[discuss] Governmental participation (Was: Problem definition 1, v5)

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Sat Jan 25 22:03:11 UTC 2014

Dear All,

Firstly thanks S Moonesamy for the links.

I find that the emerging issues out of the dialogue that is ensuing are as
follows and I have added more questions as well:

   1. What is Government's role in Internet Governance?
   2. What are the boundaries of Government Participation in Internet
   3. In current multistakeholder experiments how does Government
   contribute to Internet Governance?
   4. Do representatives of Government have legitimacy and are they
   authorised to participate?
   5. What are the boundaries of what the Government representatives
   authorised to negotiate?
   6. In the multistakeholder experiments, are governments equal to the
   private sector and to civil society?
   7. Is it reasonable to demand "equality" in a multistakeholder
   8. What are perceptions of "inequality" in the current multistakeholder

*Personal Observations*

I find that different people have different views on the roles that
Governments play because they perceive them differently. So a good starting
point is exploring the level of engagement etc. If we take the analogy of
using a vehicle saying that, ordinary folk get into a "vehicle" and drive
it off. They are very content with basic knowledge about gas tanks, model
of car. There are others behind the scene who deal with product type,
design, standards and build the car. There are others who market the car
and sell it. There are others who make sure that the car has a competitive
advantage and does well. There are others who negotiate in WTO to ensure
that they can help their corporate citizens to have comparative advantages.
There are some who negotiate at WIPO to ensure their corporate citizens
have comparative advantages. But all the ordinary end user cares about is
that the car is safe, looks cool and can run from Point A to Point B and
maybe save fuel in the process. In this regard the end user is not
concerned about global public interest because of many reasons such as they
trust that someone else will do the job.

The question who do the end users trust to look out for their interests and
by extension "Global Public Interest"? I can guarantee that different
countries will answer this differently based on context. Context shapes
meanings and perception.

When it comes to Internet Governance and government participation, it is
critical that when stakeholders offer a position, that we understand the
philosophy behind their position so as to better understand them.

*On the Issue of Governance in the matter of addresses*

The RIRs are perfectly competent to carry out their role and are widely
respected globally in the manner in which they carry out their functions.
In fact they are one of the best success stories when it comes to the
multistakeholder experiment in how they are open, and engage with external
stakeholders in a neutral manner. One of the reasons for this is they are a
"Technical community" so they get the job done.

ICANN has a far different range of complexity as it mixes both public
policy and technical coordination in the manner in which it carries out its
functions. The reasons are beyond ICANN and goes to the heart and nature of
the many policy issues that affect the wider community.

There appears to be growing support to make ICANN more technical and less
political. Whilst this may succeed, it will still not solve the varying
shades of nuances of threats to global public interest that overlap with
the execution of some of the technical policy matters. To illustrate this,
see below:

   1. IDNs are linked to the multilingualism and freedom of expression
   2. Whois is linked to privacy, law enforcement, cyber crime, e commerce,
   taxation, intellectual property, etc
   3. new GTLDs are linked to intellectual property, communities, cyber
   crime, cyber security etc

So the emerging challenge would be the issues that would then ensue are as

   1. How do you maintain a technical efficient ship without being caught
   in the political drama?
   2. Should there be a separation of technical administration from public
   policy discussions?
   3. If such a separation would occur, how would it affect global public
   4. Should we solely rely on the technical community and exclude others?
   5. Can we guarantee that the technical community will be fair and
   consider global community concerns?
   6. Is the technical community or any other community politicized and
   open to capture?
   7. What systems should be in place to ensure that there are checks and
   8. Should there be checks and balances?
   9. Do the checks and balances already exist?
   10. Can the checks and balances be improved?

It is also a likelihood that as a global community when we examine some of
the challenges and threats, that we could come to the conclusion that the
"status quo" plus some slight progressive improvements could be the most
viable solution to date. But central to any discussion or dialogue would be
that regardless of the model, the systems should serve GLOBAL PUBLIC
INTEREST (caps intended). Any audit or scrutiny should be done with that in

To facilitate GPI is to encourage increase of participation in underserved
regions, encourage and increase meaningful participation in policy
development. We can do that by building within our own communities as most
of us are already doing.

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