[discuss] Ambiguity is the enemy of the Internet governance debate [Was: we need to fix what may be broken]

Grigori Saghyan gregor at arminco.com
Fri Apr 18 07:25:38 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA1

+1 Alejandro,
And the next step must be  the development of exact definitions for
common used "generic" terms?
Grigori Saghyan

On 18.04.2014 2:40, Alejandro Pisanty wrote:
> Joseph, all,
> exactly the point IMO.
> Further damage is done by conflating a large number of issues as 
> "Internet governance": people lose sight of the actual, specific 
> Internet aspects of the problem at hand. Conflation brings
> obfuscation.
> this is understood among experienced practitioners in many fields.
> For example in "cybercrime" there is an extreme position that
> states that there is actually no such thing as cybercrime; only
> crime committed through or against "cyber" assets or media.
> Phishing is but fraud, online sale of child abuse is only child
> abuse, and so on.
> The conduct of representing oneself as a bank and abusing the 
> credibility of its image for obtaining resources through this 
> impersonation is simply impersonation and fraud; the conduct that 
> produces images of sexual abuse of children is sexual abuse of
> children. The Internet specifics have to do with amplification,
> crossing jurisdictional borders, obfuscation and hiding, and thus
> in some jurisdictions make the crime worth a heavier penalty.
> Fiddling with the technical infrastructure may help block some
> attacks (a worthy goal in most cases) but most valuable is the
> ability to use traces for forensics which, if and when well done
> and appicable, may actually help convict criminals. The crimes
> remain crimes. In child abuse you have the quintessential
> unijurisdictional crime: victim, perpetrator, media, motive,
> location, all are under the nose of the same (possibly bribed) law
> enforcement agency; they are breaking not only the same national
> laws but even the same county ordinances.
> I remember explaining this to authorties which were establishing a 
> cyber-police force in 2000 and it was already old hat (and it
> helped a lot to focus their efforts appropriately.)
> Same analysis applies to many other "hot" issues of today - what
> has Internet governance to do with cellphone wiretapping? That is
> fully regulated in telephony governance (nationally by law and
> law-breaking law-enforcement agencies, internationally under the
> ITRs deposited in the ITU.)
> Yours,
> Alejandro Pisanty
> On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 4:54 PM, joseph alhadeff 
> <joseph.alhadeff at oracle.com <mailto:joseph.alhadeff at oracle.com>>
> wrote:
> Kudos on a very interesting and informative discussion.
> As we look at what some have called the governance on the Internet 
> or what you have termed Cluster 2 issues, I wonder if these aren't 
> just societal issues of which the Internet is a seamless facet of 
> those issues?  Can we really delineate these issues as being
> online as opposed to societal?  If we recognize that there is a
> societal issue on a specific topic, we can look to how to address
> that issue in online environments, but that is different than
> calling it an online issue...
> Best-
> Joe On 4/17/2014 5:37 PM, Shatan, Gregory S. wrote:
> This is a wise post.  I would only add (consistent with my earlier
> email) that "Class 2" problems may only be IG problems to the
> extent they are particular to the Internet or that the Internet
> raises peculiar solutional challenges.
> Greg
> -----Original Message----- From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org
> <mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org> 
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.__org 
> <mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org>] On Behalf Of George Sadowsky 
> Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:16 PM To: Dr. Ben Fuller Cc:
> discuss at 1net.org <mailto:discuss at 1net.org> Subject: [discuss]
> Ambiguity is the enemy of the Internet governance debate [Was: we
> need to fix what may be broken]
> Ben,
> I think that you are absolutely right. When Internet governance was
> first defined in a UN context by the Working Group on Internet
> Governance in 2004, there was significant discussion and it took
> awhile to get agreement.  There was in fact a short definition that
> won, and a longer definition and a much longer report that I
> believe was essentially a minority report.
> The problem with the short definition, was that in order to gain 
> acceptance, it was a compromise, and in order to get to the point
> of compromise, the text was reduced to the level at which people
> could agree.  This is sometimes called a lowest common denominator
> solution.
