[discuss] Text of Parminder's input - WSIS + 10 Review

willi uebelherr willi.uebelherr at riseup.net
Fri Dec 18 19:18:40 UTC 2015

Dear friends,

on the IGF-list "Governance" I have read a note about the speech by 
Parminder on the "WSIS + 10 Review" conference. This text I have 
appended to it, because it is very short.

Very short can be very helpful. But only then, if we want to speak about 
the truth in concentrated form. We find in the IGF list many short 
concentrations to the situation in the Internet. And not only from Louis 

I don't know the other speeches from this meeting. But this text from 
Parminder have no substance. It is a postulation for "Governance" 
without to say, who do it and how they will do it and for what interest 
they will act. Nearly all concepts and conceptual relations are not 
clear defined. But used. It is a grass island in a swamp.

The core questions are clear. Who control the intercontinental 
telecommunication, how they do it, for what interests they act. But 
before, we should be clear, what we ourselves want. We have to be clear 
in our own perspectives and visions. Only then we have a reference 
position in the reflection of the real existing structures and relations.

many greetings, willi
Coro, Venezuela

UN General Assembly's High Level Meeting on WSIS + 10 Review
16th December, 2015
Parminder Jeet Singh, IT for Change/Just Net Coalition

It is a great honour to address this parliament of the world.

Madam President, Excellencies, Delegates and Colleagues:

The Internet is fundamentally transforming our world. These changes will 
be no less far-reaching than those of the industrial revolution.

The question then is: is the world today politically more mature, than 
it was in that distant past, to be able to better guide this 
transformation towards our common goals? More specifically; can the 
ideals of equity, social justice, human rights, democracy and 
sustainability, this time around, be a part of the very design of the 
emerging social structures?

Unfortunately, the early indications in this regard are not too good. 
The post millennial period during which the Internet has begun to 
underpin most social systems is also the time of one of the fastest ever 
increases in inequality across the world. This, when the Internet is 
supposed to be a socially egalitarian technology!

The Internet has been called the new nervous system of our society. Data 
is variously referred to as the new oil or the new currency. Just today, 
I read a World Economic Forum report which said that “Data could become 
a new ideology!”. Monopoly Internet platforms today mediate crucial 
social activities, driven by algorithms about which no one knows what 
and whose interests they serve. Such vital elements of society cannot 
remain ungoverned, left to unregulated market forces, and to the powerful.

But the past decade after the World Summit on the Information Society 
has regrettably failed to provide an adequate governance response to the 
many critical social, economic, political and cultural issues associated 
with the Internet.

As we move into the next decade from here, Madam President, permit me to 
appeal to this august gathering to urgently address the imperative of global
governance of the Internet.

We can begin with three things.

First of all, we must give up the idea of Internet exceptionalism, of 
seeing the Internet as somehow so uniquely trans-national, bottom-up, 
and private sector-led that it cannot, and perhaps, need not, be 
governed. The Internet is no more transnational than climate change; no 
more bottom-up than education, health and livelihood practices; and no 
more private sector-led than trade and intellectual property. All of 
these areas have dedicated global governance mechanisms in the UN 
system. And so should the Internet!

Next; the fully justified fear of possible statist abuse of the Internet 
has to be addressed by putting robust checks and balances into its 
governance mechanisms, and not by being in denial about the Internet's 
myriad and complex governance needs.

And thirdly, Madam President, a so-called tension between 
multilateralism and multistakeholderism must be resolved - through the 
test of democracy. The Internet should indeed be served by evolutionary 
forms of participatory governance. But the basics of democracy do not 
change: People, directly or through their representatives, alone can 
make public policy and law. Neither business nor technical experts can 
claim special, exalted roles in public policy decisions. Such a trend, 
as parts of civil society have noted with concern, is an unfortunate 
anti-democratic development in Internet governance today.

In conclusion: The world urgently needs a well-defined democratic 
mechanism for global governance of the Internet, which fully embraces 
the technical, social and political opportunities of a new, networked 
world. Such a mechanism is required inter alia as an anchor point, and a 
meta- support agency, for the governance of larger information society 
changes that are taking place across all sectors.

My esteemed colleagues, left to itself the digital-network phenomenon 
will certainly be appropriated by the powerful and will result in an 
even more unequal and unfair world, as early trends show.

Our digital future depends on what the United Nations does, or does not 
do, now.

Thank you.

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