[governance] Strangeness in the IGF programme

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Mar 3 11:59:20 EST 2010


Based on your discussion below, I conclude that the "Mobile telephony and internet security" theme is simply badly phrased. You are talking about "mobile networks (telecoms)" and internet security, not telephony per se. 
More comments below

>Most of my interaction in the lists comes through my accessing the
>Internet through my meagre Nokia cell phone (without touch-screen or
>qwerty keyboard features) because most of the time I don't have
>electricity due to the prevailing energy crisis in Pakistan. I am in
>an urban setting of Lahore and it is much worse are the conditions for
>our rural regions that comprises 66% of national population of over
>180 million citizens and sometimes have power for less than a few
>single digit hours.

Definitely interesting and important access issues here, but not a security issue - or even an internet governance issue - per se.

>I also pay a much higher cost to connect through a mobile network to
>the Internet as opposed to my ADSL provider. For 1MB on my cell, I pay
>Rs.150 per MB almost equivalent to approx. USD $2.00 whereas I pay Rs.
>1200 equivalent to approx. USD $14 for my ADSL per/month with a 20 GB
>cap. When you compare this, I am paying 8 times more for access on my
>cell as opposed to the  direct Internet connectivity with similar
>usage. This is one way of looking at it.

This is a well-known economic regulatory issue; in developed markets, mobile internet has gone from being an expensive, pay per bit walled garden to a pretty good approximation of the fixed internet, both in terms of interface and in terms of access to services. The driver of this has been, almost entirely, competition. I would guess that market conditions in Pakistan are less competitive. However, with mobile bandwidth being mroe constrained than fixed, the pricing may also reflect significant cost differences. If there is competition and some good regulatory decisions regarding spectrum access then over time that difference may reduce or disappear.

>When I connect to the Internet over the cell phone network, I am
>exposed to the issues of another carrier/network medium so that's two
>layers of connectivity on a mobile/cellular network. With the issues
>of connecting to the Internet over the mobile networks, the issue of
>Internet Security can also be looked at that what are the layers of
>Internet Security in interplay with the mobile networks and I think
>everyone present wanted to have a look at Internet Security issues
>with relevance to Internet Connectivity through cellular networks.

I still don't quite get this. By definition, the internet is a network of networks that involves multiple layers of connectivity. You may be going through cellular nets, WiFi, fixed copper, satellite, co-axial cable, fiber at any given time. Is there some specific security issue assocaited with internet access via "cellular" (by which I assume you mean 2G and 3G CDMA and GSM networks, or GPRS, or 3.5 HSPA, or 4G LTE standards???) that people are concerned about? 

>Trust me most of the topics included in the program paper have no
>conspiracy theory attached to them and were suggestions with a bit of

I reject entirely the language of "conspiracy" but I do believe that things happen for a reason and we can analyze and reconstruct what happened in order to understand it better. I would suggest that a specific person or group proposed a specific topic and gave it a specific construction for a reason, a reason that reflected their own agenda. I also believe that in committees working under time pressure words, concepts and phrases can become garbled beyond all recognition. Even then, it helps to reconstruct what compromises and deals were made to arrive at the awkward result. ____________________________________________________________
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