[bestbits] Is the Civil Society doing enough to bring about a balance in Internet Governance Policy positions?

sivasubramanian muthusamy 6.internet at gmail.com
Tue Apr 16 10:03:47 EDT 2019

Shared the proposal as an editable document:


On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:20 PM sivasubramanian muthusamy <
6.internet at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Deirdre
> On Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 5:51 PM Deirdre Williams <williams.deirdre at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>  Dear Siva,
>> I think this is an excellent idea, but it seems to me that it is also a
>> topic for a discussion that can go on now, without waiting for the IGF. In
>> fact an effective discussion between now and November could culminate in a
>> really effective workshop?
> Yes, we don't have to wait for the IGF, we could discuss this on the list.
>> One thing among many others that presents a need for clarification is an
>> understanding of who/what IS the civil society that should be considering
>> these issues.
>> Experience suggests that the more voices that can be harnessed together
>> with a common understanding of a common goal the more likely it is that
>> that goal will be achieved BUT "a common understanding of a common goal" is
>> not an easy thing to find.
> The achievable goal is "reduced differences, a broad agreement, shared
> pursuits in a common direction". We don't have to dwell too much on the
> task or defining what is Civil Society, we already understand what is Civil
> Society, roughly, but could examine a few questions for clarity, without
> getting trapped in the exercise: the discussions may not have to resemble
> an exercise to arrive at a legal definition.
> The Internet Governance Civil Society, by rough understanding, is a class
> of participants who are NOT part of the Government stakeholder group, NOT
> part of the Business stakeholder group, if we go by a broad categorization
> of All Stakeholders into three major groups. But we have at least three
> other, more distinct, major stakeholders in Internet Governance:  Internet
> Technical Community, International Organizations and the Academic
> Community.  (An Official MAG chart at page breaks down stakeholder groups
> as Governments, Private Sector, Civil Society, Technical Community and
> Media)  We could perhaps start with prevailing positions of the Academic
> Community and seek views about the extend of the Academic Community's broad
> inclinations towards one of the three stakeholder groups or another. Some
> International Organizations are identified with Governments, some are not.
> I haven't watched debates on stakeholder classification, but the more
> experienced Civil Society leaders with a good understanding of the History
> of Internet Governance may have views to share on Stakeholder classes.
> This is *NOT* to suggest that we are to debate on the class of
> stakeholder group International Organizations and the Academic Community
> belong to. That would far exceed the scope of the role of Civil Society.
> The various stakeholder classes are mentioned here with a view to find an
> answer to the question, "Are some of the International Organizations and a
> part or all of the Academic Community presently included or identified as
> part of Civil Society?
> Sivasubramanian M
>> Good luck and best wishes
>> Deirdre
>> On Sun, 14 Apr 2019 at 15:22, sivasubramanian muthusamy <
>> 6.internet at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> With a few hours remaining for submission of the 2019 workshops, I
>>> intend to propose a workshop.  Looking for support from IGC, Besbits and
>>> APC, some quick suggestions to improve the text, and more importantly, for
>>> suggestions of speakers who have a good understanding of the history of
>>> Civil Society in IG.
>>> Kindly respond ASAP.
>>> title
>>> "Is the Civil Society doing enough?"
>>> policy question
>>> "Is the Civil Society doing enough to bring about a balance in Internet
>>> Governance Policy positions?"
>>> relevance to the theme:
>>> Though proposed under "Digital Inclusion", it is a workshop across the
>>> three themes, and of relevance to the overall design of the
>>> multi-stakeholder model of Internet Governance.
>>> relevance to Internet Governance:
>>> When broadly classified, Civil Society is one of the three stakeholders
>>> in Internet Governance. Since WSIS 2005, Civil Society has played a
>>> constructive role to bring about a balance in Internet Governance debates.
>>> However, a certain degree of imbalance persists as the other stakeholder
>>> groups tend to steer policy a little more than proportionately towards
>>> their own respective positions. Governments around the world draft
>>> legislative directives some of which the Civil Society find undesirable. In
>>> some instances, Civil Society positions remarkably differed from that of
>>> Government, the proposed Acts such as SOPA or PIPA or Directives were
>>> withdrawn, only to be reintroduced and confirmed by some other title or
>>> form. Business responds to Civil Society positions, for instance, on
>>> Privacy issues, but many of the concerns of Civil Society are not
>>> adequately addressed. It could be stated that the other stakeholder groups
>>> prevail more than proportionately over Civil Society, in matters related to
>>> Internet Governance. This prompts the question, "Is the Civil Society
>>> participating enough? Is the Civil Society doing enough?"
>>> If not enough, what needs to be done? In Internet Governance, the formal
>>> title as "Civil Society" is shared by a somewhat loose collaboration
>>> between Internet Governance participants who took up the Civil Society role
>>> since WSIS 2005, other early CS participants in the IGF, organizations that
>>> pursue issues in public interest including Privacy organizations, Freedom
>>> foundations etc, and also organizations such as some Internet Society
>>> Chapters, ICANN AtLarge, ICANN Non Commercial Stakeholder Group etc, who
>>> partake in Civil Society positions in their own way.
>>> If the Civil society is not doing enough, is it because it requires
>>> greater interaction among those who pursue Civil Society positions in the
>>> IGF? How would Civil Society strengthen itself? Would it also look for
>>> Civil Society participation from beyond the IGF arena to bring in newer
>>> Civil Society participants to the IGF?
>>> These are some, and not all, questions that follow the questions in the
>>> title.
>>> Workshop session description:
>>> The session would revolve around the Title Questions, "Is the Civil
>>> Society doing enough to bring about a balance in Internet Governance Policy
>>> positions?" to bring up supplementary questions, and in the process
>>> identify its strengths and weaknesses to identify solutions towards
>>> strengthening itself for a balance.
>>> Sivasubramanian M <https://www.facebook.com/sivasubramanian.muthusamy>
>>> twitter.com/shivaindia
>>> ____________________________________________________________
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>> --
>> “The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge" Sir William
>> Arthur Lewis, Nobel Prize Economics, 1979
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