[discuss] FW: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Tue Mar 25 02:26:09 UTC 2014

I have seen hundreds of discussions here which begin by the poser, and a 
basic political question - how can those who are already among the most 
powerful - big business - be actually given rights to make public policy 
decisions on par with people's representatives, quickly end up in 
responses like how can you keep industry out of the room or not consult 
them.. !!???

It seems to be of no avail that the original questioner keeps asserting 
that neither that person nor it seems anyone else ever said that 
industry should not be consulted - however elaborate a meaning be 
applied to the term 'consultation' ....

There is a huge huge difference between consulting and being a part of 
decision making, that too, specifically on public policy making...

Unless we remained focussed on that 'difference', and also the specific 
meaning of 'what is a public policy', and what does 'making and 
enforcing public policy entail' , we wont make progress on discussing 
this particular issue - the political role and status, or even 
definition, of multistakeholderism.  If there is will here to discuss 
these elements seperately we can perhaps do that. Because 
multistakeholder (public) policy making is the new elephant in the IG 
room, and it better be addressed upfront.


On Tuesday 25 March 2014 05:32 AM, Barry Shein wrote:
> On March 22, 2014 at 16:18 gurstein at gmail.com (michael gurstein) wrote:
>   >
>   > Is it really acceptable for the process towards the establishment of global
>   > standards for sugar intake to be "(co)sponsored" by Coca Cola for example;
>   > or for that matter for Coca Cola to have a member on the Board of one of the
>   > key technical bodies making recommendations towards those standards?
> I'm not sure this analogy is apt, as much as I sympathize with the
> sentiment.
> This is more like Coke having membership on the board of a group which
> is setting standards for grocery shelving. It probably exists.
> Surely Coke would have a legitimate interest just like anyone else
> involved (supermarkets, delivery companies, etc.) And that interest
> may well be self-interested but there's no obvious reason why it
> should not be involved or why this would be bad.
> Now, if Coke used that position to favor their bottle sizes over that
> of competitors that might be a problem. But that would be the end
> result of a lopsided or corrupted process rather than a mistake
> letting them into the room.
> But the purpose of the IETF et al is not to stand between the public
> and the manufacturers.
> Most of the IETF's work is to standardize practices among
> manufacturers (providers, etc.) in the belief that this produces a
> result in the public's interest by improving interoperability.
> I don't believe I am splitting a hair: I think there is a time and
> place for consumer advocacy groups, and industry advocacy groups, and
> standards development bodies.
> Their interests often overlap in significant ways but much of their
> effort is disjoint.
> Put simply: Merely having a pecuniary interest in a result is not a
> /prima facie/ justification for disenfranchisement.

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