[discuss] Celebrating CS gains through MSism was RE: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Mon Mar 24 16:37:56 UTC 2014



Could I respectfully suggest that you do some searching in the archives of
this list and online where you will find my position on these matters,
information on the Community Informatics community and other matters in
which you seem to have an interest rather extensively presented including
through my blog.


For a very quick and dirty summary/update please see the below




From: Newmedia at aol.com

Subject: Fwd: <nettime> an historic retreat

Date: March 24, 2014 at 8:45:38 AM EDT

To: dave at farber.net


For IP (if you'd like) . . . 


From: gurstein at gmail.com
To: nettime-l at kein.org
Sent: 3/23/2014 2:38:27 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: <nettime> an historic retreat


Dear Nettimers:

There is a very much bigger game afoot where issues concerning the
NTIA/ICANN etc.etc. are mere pawns on the chessboard.

The NTIA announcement has to be seen in the context of the NetMundial
meeting to be convened in Brazil at the end of April and where the NTIA
announcement pre-empted a (quite likely and more or less global) agreement
on a rather worse set of recommendations from the US's perspective.

The key element in the NTIA/USG announcement was not the preamble but rather
the first bullet point i.e. the determination that the transfer would only
take place in a manner which would "Support and enhance the multistakeholder
model". This should be seen in the context of the USG's statement to the
NetMundial concerning its position on the future of Internet Governance
http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/prsrl/2014/221946.htm where
"multistakeholderism" is mentioned 12 times and "democracy" is referred to
once in passing.

So what exactly is "multistakeholderism"? Well that isn't quite clear and no
one (least of all the US State Department) has pointed to a useful

But whatever it is, a key element is that all the relevant "stakeholders"
including the major Internet corporations get to sit around promoting their
"stakes" and making Internet policy through some sort of consensus process
where all the participants have an "equal" say and where rules of things
like procedure, conflict of interest etc.etc. all seem to be made up as they
go along. Also, it is becoming clear that the various proponents of MSism
see it as a replacement for democratic processes of Internet governance
(continuously misrepresented as being completely aligned with multilateral
processes). Clearly the major Internet corporations, the US government and
their allies in the technical and civil society communities are quite
enthusiastic -- getting to sit around and jointly work out things like
frameworks, principles and rules (or not) for privacy and security,
taxation, copyright etc. in an Internet enabled environment--pretty heady
stuff.  Whether the outcome in any sense is supportive of the broad public
interest and an Internet for the Common Good, well that isn't so clear.


-----Original Message-----
From: nettime-l-bounces at mail.kein.org
[mailto:nettime-l-bounces at mail.kein.org] On Behalf Of Felix Stalder
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2014 2:59 AM
To: nettime-l at kein.org
Subject: Re: <nettime> an historic retreat

Hi Dan,

I must say, I've never really understood the politics around ICANN. That has
always been too arcane for me. So I don't understand this development

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David Farber

Carnegie Mellon University  Adjunct Professor of Internet Studies
University of Pennsylvania Alfred Fitler Moore  Emeritus Professor of

University of Delaware Distinguished Policy Fellow 

Board Member -- EFF, EPIC and ISOC

Board Emeritus  Stevens Institute of  Technology

Cell: +1-412-726-9889

Google Voice: (864) 8Farber

Email: dave at farber.net

Public Key Fingerprint: 2133 594F 87C6 DC11 8BCD 6897 F46C 3C84 91C7 03FA


From: Seun Ojedeji [mailto:seun.ojedeji at gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 8:44 AM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: Alejandro Pisanty; discuss at 1net.org; governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] Celebrating CS gains through MSism was RE: Comcast
undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?


Hello Michael,

On a serious note, at times I get confused on your views. Initially indicate
the the USG (which is basically any typical govt) is the issue that should
be removed from the process and thank goodness the USG heard and responded
positively. Now you are saying the  multistakeholder approach is also not
it, then what is the solution?
You are giving example of organisation you belong (which for instance I
don't know and can't find foot print of it's activities online) have you
tried to make your contribution known and was kicked back?
I think comments like this is what makes the whole multistakeholder approach
more complicated. I know you probably have more experience than I do,
however I think it may be good to not further complicate things for those
who are trying to understand/educate themselves through this medium.
It will be more constructive to read from you, what you think is the problem
and how to fix it. Than just sticking with the problem. This is why I
appreciate Milton's approach (which does not necessarily mean it's the
solution, but he has put something on the table) and I can say I learnt from


sent from Google nexus 4
kindly excuse brevity and typos.

On 24 Mar 2014 23:26, "michael gurstein" <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

I think Alejandro’s note below illustrates one of the fundamental
limitations of the multistakeholder approach.


Alejandro states: this statement puts in a nutshell what never ceases to
amaze me: civil society has gained the most among all sectors from the
multistakeholder component of governance, be it Internet, finance, or the
environment. We from civil society have broken silos and gained a global
voice and unparallelled global influence, often paired with influence inside
our countries.


