[discuss] Constructive responses to surveillance at the intl level (WAS Re: ICANN policy and "Internet Governance")

Dr. Ben Fuller abutiben at gmail.com
Fri Jan 10 11:32:35 UTC 2014

It is important to understand that many issues with global implications are solved in steps. Necessary and Proportionate Principles are a good place to start the discussion because this sets widely accepted standards. Then the work has to flow to places where people pass laws and provide budgets for specific activities. Governments tend to listen to their voters or their relevant constituents. Therefore to turn widely accepted principles into reality you need to get people within countries arguing that those internationally accepted principles need to be operationalised in their own country. This is where local/national fora for Internet Governance become important -- taking the next steps.

Take for example privacy and the NSA. There can be all sorts of resolutions passed by international groups -- there is probably already an international treaty or resolution at https://www.treaties.un.org dealing with privacy of communications. But, the NSA probably does not pay much attention, if they are even aware of these statements at all. NSA will, however, pay attention to the US Executive, US Courts and/or US CONgress because these agencies have real power over it. So if you want to change NSA behaviour, you have to work with US based institutions that can make a difference. This means US based groups to make the case in whatever form is required. The same applies to all other countries where you want to see globally accepted principles turned into reality. 

In Internet Governance it will rarely be enough to pass a resolution and figure that the work is done. Rather, this will be when the work begins -- in implementation. And this is where you need people and organisations in place around the world to engage within their own communities.


On Jan 10, 2014, at 10:00 AM, Nick Ashton-Hart <nashton at ccianet.org> wrote:

> The answer is that it depends upon how the subject is discussed.
> If it is a zero-sum 'blame game' then no. If it focuses on practicalities that give everyone something they want, then it could lead to something productive. For example, principles for MLATs that balance countries' human rights obligations yet provide useful timely access to information about genuinely dangerous criminals (terrorists being just one type), then there could be a win/win.
> As someone on the ISOC Internet Policy list said in a thread on this subject, the "Necessary and Proportionate" principles could be a good starting point for such a discussion. The HRC and UNESCO are beginning work in this area. Is there anyone here that works in those two venues who is going to participate in their work on this subject? Do they like this idea above? Do they have others that might be better?
> Seun Ojedeji <seun.ojedeji at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 6:57 AM, Dr. Ben Fuller <abutiben at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> This is a good point, but here also lies a major oversight of our
>>> discussions. Lots of countries pass resolutions accepting
>> international
>>> treaties on various issues. (The UN has over 550 in its database!)
>> and then
>>> nothing happens on the ground. Despite acceptance of principles a
>> national
>>> government makes no changes to laws, budgetary expenditures, etc.
>> There are
>>> lots of reasons of course that we do not have to get into now.
>> However,
>>> real on the ground change is usually driven by national interests who
>> can
>>> lobby and press for effective action by a national government.
>> ++1 the more reason why i perhaps wonder whether the recent consensus
>> by UN
>> on privacy [1] will make any difference to "un-authorised surveillance"
>> Cheers!
>> 1.
>> http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46780&Cr=privacy&Cr1=#.Us-jNkOm20w
> -- 
> Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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Dr. Ben Fuller, Dean
Faculty of Humanities, HIV and AIDS and Sustainable Development
International University of Managment
Windhoek, Namibia
bfuller at ium.edu.na, ben at fuller.na
http://www.ium.edu.na, http://www.fuller.na
skype: drbenfuller

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