[bestbits] Next steps on principles (was Re: Coordination...)

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Thu Dec 6 05:55:44 EST 2012

"We've spoken loudly enough about what we don't want - the ITU.  So, 
what /do/ we want?" Jeremy

I entirely agree that we need to proceed with a positive agenda, and 
developing principles for IG, or Internet policy principles, is the best 
way to go forward. I am sorry to take a 'we said so' position but since 
the very first IGF, in fact even before it, in the call to contribute to 
developing the agenda of the first IGF, IT for Change has been insisting 
that developing Internet policy principles is the best way to go, 
especially given the stalemate on which institution should do what. WIth 
this objective in view we, along with other partners, set by the IGF 
dynamic coalition on ' Framework of Principles for the Internet' which 
later merged with the dynamic coalition on bill of rights to form the DC 
on Internet rights and principles....

We are happy that there is now an even greater sentiment for developing 
principles for Internet policy making today. It is however unfortunate 
that a good part of this sentiment has risen as a reaction to what may 
be perceived to have begun happening at the UN. To that extent, it will 
not be entirely misplaced if some developing countries look at these 
'new' - apparently reactive - initiatives with a good degree of 
cynicism, inviting doubts about 'whose agenda it really is'. We often 
are so quite careful about what US may think of an initiative; it is at 
least equally required that we bear in mind what developing countries 
may think.

It is therefore always best to seize any initiative pro-actively, 
leveraging the moral high ground that civil society has.  Though we are 
quite late on the Internet principles thing, it is still good time, 
However, if we are to be informed by the lessons learnt of not being 
always reactive, and always looking to what a US gov or a google will 
think of this or that, and if we, as global civil society, are to be 
taken seriously, we just must go ahead and present the best public 
interest Internet principles that we can pull together and present it to 
the world. And then we should seek to get as many as possible public 
interest actors behind us. Let us not get too circumspect quite early 
on. We should certainly be practical and pragmatic but not already 
negotiating too much with the key dominant actors, whether actually, or 
in our minds. To put it somewhat bluntly - we dont negotiate when it is 
inappropriate content regulation or privacy issues, why should we 
negotiate when it is net neutrality. The only legitimacy and 'power' 
that civil society has is of its taking up the interests and struggles 
of the less powerful - lets stick to our legitimising roots.

In sum, and to repeat, what I propose is that we pull together the best 
public interest principles for Internet policy (or IG) that we can, 
keeping reasonable pragmatism in background of our work, and then take 
it to the world. The methodology that we adopt - and I understand that 
is the question my mail is trying to respond to - should be determined 
by this objective.


On Thursday 06 December 2012 03:15 PM, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
> On 04/12/2012, at 12:01 AM, Norbert Bollow <nb at bollow.ch 
> <mailto:nb at bollow.ch>> wrote:
>> Anriette Esterhuysen <anriette at apc.org <mailto:anriette at apc.org>> wrote:
>>> This does bring us back to our 'Best Bits' goal about developing and
>>> proposing principles for internet governance. Should we not begin to
>>> plan our next steps?
>> Absolutely.
>> How can things realistically be moved forward in a positive,
>> constructive way?
> I worry that the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" meme with which 
> most are approaching WCIT will solidify into a general opposition to 
> any global norm-setting outside of the Internet technical community's 
> institutions, and that Internet policy development will thereby be 
> confined to the national level.  This is not helped by the US 
> government's predisposition to avoid taking on international 
> obligations (the Disabilities Treaty being the latest example, besides 
> the Law of the Sea, the International Criminal Court, the Cybercrime 
> Convention, the Treaty for the Visually Impaired, etc) - except of 
> course through multilateral trade agreements!  I think we need to work 
> on addressing that perception, and point out that:
> 1. Multi-stakeholder Internet governance will be soft law, guidance 
> rather than compulsion.
> 2. Even the US is promulgating global Internet norms through fora that 
> suit it (OECD, APEC, and the "free flow of information" provisions in 
> the TPP).
> 3. So we need to move this into multi-stakeholder global fora, at a 
> higher level that does not bind anyone, and need not restrict national 
> policy space.
> 4. There are various non-technical Internet policy issues that have no 
> appropriate global home (nor should the ITU become their home).
> 5. For example, a potential core competency is connecting Internet 
> governance with human rights, as a framework to guide the development 
> of national and multilateral norms for IP enforcement.
> 6. Let's propose an IGF-based multi-stakeholder enhanced cooperation 
> mechanism that would be an acceptable way to deal with such issues.
> We all hate hierarchy, but sometimes a little bit of structure is 
> necessary to provide firm enough guidance to policymakers (look at the 
> failure of IPv6 adoption).  The existing loose network of Internet 
> governance institutions, even if their "cooperation" is "enhanced", 
> isn't structured enough to provide such guidance in a way that will 
> satisfy the stakeholders (governmental and non-governmental) who are 
> seeking more from the enhanced cooperation process.
> At Best Bits a few options were described, though we ran out of time 
> to debate them.  As I see it, there is a UN-linked option (which in 
> turn divides into an IGF-based option or an IGF-independent option), 
> or there is a UN-independent option (the Enhanced Cooperation Task 
> Force, ECTF).  So far, almost none of us have been serious about 
> pursuing any of these.  But the status quo is not going to hold.  One 
> way or another, Internet governance is going to evolve, and it will do 
> so with us or without us.  We've spoken loudly enough about what we 
> don't want - the ITU.  So, what /do/ we want?
> -- 
> *Dr Jeremy Malcolm
> Senior Policy Officer
> Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for consumers*
> Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
> Lot 5-1 Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, 
> Malaysia
> Tel: +60 3 7726 1599
> *Your rights, our mission – download CI's Strategy 2015:* 
> http://consint.info/RightsMission
> @Consumers_Int | www.consumersinternational.org 
> <http://www.consumersinternational.org/> | 
> www.facebook.com/consumersinternational 
> <http://www.facebook.com/consumersinternational>
> Read our email confidentiality notice 
> <http://www.consumersinternational.org/email-confidentiality>. Don't 
> print this email unless necessary.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.igcaucus.org/pipermail/bestbits/attachments/20121206/c545fab6/attachment.htm>

More information about the Bestbits mailing list