> Now politicians and diplomats often refer to this as ?constructive
> ambiguity.?  The term implies that the wording of the agreement is
> sufficiently vague that proponents of different opinions can all go
> home and, each interpreting the ambiguous text in a manner
> consistent with their position, can claim victory.  In some
> political and diplomatic contexts, that exercise may have some
> merit, but in the context of operation of indicate technical
> systems, it can be destructive.
> In particular, people?s inability to dissect what Internet 
> governance is, and to differentiate between various things that are
> sloppily called Internet governance, is badly hurting not only
> conversations on this list.
> Our inability or unwillingness to be analytical rather than 
> jingoistic about Internet governance threatens significantly the 
> success of Net Mundial.  The current paper, planned as a draft of
> the conclusions of the meeting, refers to Internet governance many
> times, yet never defines what it means for the purpose of this
> particular discussion.  And then, in the various statements about
> Internet governance, is is often not possible to understand
> specifically what part of Internet governance, or what actors are
> targeted by the statements and by the recommendations.
> Ambiguity has invaded this document, with the result that clarity
> of intent is missing.  it could be characterized as 
> Non-constructive ambiguity.   That leads different stakeholder 
> groups to make assumptions of what is meant, sometimes out of 
> self-justification, and sometimes out of fear by a group regarding
> how other stakeholder groups interpret this text as it applies to
> that group.  In essence, ambiguity has become the enemy, serving to
> block a clear understanding of what people mean.
> It is my sense, as you can see from previous postings, that all of
> the stakeholder groups have much more to gain by working together
> than by attacking each others? position.  We have a lot more in
> common than what separates us.  My earlier example is that many if
> not most of the technical community finds no fault in and is
> sympathetic with a large majority of positions taken by civil
> society organizations.  When I read the points clearly introduced
> by civil society, I find myself saying, ?yes, ? yes, ? OK ? .?
> The reciprocal situation may be the same, I don?t know for sure.
> What I do know is that unless we can talk with each other clearly
> and precisely about what is really of fundamental importance to us
> and why, with reasoned discussion, then we will continue to swim in
> this swamp of ambiguity and argue past each other to no benefit for
> anyone.
> Ben, that?s why your argument above makes a lot of sense.
> At present, we have people enumerating ?Internet governance 
> problems.?  These problems are all over the map, and they are 
> characterized as internet Governance problems, as if there were a
> complaint window somewhere with an ?internet governance" sign above
> it, and somehow the people behind the window have the obligation to
> take each problem and do something with it.  At the technical
> level, the system of administering the Internet, as well as
> slightly related systems of, for example, writing and vetting open
> source software, are complex, intertwined, represent a melange of
> technical cultures, and operate under very different professional
> and monetary reward systems.  There is no one window to which to
> bring concerns; there are hundreds of such windows.
> The best place to address a problem is as close to the area that 
> caused it as you can get.  I think that is called the principle of
> subsidiarity.  When a problem arises, one of the most effective
> things to do is to ask, ?whose problem is this??  If that question
> can be answered correctly, then you are well on your way to
> dressing the problem effectively.
> The current Net Mundial document does not begin to do this 
> effectively.
> I propose that we cluster issues in Internet governance into two 
> main clusters:
> 1. issues that primarily or totally concerned with the technical 
> operation of the Internet, including communications infrastructure
> management, standards setting and adoption, and identifier
> management.
> 2. issues that concern use of and behavior on the Internet that is
> of public interest and concern, such as consular protection, 
> privacy, confidentiality, cybercrime and the like.  This is clearly
> not an exhaustive list
> Now the description of the above groupings can be refined, and 
> there are clearly some links and overlaps, but they are IMO less 
> important than recognizing that the two clusters contain problems
> that have fundamentally different character and belong to
> fundamentally different organizations an processes.
