[discuss] More on Internet technical community thoughts ...

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 20:25:39 UTC 2014



From: George Sadowsky [mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:17 PM
To: gurstein michael
Cc: Carlos A. Afonso; discuss at 1net.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] More on Internet technical community thoughts ...




Thanks!  This is part of testing the hypothesis that stakeholder groups
often talk past each other and not with each other.


1st quibble: I think I understand what you mean.  The IETF has surely
spawned its own unique culture, and that has happened to some extent within
most if not all of the organizations that cooperate to manage the Internet
infrastructure.  Cultures do depend to a fair extent upon social norms being
accepted by those in the community, an they evolve and the culture matures.
So, yes, certainly social relationships do play a part.  In fact, sometimes
it's the social relationship within the common culture that is the basis of
trust between individuals and between organizations,rather than any formal

[MG>] yes.


2nd quibble: Your proposed change has merit for the reasons that you
describe, and  I agree with the implication that you make.  However, if we
are just concerned about the technical side of things, it may be a slight
overreach for us to claim that it helps everyone.  I and speak only as far
as the reach of the technical community goes, it's accurate.  The vast
majority would agree with you that it affects everyone, just a s the vat
majority of the technical community would agree with the major precepts that
underlie many civil society organizations.

[MG>] yes 












On Apr 17, 2014, at 3:40 PM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for this George. It is a good and useful and even laudable
explanation and one whose content I would for the most part certainly
endorse.  (Note that I am particularly heartened to see a careful
delineation and limitation of the applicability of the multistakeholder
model specifically to areas of technical decision making.


I only have two (what I hope) are quibbles.


The first is where you say "understand the global Internet as a complex
interaction of technology, standards, implementation, operation and
application". I'm wondering (writing as a Sociologist) if you might not also
want to include social relationships in your listing (perhaps it is assumed
under "implementation" but if so, I think it should be disaggregated).  I
say that because many of the kinds of activities which are being described
as for example in the IETF processes are in considerable part "social"
processes which are really only intelligible/reproducible etc. if one
understands or at least considers the underlying social elements. 


The second is this statement: "These characteristics are essential to the
Internet's past, present, and future success as a platform for advancing the
economic and social well- being of all of its users." Here, is there any
reason to be inclusive only of the "economic and social well-being" of
"users". Maybe that is an oversight but I would have thought that being
concerned with the economic and social well-being of everyone-users and
non-users alike might be rather more in keeping with the somewhat idealistic
tone of the rest of the statement.

The significance of the first quibble is that I think unless these processes
that you are pointing to are also seen as having a social component there is
an implicit assumption that the human element can be removed from the
technical operation of the Internet which I'm quite sure (and I'm sure that
you realize) is factually incorrect and which tends to narrow the range of
issues and concerns which may be introduced into these types of discussions.
This isn't to say that the social element is a dominant factor but simply to
say that it is a factor and cannot and should not be overlooked.

The significance of the second quibble is that it is quite clear by now that
virtually everyone in the world either directly or indirectly is being
impacted by the Internet (or very soon will be). Thus to limit the range of
the technical community's concerns simply to "users" is to overly narrow the
discussion and also to limit the framework of that concern to those elements
that have to do with the immediate interaction between the individual or
community and the technology (i.e. as a "user"). It is clear by now I would
have thought, that the impact of, as well as opportunities from, the
Internet are much much broader and more pervasive than can simply be
encompassed by pointing to the technology/user element of the interaction.
(I've discussed this at some length in a blogpost.




From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of George Sadowsky
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 4:25 PM
To: Carlos A. Afonso
Cc: discuss at 1net.org
Subject: [discuss] More on Internet technical community thoughts ...


Dear Carlos, and all,


Perhaps the thoughts of the Internet Technical Community are not as well
known on this list as I had imagined.  To correct any lack of understanding
that may exist, I'd like to publish some of the thoughts of this stakeholder
group.  The statement below has been endorsed by many of the organizations
in the Interent technical ecosystem, as well as by leading individuals in
that community.


I'd like to stress that members of the technical community are individuals
who live and work in their physical and industrial communities and in their
societies, and who generally share the values of many civil society
organizations.  IMO we also tend to believe that the cooperative leadership
exercised by the private sector, some governments, and the academic and
research communities has been the primary driver for the creation, growth
and deployment of the Internet, and we oppose unreasonable limitations on
the activities of these sectors in their sphere of knowledge, competence,
and ability to contribute to that growth.


I hope that this set of observations and recommendations will help to
explain the sense of the Internet technical community.





The Internet technical community consists of individuals and organizations
from around the world that understand the global Internet as a complex
interaction of technology, standards, implementation, operation and
application. They bring this expertise when working with governments,
national and international organizations, educational institutions, civil
society organizations, and private sector entities to maintain a technically
viable Internet that can also respond to societal needs. While participants
have a wide range of missions and roles to play, the Internet technical
community shares a common culture that is grounded in a clear understanding
of the unique technical characteristics of the Internet. These
characteristics are essential to the Internet's past, present, and future
success as a platform for advancing the economic and social well- being of
all of its users.

