because it is
recognized as both 

necessary and desirable, but that is different than enshrining it as a
fundamental principle 

(and thus also imply the need for some objective measures of success?)

In the terms of fulfilling an "inclusiveness" objective, should it be
required that a certain

amount of resources (in terms of percentage of total resources, or towards

coverage of participants, or some other metric) be provided for outreach and

measures?  How does one measure that such activities are successful, and

them to avoid introduction of selection bias into the system and its

If we revisit the entire Internet identifier registry system 20 years from
now, will it be 

viewed as successful if resources aren't being provided for aiding the
engagement of 

those who cannot otherwise afford to participate?  Do we need a more
specific principle

and/or criteria regarding what constitutes "inclusiveness" to make sure that
our future

Internet identifier system is performing as expected when it comes to
inclusiveness and

the resources made available for this purpose?  In particular, do we need to

need some form of principle that discusses resources being made available
for the 

purpose of supporting inclusiveness?


There are folks with far more experience in capacity building and engagement

than I, and it would be good to understand their expectations in this area
(and hence

gain insight into aspects of the underlying principles that we might want to

into the system itself.)





Disclaimer: My views alone.



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