[discuss] governments and rule of law (was: Possible approaches to solving...)

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Feb 28 17:08:02 UTC 2014

-----Original Message-----
>   I guess what I am asking is whether you would accept a slight modification of
>   your postulate to the following: "Until and unless the GAC ceases to provide 
>   direct policy input to the Board and instead governmental participants involve 
>   themselves directly in the policy development process on equal terms with all 
>   other stakeholders, this problem will not be solved."  Do you believe to be 
>   true, or is GAC elimination a necessary condition for structural or pragmatic
>   reasons? 

If the ICANN bylaws were modified to not privilege GAC advice, then the scenario you present would be an improvement, a small step forward. But it would not be my desired end state. 

The problem is that putting all the governments in a room as "governments" with a single, national position is still creating a de facto intergovernmental organization, or at least strongly reinforcing the mindset and practices of an intergovernmental organization. Now if you don't think the Internet should be regulated by an intergovernmental organization (IGO), why are you creating an IGO-like environment? 

Do you think governments can handle the gap that would be created between their expectations and traditions and the actual situation? In considering that question, imagine you are a mid-level policy guy from the country of Ruritania's Ministry of Communications. Ruritania gives you the ICANN portfolio and you go to its meeting in London. There you are presented with two ways to spend your time:

	a) huddle in a room with a bunch of other mid-level policy people from other governments, where the methods, procedures and attitudes are familiar and you know (sort of) what is going on because it resembles all the other IGOs you go to; or, 

	b) venture forth into a GNSO meeting, where the methods are unfamiliar, you are of a different position and status than those business lobbyists, wild-eyed civil society advocates, etc., and you have to engage in discussions about issues with them - issues you are not all that expert in.

You seem to be suggesting that the Ruritanian Ministry of Communications guy will somehow manage to do both of these things. I am suggesting that they will, at best, do one of them, and are far more likely to make their life easy and do a) than b) 

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