In a remarkably short period of time, the Internet has evolved from a
research effort to test the then-new theories of computer networking to a
powerful, pervasive, and now indispensable tool for global communication,
business innovation, government, social networking and the activities of
daily life. Even those who were responsible for the technical choices that
provided the foundation for that evolution have different perspectives on
how much of today's Internet and its impact were anticipated and
intentional, and how much was fortunate and unplanned. Regardless of how
this history is interpreted, many of the early technology and architecture
choices that created the Internet that we know today were made as integral,
original elements of the network itself. They remain essential to the
Internet as a complex, multi-dimensional system. In particular, the network
operates with only the minimal central authority required for essential
coordination, allowing for the autonomy and growth of constituent networks.

To avoid compromising the Internet's technical core functions and processes,
the policy debates of Internet governance would benefit from being informed
by the experience and insight of those who have been directly responsible
for developing and operating it. The principles that have promoted and
sustained the development of the Internet since its inception - the open and
inclusive process for developing Internet protocols and standards, the
impartial stewardship of Internet naming and addressing resources, and the
decentralized cooperation and collaboration of network operators around the
globe - are the Internet technical community's critical contribution to
these debates.

The Internet technical community is an indispensable stakeholder and
contributor to the global Internet governance dialogue. The organizations
and individuals in this community have had over four decades of cumulative
experience in creating, improving, deploying, and managing the Internet in
almost all countries of the world, under a wide variety of legal,
administrative, and regulatory regimes. We are concerned that the technical
viability of the global Internet is at risk unless the current Internet
governance discussions lead to a consensus that preserves the essential
principles that have contributed to making the Internet we have today.

The impact of different governance regimes on the Internet as a robust and
remarkably generative connectivity infrastructure may not be evident to
those who are not familiar with its history, do not have an expert
understanding of its technology, or have not had direct experience with its
deployment and operation. As a contribution to the global Internet
governance dialogue, the following recommendations are made by individuals
and organizations to whom, by virtue of their involvement in the technical
development and deployment of the Internet those potential impacts are


The openness and transparency of Internet policy and technical development
processes are intrinsic to the success of the Internet itself, which depends
on a global and interoperable fabric of information and communications
technology and the people who operate and use it. We recognize that the
multi-stakeholder model of decision-making, articulated around the following
principles and practices, has proven to be the most effective model of
governance for the Internet's technical development, and has the potential
to enhance and reinforce future Internet evolution:

A. Open and inclusive participation: Participation in Internet technical
development and operation, including technical standards development and
allocation of the Internet number resources, is open to all interested and
informed parties. This has been key for the Internet's success.
Participation of all interested and informed stakeholders in governance
processes is necessary to ensure that outcomes are accepted as legitimate
and that solutions are effective.

B. Consensus-based: The development of Internet technical standards and
processes is done on the basis of open consensus. This allows for all views
to be considered, and agreement to be found across a range of interests.
Internet governance decisions should also be grounded on open, transparent,
and collaborative work. Policy-making processes should be informed by
individual and collective expertise and practical experience, and decisions
should be arrived at by open consensus rather than as a result of a voting

C. Permission-less innovation: The remarkable growth of the Internet, the
fostering of innovation and its uses follows directly from the open model of
Internet connectivity and standards development. No central authority should
be established, as part of any future Internet governance arrangement that
would constrain or regulate the ability of individuals or organizations to
create and use new standards, applications, or services.

D. Collective stewardship and empowerment: Strong notions of equity and
fairness among participants mark the technical development of the Internet.
The success of Internet development and operation is secured by the
recognition of respective roles and responsibilities by Internet community
members who cooperate, respectful of each organization's autonomy,
integrity, and processes. To ensure the continued security, stability, and
resilience of the Internet, governance structures and principles must be
developed in an environment of strong cooperation among all stakeholders,
each contributing a perspective informed by their respective roles and

E. Transparency: Internet technical standards bodies and operating entities
function in a transparent way. They provide advance public notice of
proposed activities, which describes the scope of work to be undertaken and
the conditions for participation. The principle of transparency assures that
all interested stakeholders can directly observe the work being done and
have access to its results.

F. Pragmatic and evidence-based approach: In the technical world, solutions
are chosen and defined based on technical merit, judged according to the
collective expertise of all participants. Processes are driven by the
ability to devise practical solutions to concrete problems, based upon
informed discussion. We observe that lack of clarity in emerging issues in
Internet governance results in incomplete agreement about how to address the
problem. In this spirit, Internet governance discussions and debates must be
informed by and depend upon objective and empirical information.

G. Voluntary adoption: Internet standards and processes are voluntarily
adopted by network operators, equipment manufacturers, and other
infrastructure participants, and their success is determined in the
marketplace. In the realm of Internet technical policy development, the
principle of voluntarism means that success is determined by users and the
public at large rather than by any central authority.

As the Internet evolves in the future, its continued security, stability,
accessibility and usefulness will grow to be even more important to support
most critical aspects of human activity. The above recommendations are our
contribution to this effort, based upon the Internet technical community's
long term and intensive involvement in the technical development, deployment
and operation of the Internet.


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