[discuss] [ciresearchers] NETmundial documents online for comment

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Apr 19 07:15:51 UTC 2014

Thanks for your thoughtful reply Mike but I'm not sure that we are in fact
discussing the same thing.


In my earlier reply to you I tried to distinguish between
consultation/decision making processes at the standards and technical level
i.e. concerning the operational elements of the Internet--layers 1 & 2 in
the onion skin model
system/report-23feb14-en.pdf>  (p. 16);  and the other layers (content and
social and I would add-economic) in that model. 


I have no problem at all accepting your points and analysis below for layers
1 & 2 although (as I noted in my comments to George) I think that there may
possibly be "content/social/economic" elements buried in those layers as
well.  However, my concerns have to do with the latter layers (#3 and #4 +
economic) where the traditional decision making structures have been
"democratic" or at least framed within broader democratic processes and


It is here that I have very considerable difficulty in accepting the
replacement of these democratic processes by MS processes and I have yet to
see any argument or rationale that deals specifically with this question
without doing as I fear that you have below - choosing to conflate the first
set of issues with second.




From: Michael Roberts [mailto:mmr1936 at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Mike Roberts
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 7:36 AM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: 1net
Subject: Re: [discuss] [ciresearchers] NETmundial documents online for


There are many variations on democracy and democratic principles, etc.


For the purposes of IG, as applied to a loosely bounded definition of DNS
and Internet infrastructure more generally, it is the Greek root demo that
we are thinking of.  Ie., the notion that everyone should have a voice.


Giving everyone an actual individual voice is a practical impossibility on
the Internet, so we use various methods of aggregating individual voices.
Some do involve actual memberships and voting, but mostly not.
Stakeholders as a defining term evolved from academic notions of
collaboration, and commercial or interest group schemes of constituencies.
The spirit of inclusiveness has resulted in a willingness to tolerate very
informal aggregation mechanisms.   For example, in some instances, the views
of one person have been given as much weight as the views of  a hundred
persons.  In a representative, voting democracy, this would not be


As I understand it, your opposition to use of MS is based on not enough
rigor in the definition and insufficient evidence of equal voice.  I grant
the looseness of the definition, but I am not sure it matters in an ocean of
inclusiveness in which we are searching for quality of thought more than
strictness of one person, one vote.


The history of constituency based MS in ICANN policy making has been one in
which many views on a given topic are expressed, and they are subsequently
narrowed in an iterative process to a condensed conclusion which attracts
consensus support and is ratified by the Board.  Failures of process can and
do occur, but more generally it has succeeded.


There is certainly room for a clash of views on idealism vs pragmatism on
this subject, but I'm not sure that MS per se has any particularly fatal
characteristics to it.


- Mike







On Apr 18, 2014, at 8:12 AM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:



To go back to a parallel discussion. a strong case has been made for
multistakeholder processes in the governance of the technical aspects of the
Internet. However, much of the NetMundial discussion is concerning the
governance of activities which take place on the Internet (such as
surveillance for example). Your reference I think is to the third category,
i.e. of governance by the Internet which I think we would all agree is still
somewhat in the future.


The question though, is whether we/NetMundial abandon democracy and
democratic governance of activities taking place on (and through) the
Internet (an increasingly large and significant portion of human affairs)
for what is an ill-defined, ill-formed and ideologically driven chimera
known as Multistakeholderism.




From: Michael Roberts [ <mailto:mmr1936 at gmail.com> mailto:mmr1936 at gmail.com]
On Behalf Of Mike Roberts
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 3:45 PM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: 1net
Subject: Re: [discuss] [ciresearchers] NETmundial documents online for


It's fine to exhort us to promote democracy.


It is just plain hard work to forge working democracy in cyberspace.  So
far, there hasn't been much progress.


The ease with which identities can be forged, manipulated, and otherwise
used to prevent democracy in action is troubling and real.


While efforts continue in that direction, let's not hang a millstone around
the neck of NETMundial folks for not assuming something that is not there,
at least today.


MS is a primitive and imperfect means of addressing some fundamental needs
for fair representation.  But it is what we have.


- Mike





On Apr 18, 2014, at 5:08 AM, michael gurstein < <mailto:gurstein at gmail.com>
gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks for this Adam and for pointing to the opportunity for making


And I have several comments.  However, given how the comments element for
the document is structured I don't see how I can usefully introduce them
into that format since I want to comment not on what is in the document; but
rather on what isn't in the document.


