[discuss] Criteria for Internet Governance (was) Re: List announcement "robust governance in the digital age"

Michel Gauthier mg at telepresse.com
Tue Feb 11 10:47:35 UTC 2014

At 13:45 10/02/2014, Adam Peake wrote:
>How is this an off-topic issue?   I think you have given us a good 
>example of the type of issue we should be discussing, a good fit 
>with the Brazil issues of the evolving multistakeholder Internet 
>governance ecosystem and principles.  Example, a few people on a 
>civil society mailing list produced a draft "Internet Governance: 
>proposals for reform" (attached) which includes a section "Criteria 
>for Internet Governance".  Quoting at length:

Dear Adam,
I just say that when you are confronted to a problem you have three 
manners to approach it:

- top down.
- bottom-up
- from a broader perspective.

Top-down is the ICANN, /1net approach: you cannot question the 
decrees of the root.
Bottom-up if JFC's/IUCG HomeRoot, etc.
Extending the scope is of interest. It is the proposed effort.

>"The aim was to find criteria that could apply to any system of 
>international governance rather than looking for criteria that only 
>applied to the internet - in order to avoid the pitfalls of 
>'internet exceptionalism'. Rather, in a globalised world, where 
>there are generally very weak lines of accountability between a 
>government's positions on the international stage and its electorate 
>back at home, open international spaces with broad-based 
>participation can be important opportunities for bringing 
>international decisions much closer to citizens across the world. In 
>this context, the group found that the international IG regime, if 
>developed appropriately, could have implications for wider 
>international governance systems (beyond the Internet). The group 
>recognised that these criteria are aspirational and that any 
>proposed reform would probably not meet all the criteria.

This is an operational doctrine. Observation of how an influence may 
work. It presuppose that electorate have weight. This is most 
probably inadequate even in democratic countries, because 
electorate=vote=democracy while MS is not a democratic but a 
polycratic process. There is no king, no president, no vote ... There 
is no common decision, but the emergence of de facto consensus among 
individual decisions.

>Nonetheless it was found that they provide a useful framework for 
>assessing any proposed changes.
>The following mutually-supporting criteria were found necessary for 
>the governance of complex global phenomena:

I have no doubt that these achievements are useful, but the point is 
not to wish them (and others), the point is to make them unavoidable 
through the adopted relational mechanism.

>a) Processes
>- Transparent and comprehensible: it should be possible for anyone 
>to understand how it works and how things happen/decisions are made;
>- Accountable: internal and external accountability process should 
>exist, including a way of challenging decisions;
>- Effective: in that it can deliver whatever it is meant to deliver
>- Adaptable: so that it can take account of new innovations and 
>developments in the field.
>b) Participation
>- Inclusive and open: not be a small exclusive club, but open to many.
>- All necessary points of view are included in order to arrive at 
>good decisions/agreements
>- Possessing the necessary expertise to make informed decisions
>- Meaningful participation: anybody affected by decision should be 
>able to impact upon decision-making processes. The group recognised 
>that this would likely involve mechanisms for consensus based 
>decision making. But where consensus was not possible there may need 
>to be alternative supplementary frameworks, such as decision-making 
>by majority vote.
>c) Underlying Values
>- Human rights values should be at the core of any governance 
>process and outcomes.
>- Driven by global public interest (motivated by an understanding of 
>the internet as a global public good)."

Look only at the last one: the internet as a global public good. We 
would have to define what each of us understands. What are the 
meaning of the "internet", "global", "public", "good" terms, as well 
as "public good", "global public good" and "internet as a public 
good" and then "internet as a global public good". Then once you have 
clarified all that, what do you think about the cost, time, and 
effort to disseminate their understanding throughout the world? This 
is why Vint Cerf is called "Chief Evangelist"

>If you agree these criteria are a useful starting point (and perhaps 
>they can be improved),

I am sorry, I cannot accept anything else as a starting point than 
reality: greed, existing vulnerable code, experience brought by 
previous attempts, power creeps, lack of trust, business plans, 
voluntaries, etc.

>getting back to your point, how might we assess various MS processes 
>against them?

>The example of ICANN, as you say, on the one hand looks pretty good,

IMHO it does not at all. But I accept that I might be wrong. 
Therefore I cannot consider ICANN as an example until I validated it 
against conclusions obtained independently.

>but also needs to improve.  And for improvements the question could 
>be how, what changes should the organization make to better meet the criteria?

I understand. However my starting point is that the very 
architectonic concept of ICANN is an anti-MS proposition. Changing 
ICANN before I am independently convinced by architectonic arguments 
that I am wrong, will not help.

Look we face real life propositions:

1. ICANN which does not respect its own published currently enforced 
policy (ICP-3) and tries to trap us with MS (where) as a bait.
2. IUCG's HomeRoot proposed experimentation (along this ICANN ICP-3 
policy) which wants to fully take advantage from RFCs to allow each 
stakeholder to only trust his/her own root and to protect most of 
his/her DNS metadata as several people I know did for years.

I realize that these two propositions lead to totally different IG 
concepts. So, I am interested, in addition, as a complementary 
un-biased decision element, to know what should be the criteria for 
MS-IG success in each case.


> > This list is about a particular case, in a given context, with 
> identified people and structures, and a precise task. The other 
> list is about a general case, in an undefined contexte, with non 
> identified people and structures, and an undefined task. It seems 
> that your concern is like saying why not also discuss oceans when 
> discussing my way to drink my glass of water.
> >
> > Or is it that your experience of ICANN let you suspect that ICANN 
> violates some of the rules for a robust governance in the digital 
> age? In that case everyone should be happy because we would 
> "scientifically" know how to make ICANN work better (I accept that 
> it would be to the detriment of the status-quo). So, unless your 
> priority is such a status-quo, what do you fear? No one should be 
> on that new list to defend a position, everyone should be there to 
> explore and research for the common good.
> >
> > M G
> >
> >
> >

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