[discuss] Possible approaches to solving "problem no. 1"

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Thu Feb 20 18:35:46 UTC 2014

On Feb 20, 2014, at 11:49 AM, Milton L Mueller <mueller at syr.edu> wrote:

> Mike Roberts:
>> the solution space for IANA, and IG generally, very definitely involves governments.  
>> To those who might prefer something else, I offer three words,"Get Over It."  
> Sweden:
>> I know that there are countries around the world who want to see a state-led 
>> Governance of the internet. Sweden is for sure not one of those countries. 
> Take your pick

Milton - 

I'm not convinced that it is an "either ... or ..." situation, such as you to 
allude above.  It is true that "State-led" doesn't match the present model (and 
success) of the Internet to date, but it is also worth noting that the current 
model fails to provide a clear roadmap for governments on how they can fulfill 
their responsibilities, particularly when those responsibilities now involve 
parties who are distributed globally and communicating via the Internet.

Now, we can simply ignore the unique roles of governments (i.e. providing the 
legal framework in which the Internet operates, in enforcement of laws, and 
in protection of citizens from harm) when defining a framework for Internet 
governance, but the result is unlikely to address the angst that governments 
presently feel to trying to understand how to fulfill their responsibilities 
when it comes to the Internet.

There are likely many different possible structures between the two extremes,
and while it may not be apparent there is area of overlap, I believe that a 
productive outcome is possible if everyone keeps their expectations modest 
and based on the incremental improvement of the present situation.

Given the potential for fragmentation that unilateral lawmaking/regulatory 
actions can precipitate, it would be best (in my opinion) if the technical
coordination that presently occurs regarding Internet identifiers continues
via the present model, with a significant addition of efforts to facilitate 
government involvement in the process, both by increasing the awareness of 
the ongoing policy development efforts underway at any moment in time, but 
also through the encourage of governments to work towards common expression 
of clear high-level standards and norms which may be applicable inputs into 
the technical coordination process (e.g. EU Data Privacy Directive, UN GA
68/167, etc.)  There is also need for the various institutions to reaffirm
their commitment to open and transparent processes, and governments may play
an important role in that process in ensuring such commitments are met.  

Doing some (or all) of the above could go a far way to bringing the existing
model and governments closer together in a meaningful manner, but still be 
far short of having to pick a "State-led" model.


Disclaimer:  My views alone - feel free to discard if they do not resonate
             with your own.

More information about the discuss mailing list