In that context I see two notable and even astonishing absences.


1.       The document as presented refers to
stakeholders/multistakeholderism in its discussions of the global Internet
governance model in one form or another 46 times! While on the other hand,
the document contains no, and let me repeat, NO references to democracy or
democratic governance! 


Clearly there is an intent to replace democratic governance with
multistakeholder governance. But this issue is not addressed in a forthright
manner anywhere in the document.



2.       The document nowhere identifies an overall objective for the
governance it is discussing. That is, for what purpose or to what end are
the governance structures/models being directed?


To put it bluntly is the proposed governance of the Internet being
undertaken in support of the "public interest" or in the interests of the
individual "stakeholders" among whom of course certain private corporate and
national interests/stakes are pre-eminent? Given what is identified in item
#1 the answer to this second question would appear to be self-evident.


Of course, these issues were not addressed by myself or others in the 188
position papers presented to the NetMundial conference.  Thus one could
perversely argue that their absence in the Outcome Statement is a reflection
of the failure by contributors to argue for their inclusion. 


However, the perversity of this argument is obvious when one asks the
question, is democratic governance in the public interest not something that
can be assumed, taken as a given in an area as significant, whose influence
is so pervasive, as the Internet. Need one even argue that the governance of
the Internet must occur within a democratic framework and directed in
support of the public interest.


Who could possibly have imagined that this conference dealing with global
(Internet) governance would, completely replace the 1000 year evolution of
democratic governance in support of the public interest and replace this
with governance by and for "stakeholders" acting in pursuit of their
individual and private interests.


Given, as I mentioned, that I see no way of introducing these comments into
the commentary section on the document it would be appreciated if you would
yourself, forward these to the relevant NetMundial authorities for
consideration as they are preparing their final drafts of the output
statement for the meeting.




Michael Gurstein  


-----Original Message-----
From:  <mailto:ciresearchers-owner at vancouvercommunity.net>
ciresearchers-owner at vancouvercommunity.net [
<mailto:ciresearchers-owner at vancouvercommunity.net>
mailto:ciresearchers-owner at vancouvercommunity.net] On Behalf Of Adam Peake
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 3:41 AM
To:  <mailto:ciresearchers at vancouvercommunity.net>
ciresearchers at vancouvercommunity.net
Subject: [ciresearchers] NETmundial documents online for comment


Please see < <http://document.netmundial.br/>
http://document.netmundial.br/> Use the Navigate button.  Information below.


Comments will close April 21th, 12:00 UTC.








After an open call for content contribution, NETmundial - the Global
Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance - received 188
documents from 46 different countries. These documents were sent by
representatives of Civil Society, Private Sector, Academy, Governments and
Technical Community.


Based on these broad set of inputs, NETmundial's Executive Multistakeholder
Committee (EMC) prepared a Draft Outcome Document and submitted it for
consultation with NETmundial's High-level Multistakeholder Committee (HLMC)
on April 3rd, 2014. After incorporating the inputs from the HLMC, under the
guidance of NETmundial's Chair and Co-Chairs, a final version of the
document is released here for public comments. The public consultation will
be open for comments on NETmundial's Executive Committee Output Document
from April 14th until April 21th, 12:00 UTC.


For this public consultation a commenting tool is available online at
<http://document.netmundial.br/> http://document.netmundial.br/ with the
purpose of receiving public comments on specific points of the document. It
is not necessary to create an account in order to post your comment to the
document. You'll be able to immediately start reading the document and
whenever you have something to say, you'll just have to provide a full name
and contact email address alongside your comment.


By clicking on any paragraph of the document, you'll be able to see all the
comments other people have already made pertaining to that portion of the
text; as referred above, you are also granted the possibility  to register
your own observations. Maybe your concern was already addressed in someone
else's comment, so please be sure to take a look at the previous comments
before making yours.


This public consultation closes the loop that started by collecting public
content contributions. Such contributions were compiled and merged into the
Outcome Document by the NETmundial EMC and HLMC committees in the spirit of
trying to represent the overall context of the current Internet Governance
debate. It is very important to receive further public input in this final
stage, so that the outcome is true to the issues and concerns presented by
all stakeholders.



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