[discuss] My current understanding of scope and why

Alejandro Pisanty apisanty at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 18:49:48 UTC 2014

Seth, Andrew,

IMO you both have part of a point here.

There is, if not a continuum, a fine grain gradation between issues
discussed as "Internet governance" that goes from those with a strong
technical content (from the issue itself to the locus of decisions), such
as technical standards for communications whose locus is the IETF, to those
involving far more non-technical factors and for which the main locus of
decisions is in higher layers (for the present, the example of surveillance
is fitting.)

Issues like surveillance and the protection of rights against surveillance
depend on decisions that not only affect the Internet but many other media
and technologies, including pure meatspace surveillance (is it legal and
appropriate for an agent to follow you on the street? to observe with whom
you meet, for where, for how long? - what is legal to do with this type of
"metadata", clearly of potential and painful value even if the agent does
not listen to the actual conversation?)

A possible organizing principle for the Sao Paulo meeting would emerge from
this observation. As long as Internet governance continues to be its
subject, split it into groups of issues and these into layers, and go a day
per layer grouping. Most likely the best result would come from an approach
which goes from the upper to the lower layers. Thus by the time you have to
discuss changes in technology (such as perpass), you'd already have some
agreements from the upper layers (do agents have to identify themselves
before listening? can they listen to foreign or only national
conversations?); the upper-layer discussions, of course, would be infused
by technical factors, opportunities and limitations.

The debates in each layer would involve the stakeholders in different ways,
as in meatspace of course.

Of course the meeting could decide to be non-duplicative of the IGF and
concentrate only on agreements about privacy and interference of
communications; and find a way to involve countries which more or less have
a legal framework for these activities and those who don't (in writing and
in actual practice.) I'm not holding my breath for this.


Alejandro Pisanty

On Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 10:32 AM, Seth Johnson <seth.p.johnson at gmail.com>wrote:

> You'd do better to talk about the rest of my message.  The conception
> of distinguishing "more technical" at all, works as a misdirection
> that encourages people to think that one set of issues should be
> addressed in a new way, while what we've been doing heretofore
> ostensibly applies to "more technical" issues.  But it isn't the
> technical-or-not nature of the issues that's the problem.  It's that
> they seemed "more technical" because the context we had let us work
> that way.
> But you addressed the misguided concept of the problem, not the
> important point to make about the nature of the situation (a point which I
> clarified in a parenthetical note, to be sure).
> Also, *very* important (and especially as long as we keep acting like
> certain issues are distinct and require a special approach that's not
> so "more technical") is that it's not at all clear that "the Internet"
> is really the common denominator on this notional continuum/"connected
> spectrum."  There are clear signs that WSIS is not about that, but
> about other kinds of networks!  :-)
> Seth
> On Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com>
> wrote:
> > On Tue, Jan 07, 2014 at 10:05:36AM -0500, Seth Johnson wrote:
> >> I think it important to incorporate specific stipulation that a
> >> supposedly clear distinction between "more technical" and "other"
> >> categories of issues can't be treated as tenable.
> >
> > Well, yes, but I want to be careful not to fall into the bald man
> > fallacy[1] too (which is the other end of that same problem).  Lots of
> > people seem to believe that because, "How to we make sure IPv6
> > allocation is done neutrally and fairly?" and, "How do we tackle the
> > problem of international identity fraud and its implications for
> > banking systems?" are both Internet governance topics (according to
> > what we just said), therefore there's no important distinction to be
> > made.  That's just as false as, "There's a hard separation here."
> >
> > The point I was trying to make is that these issues lie along a
> > connected spectrum, having "the Internet" in common but possibly not
> > much else.
> >
> > Best regards,
> >
> > A
> >
> > [1] For people unfamiliar: the bald man fallacy goes like this.
> > Consider a series of days: day n, day n+1, . . . day n+m.  On day n, I
> > am not bald.  On day n+1, did I lose enough hair to become bald?
> > Except in unusual medical circumstances or where I shaved my head, the
> > answer is "obviously not".  The fallacious conclusion is, "Therefore,
> > I will never be bald."  There is no moment in time at which I pass the
> > threshold from "hairy" to "bald", and yet there is surely a point at
> > which I become bald.  (That day is apparently approaching for me,
> > judging from my hairline.)
> >
> > --
> > Andrew Sullivan
> > ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > discuss mailing list
> > discuss at 1net.org
> > http://1net.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> _______________________________________________
> discuss mailing list
> discuss at 1net.org
> http://1net.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
     Dr. Alejandro Pisanty
Facultad de Química UNAM
Av. Universidad 3000, 04510 Mexico DF Mexico
+52-1-5541444475 FROM ABROAD
+525541444475 DESDE MÉXICO SMS +525541444475
Blog: http://pisanty.blogspot.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/pisanty
Unete al grupo UNAM en LinkedIn,
Twitter: http://twitter.com/apisanty
---->> Unete a ISOC Mexico, http://www.isoc.org
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://1net-mail.1net.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20140107/5f99bb3f/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the discuss mailing list