> Should we give them names that are descriptive, so we can identify
> easily what we are taking about. My first attempts are (not very
> good, but it?s a start):
> 1. Internet administrative collaboration and operation (ICAO, with
> apologies to civil aviation) 2. Internet governance of societal
> issues  (IGSI)
> Or we could just call them class 1 or class 2, or differentiate 
> them by color, really anything useful to disambiguate them. Maybe
> there are other classes of issues that exist; we?ll try to
> recognize them as they appear.
> Please give some thought to this argument for clarifying the term
> ?Internet governance? into manageable digestible chunks that can
> help us understand and solve the problems with which we are faced.
> George
> On Apr 17, 2014, at 4:16 PM, Dr. Ben Fuller <ben at fuller.na 
> <mailto:ben at fuller.na>> wrote:
> George,
> Thanks to Bertrand de la Chapelle for coming up with the idea and
> you for expanding on it. I hope someone is taking notes ...
> Internet Governance needs to focus on both governance of the
> Internet and governance on the Internet with a lot of attention
> paid to where, when and how these two areas interact.
> We know a lot about governance of the Internet, IETF, IAB ICANN and
> others make certain that the packets get to where they are supposed
> to get as efficiently as possible (over simplifying here).
> Governance on the Internet can include matters like security,
> Angela Merkel's phone, censorship, murder, crime. We on this list
> may not know much about the ins and outs of these issues, but there
> are lots people out there who do. It is more a matter of linking up
> with them and learning a bit about their concerns, modes of
> operation, and the role, if any, the Internet can be used to
> address their concerns.
> From my perspective these two areas will be largely two different
> sets of people with different sets of skills. There will also be
> two sets of organisations that are active in each area. It might
> even be useful to initially separate our discussions into one
> sphere or the other until each is developed enough to start
> thinking about how they operate in relation to each other. For me
> the fun and creative part will be to define and create the
> conditions for those inevitable and necessary times when these two
> sets must intersect.
> A useful way to go forward might be to look at governance of the
> Internet; governance on the Internet, and; when, why and how the
> intersections occur.
> Best,
> Ben
> On Apr 17, 2014, at 2:38 PM, George Sadowsky 
> <george.sadowsky at gmail.com <mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com>>
> wrote:
> Hi, Carlos,
> I think that we may be talking across each other.  I am still sort
> of a techie, although my skills are more of the 20th century than
> of the 21st.  But I ally myself with both the technical community
> and civil society; I?ve worked in both fields, and I see the merits
> of both.
> I consider freedom of expression very important.  I don?t argue for
> complete freedom of expression; neither do the Europeans, and the
> Americans do not permit you to yell ?fire!? in a crowded theater.
> However, nearly complete freedom of expression, if aI can label it
> that, is a precious freedom, and I support it.
> In your example, of a blogger murdered by order of a politician,
> how would your stand on free expression be different if it were a
> newspaper reporter, murdered by a politician, for exactly the same
> content.  I think that you would be equally angry, and so would I.
> the point is that the Internet is not implicated in your example, 
> just as the newspaper  is not implicate in my rewrite of your
> example.
> Bertrand de la Chapelle said it best at the NCUC meeting in
> Singapore.  He said, ?let?s differentiate between governance of the
> Internet and governance on the Internet."  It?s my belief that the
> vast majority of the technical community is in signifiant agreement
> with most members of civil society with respect to issues regarding
> governance on the Internet.  After all, we are all inhabitants of
> the planet, and we want common freedoms and liberties.
> Where I think we cross paths is that the technical community sees
> these concerns crossing over into governance of the Internet,
> hoping that we subject the governance to increased control of some
> sort, problems of society on the Internet will be ameliorated. If
> so, we should be equally concerned about governance of the 
> newspaper industry, governance of the content of school textbooks,
> and governance of the industry that publishes books ? clearly a
> dangerous medium of communication.
