[bestbits] RE: UNESCO WSIS plus 10

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy at ciroap.org
Mon Feb 18 03:06:36 EST 2013

Here is a shorter version of the presentation that I'll be giving at the


and here is a longer, serialised version on my IGF Watch blog:


Apologies for "spoilers" for next week, but the presentation will include some
content that you won't see above!

Here is an abstract, which also appears in neither of the Web versions:

Last year's ITU WCIT conference inflamed the community's fears of the
extension of intergovernmental control over the Internet. Whilst this fear was
legitimate, an over-emphasis on the ITU can obscure the fact that the Internet
is already controlled in undemocratic ways - often by governments, through
both national and global processes, but also by corporate interests. It also
obscures the fact that government action is sometimes necessary to uphold the
rights of Internet users, just as government inaction can sometimes support
their freedoms.

This is no less true at the global level than at the national level, although
the appropriate mechanisms of governance at each level differ. Specifically,
there are some areas in which developing globally-applicable principles for
the governance of the Internet could be valuable and important. Despite
popular belief, there is no network of global multi-stakeholder processes or
institutions that covers all of the important public policy areas in which
such global principles could be useful. However, with the convening of a new
CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation, we now have the opportunity to
fill that gap.

To date, civil society has been very reluctant to participate in the
development of such a positive agenda for the evolution of Internet governance
arrangements. But if we do not, either the status quo will prevail or less
democratic and multi-stakeholder alternatives (such as the ITU) will come to
the fore. This paper suggests one possible format for operationalising the
enhanced cooperation mandate from WSIS, but its principal message is that
regardless of the format adopted, now is the time for civil society to
seriously consider the merits of a more formal institutional platform for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of Internet users.

More information about the Bestbits mailing list