[discuss] My current understanding of scope and why

Shatan, Gregory S. GShatan at ReedSmith.com
Wed Jan 8 20:58:47 UTC 2014

Isn't the issue here really the effect of "Surveillance Governance" (and/or "Snowdenia") on "Internet Governance" (whether of the technical, legal, political, policy, or whatever else kind)?  Surveillance Governance (SG) per se is certainly above and broader than IG.  We should certainly distinguish between the two, but we need to talk about both.

It is beyond any mandate or abilities that we have to change SG in all of its forms (Internet, other ICT, "meat space").  What we can try to do is avoid adverse consequences to both IG and to the Internet itself, where new SG concerns are being used as the reason (or excuse or pretense) to make changes in IG.  Put another way, we need to insulate IG from SG (or worse yet, the cynical use of SG as a tool).  That is not to say that the current IG model is perfect.  But those who would use Snowdenia as an excuse to appropriate power and/or to remake the Internet should be resisted.  "Surveillance-proofing" the Internet seems to be a fairly sure way to mess up the Internet without (in all probability) doing much to curtail surveillance activities.  So, we need to keep an eye (or two eyes) on Surveillance Governance and its potential distortive effects on Internet governance.

In particular, tipping IG away from a multistakeholder-driven model and more toward  a government-driven (multilateral) model has very real dangers.  Advocating (as some have) that more should be left to individual government regulation is fraught with dangers.  One of the great things about Internet Governance is that we are in charge of a space that is truly international (or maybe even supranational).  It is one of the reasons that freedoms have leaked into countries where freedoms are not taken for granted.

Another way to look at multistakeholder IG is that it is a form of "self-regulation."  Industries often "self-regulate" themselves through private action to avoid more intrusive and less nuanced and expert government regulation.  Of course, self-regulation is ultimately sanctioned by the state, or if it is too poorly done, it is replaced by government regulation.  I believe that another way to look at the scope of our efforts here is to maintain a maximum of "self-regulation" of the Internet by stakeholders and to avoid unnecessary government regulation.

Greg Shatan
(opinions my own)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf Of Brian E Carpenter
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:48 PM
To: Nick Ashton-Hart
Cc: discuss at 1net.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] My current understanding of scope and why


On 08/01/2014 20:22, Nick Ashton-Hart wrote:
> Hash: SHA512
> Dear Jorge,
> Just because surveillance issues are several layers above the Internet, to paraphrase you, doesn't mean that governments won't choose policy options related to the Internet to deal with surveillance that are harmful (for all kinds of reasons, including in some countries a desire to control content to protect their regimes).
> Therefore, the Internet community has to reachout to them to explain why the Internet is not the problem and what they can do to solve the actual problems. Who else has the knowledge about the Internet to intervene and be credible?

That is a perfect summary of why it's essential to change the language from talking about "Internet governance" to talking about "Surveillance governance" (etc. for other topics).


> Jorge Amodio <jmamodio at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Jan 7, 2014, at 10:44 PM, Jeremy Malcolm <jeremy at ciroap.org>
>> wrote:
>>>> On 7 Jan 2014, at 6:33 pm, Jorge Amodio <jmamodio at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Andrew thanks for taking the time and patience to put together this
>> great summary.
>>>> I will just add that as "why" is important the other question that
>> we have been asking repeated times for which I've only seen lengthy
>> statements, some of them full of non-sense, and that still remains is
>> "what problems require fixing?"
>>> Maybe this indicates that you are asking the wrong question.  It's a
>> bit like the citizens of a dictatorship calling for elections, and
>> the dictator responding, "What problems require fixing?  You have
>> food to eat, don't you?  You have clothes on your back?"
>> More non-sense, I really don't know where you pretend to go with your
>> dictatorship analogy. I'm not saying that there are no problems, and
>> that if a fix is required we don't have to continue to explore ways
>> to keep improving to make Internet better.
>> Pervasive surveillance does not exist because of the technical
>> capabilities, the lack of accountability and oversight is not a
>> technical problem, and there is no technical solution to fix it when
>> the main issue is several layers above the telecommunications
>> infrastructure, Internet protocols and services.
>> Can we in the technology development process pay more attention to
>> privacy and security, no doubt, but once again that is not the problem.
>> I doubt very much that IETF, IGF, 1net or any other of the
>> organizations part of this discussion can solve for example the lack
>> of proper oversight that it is mostly the responsibility of
>> government and people's representatives, which requires a complete
>> different solution than the pervasive filtering or censorship of
>> content, or limits or complete lack of freedom of expression in some countries.
>> Can Consumers International make a statement about the oversight
>> problem in the USG in regards to the  NSA ? I guess yes. Do you have
>> enough clout and lobbying power in the US Congress to produce a
>> change, I don't know. Will the US Congress listen to a coalition of
>> disparate and of dubious representation organizations ? I guess no.
>> I don't think is quite clear yet what the purpose of the Brazil
>> meeting is besides empowering a dialog and discussion about what
>> issues require or will be better deal with in a multilateral or
>> multistakeholder fashion, and perhaps come with a set of common
>> principles. But I also doubt very much that anything at that level
>> and with such a broad spectrum of participants will be accomplished
>> in two days, without previous and substantial preparation for which
>> now there is not enough time.
>> Regards
>> Jorge
>> _______________________________________________
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