> We are concerned because we have something that works as a
> technical instrument to distribute information from anyone to
> anyone.  Barring the interference of governments that are sovereign
> in their space (conveniently forgetting Ukraine for the moment),
> this distributed architecture and the hundreds of thousands of
> technical people that support it operationally ? in the small and
> in the large ? has scaled massively and works as well or better
> than any other knowledge distribution channel that the world has
> ever seen.  We do not want it compromised by having it managed by 
> people who do not understand it, and we do not want it blamed for
> societal issues that mistakenly imply that the basic management of
> the Internet is culpable for the problems of society.
> The technical community is responsive to the needs of society.
> Improvements in research and education were one of the primary
> motivators to build and extend the network. The technical community
> was in large part responsible for organizational innovations such
> as the meritocracy-based standards approach pioneered in the IETF,
> which has been extraordinarily successful. Members of the technical
> community are generally supportive of much of what representatives
> of civil society causes are espousing at Net Mundial.  I believe 
> that we are generally very much in favor of your calls for free
> expression and human rights; we would like to see those calls
> succeed.  And, to the extent that they are consistent with the
> security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet, with your help
> we can improve the services that the Internet provides.
> Bet, let?s not create, even in our minds, artificial barriers to
> understanding, in both directions, even in our minds.
> George (speaking solely on my own behalf, as always in this 
> discussion spar)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~__~~~~~~~~~
> On Apr 17, 2014, at 7:16 AM, Carlos A. Afonso <ca at cafonso.ca
> <mailto:ca at cafonso.ca>> wrote:
> In the same vein, a blogger is murdered by order of a politician,
> it is not per se a theme of Internet governance -- but freedom of
> expression is.
> The point is: I am not saying that specific events are per se
> themes of Internet governance, and you may continue to build a
> near infinite list of events ending with the same phrase or
> question.
> My point is that the events I quoted reveal that international 
> coordination related to the development, operation and maintenance 
> of the net need a lot of improvement and more efficacy. Like
> killing bloggers is an indication that we need to strongly advocate
> for the universalization of freedom of expression.
> I find it amazing that some brillant techies cannot perceive that, 
> or worse, that they see any diagnostics like mine as threats to
> the wonderful work they do (and it is indeed wonderful, but still
> the coordination of the "grand scheme of things" is faulty, needs 
> significant improvement, it is a very relevant component of IG
> which needs to be discussed and advanced).
> fraternal regards
> --c.a.
> On 04/17/2014 01:41 AM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> In a word, none of those issues are Internet governance.
> How, for example, is the USA bugging Angela Merkel's cell phone 
> anything to do with Internet governance? How is the NSA snagging 
> and analysing billions of email headers a defect in Internet
> governance? Sounds like a problem with NSA governance to me. Was it
> an error in telegraph cable governance that led to the Zimmermann
> telegram incident in 1917?
> I could continue but I won't. This business is complex enough 
> without dragging in irrelevant problems.
> Regards Brian
> On 17/04/2014 11:43, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> Apologies for the top post, but this will be illegible if I try to
> interleave from my phone.
> I would like to know why "governance" in particular is the answer
> to even one of these problems.
> The OpenSSL case is a good example.  People have freeloaded on that
> project for years, offering it precious little support while 
> leaving security auditing and cryptanalysis for "someone else".  If
> you think that trash in your neighborhood park is a problem, the 
> answer is not to form a committee. The answer is to make like Pete
> Seeger and pick up some trash.
> Yahoo's DMARC decision is another good example.  That is a service
> supported mostly by advertising. Don't like what they're doing?
> Organize a boycott.  That'll change things. Ask Mozilla.
> IPv6 is indeed a problem, and I will not defend the series of
> decisions that got us here (though it's trickier than many seem to 
> imagine). But actually, in my experience, v6 just works now.  I use
> it all the time. It's not a "governance" problem, but an economics
> problem.
> And it seems to me that there we arrive at the issue: this is about
> who's going to pay. That's very well, but I don't see why it's 
> "Internet governance".
> Best regards,
> A
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Grigori Saghyan
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