[bestbits] RE: [governance] Multi-stakeholder model, evolution and revolution

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 08:43:03 EST 2012

A very good framing of the issues, Jeremy and of the central challenge going


My overall sense is that this (email/mailing list) medium is rather more
amenable to critique than to construction .. for one thing because critique
as with email is something one does on one`s own, while the development of
constructive suggestions/direction is something that one does best with


My thoughts going forward is that having to some degree settled on the
challenge it is now up to small groups of likeminded individuals to `gather`
to develop the suggestions that you are pointing to. Norbert has one such
possible focus on the table with his ECTF; there are the (extended) ICANN
etc. proponents`; there is the UN and then a UN+ option; there are the
``hands off the Internet`` proponents, who, now having made their case in
extremis need to do some serious backfilling if their position is to not
simply become one of ``no Internet governance except that which serves
my/our immediate interests`` the conceptual difficulties of which will be
handled by calling it anything other than Internet governance; there are
probably others and even cross-overs and overlaps among the above.


Perhaps a convening of smaller (virtual) groups around various conceptual
nodes with a target of reconvening at some later date--sooner rather than
later, might be a way forward. 




From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org
[mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Jeremy Malcolm
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2012 1:48 AM
To: governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [governance] Multi-stakeholder model, evolution and revolution


On 05/12/2012, at 11:29 AM, Andrea Glorioso <andrea at digitalpolicy.it> wrote:

John Curran wrote recently on this list:

" I harbor a concern that incremental change may be the only type of change
that open multistakeholder deliberations can actually support, as the
discussions of more revolutionary changes seem to inevitably jump to more
authoritarian questions such as "who is charge", "who can approve this",
etc. This is a topic worth thinking about in general about MS governance

Cross-posting something that I just sent to the Best Bits list, that is
relevant to the above:


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

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
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