I don’t wish to comment on the truth or falsity of this statement.  However,
I would note that in the midst of the recitation of those involved in these
processes and the “gains” made by Civil Society interests (and presumably
others) I must ask what has happened to the “public interest” i.e. the
interests of all over and above the individual sectional interests;  or the
interests of other non-represented groups in these processes. 


For example, the Community Informatics community of which I am a part,
concerned as it with the interests of grassroots communities particularly
the marginalized, has only a partially overlapping set of
concerns/”interests” and particularly priorities with “civil society” (as
for example is indicated by the issues presented by CS in Tunis where the CS
priority was focused on Human Rights while the CI community was rather more
concerned with access and social justice issues). Given the refusal of
“Civil Society” to include CI and its concerns within its framework and the
refusal of those acting as stakeholder gatekeepers for current MS processes
to allow for an independent status for the CI community Alejandro’s
self-congratulatory statement above rings rather hollow.


But over and above this is the matter of who and how the public interest is
represented—for example in ensuring that processes are fair, transparent and
accountable and not subverted or suborned to individual or private
interests; for ensuring a necessary range of participation including among
those who might, for a variety of reasons, not be actively pursuing such
participation; for including normative diversity (including those supportive
of social justice) as well as identity based diversity; and for representing
the Internet as a global public commons among others.


I remain to be informed as to how these matters will be resolved through the
creation of a “multistakeholder consensus” or through the concatenation of
sectional interests which the current description of “multistakeholderism”
is presenting as the means by through which outcome decisions are obtained.




From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of Alejandro Pisanty
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2014 12:22 AM


To: parminder
Cc: discuss at 1net.org; governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?




this statement puts in a nutshell what never ceases to amaze me: civil
society has gained the most among all sectors from the multistakeholder
component of governance, be it Internet, finance, or the environment. We
from civil society have broken silos and gained a global voice and
unparallelled global influence, often paired with influence inside our


Yet the position you present reverts power to governments only - e.g.
through the demand of public funding and the exclusion of private funding;
the same governments most civil society is at odds with (admittedly in very
different ways and levels.) 


I continue to find it incredibly paradoxal to have civil society leading the
effort to braid the rope with which governments would gladly hang us.


Another perplexing element of this discourse is calling the effective, open,
evolvable, broadly participatory and open multistakeholder processes
undemocratic and the multilateral and governmental "democratic", when maybe
two thirds of the world population do not consider their condition


The remedy to the thick suspicionism of yours and colleagues - after stating
lack of knowledge of the organizations and matters beign spoken of - is not
doing away with the multistakeholder component in favor of the governmental
or multilateral, but optimizing the combined contributions they can make.
ICANN-as-a-laboratory provides a lot of learning in this respect, wasted by
not being studied enough. And the whole framework is vital for the NTIA
functional substitution problem to hand, which these discussions have long
drifted away from.


Alejandro Pisanty


On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 12:59 AM, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net>

This is what IETF's own RFC 3869 says

"The principal thesis of this document is that if commercial funding   is
the main source of funding for future Internet research, the    future of
the Internet infrastructure could be in trouble. 
 In    addition to issues about which projects are funded, the funding
source can also affect the content of the research, for example,   towards
or against the development of open standards, or taking
   varying degrees of care about the effect of the developed protocols   on
the other traffic on the Internet."

It is important to recognise that research is not a monopoly function, but
governance definitionally is. So, if commercial funding can distort Internet
research, it is but obviously that it has to be an absolute no no for
governance functions (standards making for something as socially important
today as the Internet, in absence of any further neutral public oversight
constitutes a governance function). 


On Sunday 23 March 2014 07:04 AM, Stephen Farrell wrote:

Hash: SHA1
On 03/23/2014 01:23 AM, michael gurstein wrote:

I personally have no idea whether what you folks and your compadres
do/come up with is as pure as todays snowfall up on Grouse
Mountain--or not. But the absence of a recognition of what is
expected of you in terms of (at least formal) accountability and
transparency and what those expectations imply is, as I said to
John, I think a rather significant problem.

Actually you said you didn't know how the IETF works.
And I said that the sponsorship stuff is public. And
all the mailing list traffic is public and open to all.
I really think you're in the arena of FUD in terms of
how your concern absolutely does not apply in the IETF
But yet again - if you or someone is concerned go look
at the facts in the public record and then come back.
I am entirely sure that if something interesting were
found there the IETF would discuss it to death in the
same manner we do with almost everything. But I'm also
pretty confident that such an examination of the IETF
if done fairly would actually not show up such a problem.
So the situation is that you don't know how the IETF works.
And the IETF does (I claim, knowing something about it, but
anyone can verify) act transparently with accountability.
The problem it seems to me is with the first sentence in
this paragraph.
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