[bestbits] RE: Conflicts of interest (was: WSIS+10 workshop?...

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 22:01:50 EST 2012

That's good Norbert, disclosure and recusal is I believe, a central element
in processes of dealing with conflicts of interest... 

In the context of CS as well, I think we need to take into account a broader
definition of what might constitute an "interest" i.e. one that goes beyond
immediate financial return but also includes issues of "national interest"
or "corporate interest" where a close association might mean that there is
at least a potential for being in conflict with what might be understood as
either the "public interest" (as opposed to "private interests") or in our
case the "global public interest" (as opposed to for example a specific
"national public interest").


-----Original Message-----
From: Norbert Bollow [mailto:nb at bollow.ch] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:08 PM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: bestbits at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Conflicts of interest (was: WSIS+10 workshop?...)

Michael Gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

> BTW, I think we should also at some point discuss the issue of whether 
> or not there is an actual or potential conflict of interest in having 
> members of a Civil Society caucus either at or in preparatory 
> discussions for an event who are also members of national delegations 
> or paid employees of companies with interests in the matters under 
> discussion.

As I'm personally active in the private sector and also engaging as part of
civil society in public interest advocacy, I'm also interested in some
guidelines in this area.

So far my strategy has been to avoid situations in which I or my customers
would have business interests directly related to the substantive issues
that I'm engaging on.

Going forward, I don't see any concrete risk of running into conflicts of
interest with regard to any human rights or other substantive Internet
governance issues. However, in view of recent unsatisfactory developments in
regard to lack of effective climate protection, I'm starting to think that
I'll probably want to engage at least to some extent in that area, even
though the strict strategy for avoiding any situation that might come close
to potential conflicts of interest won't be feasible for me in that area.
Also I'm making plans to start offering business consulting services related
to the Theory of Constraints which I'm suggesting also in the context of
strategic analysis of complex systemic governance challenges.

So maybe one reasonable way forward for me personally will be to say that
with regard to human rights and other substantive Internet governance
issues, I'm engaging in public interest advocacy as a civil society person,
while in regard to the topic areas where I have some related business
interests, I'm not qualified to engage as a civil society person, but I'll
be able to engage as a private sector person in regard to those topic areas?


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