[governance] FW: TP: city government exercising policy on Google Applications / consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial period

Daniel Kalchev daniel at digsys.bg
Tue Jul 12 09:38:47 EDT 2011

On 12.07.11 15:19, Paul Lehto wrote:
> On 7/12/11, Daniel Kalchev<daniel at digsys.bg>  wrote:
>> Internet has happened and was successful decades ago, only because it is
>> the largest independently owned PRIVATE network of networks in the
>> world. Nobody own the Internet. Many own small parts of it. Governments
>> resisted Internet for many, many years, throwing large amounts of money
>> and political pressure as a means to stop it's development.
> The internet originated in governmental efforts and could not exist
> without the robust legal infrastructure and some physical
> infrastructure provided by governments. Granted, the government
> physical infrastructure component is more limited than in many other
> areas, and governments have both been silent and/or had their further
> involvement in the internet resisted in some powerful quarters, but
> governmental silence or resistance to government does not mean
> government doesn't play a formative role, past and present.

This all is very complex and can be viewed very differently, depending 
on what you know about the history of Internet development and different 
scenarios in different parts of the world.

Internet "originated" in the US, in a form of a USG initiative, or a 
project. That project however was severely limited to military and 
scientific usage. Then Internet came to Europe and the rest of the world 
and it is there where Internet developed into what we know it today.

It was curious in say, 1992, when there was well developed Internet 
infrastructure outside the US, providing access to everyone, yet the "US 
part of the Internet" was strictly not available to individuals or 
companies and all government contract insisted on ISO protocol 
compliance - meaning, no TCP/IP protocols.

Governments in most other countries were not much different. They were 
completely ignorant and if they did something, that was to try to 
protect the incumbent monopoly telecoms. Not surprisingly -- in most 
countries governments had big say in that 'businesses' operation -- or 
the other way around..

> To give but one example:  Who would deny that ICANN was started by the
> US government, or that even after "freeing" ICANN that the US
> government in particular does not retain some forms of actual or
> potential power or influence on ICANN?

ICANN was created, because USG wanted to stop an outgoing attempt to 
"steal" the Internet. I myself, although participating in the agenda, 
could not claim I know all of the hidden agendas. But in any case, the 
idea of ICANN to create private entity with wide stakeholder 
participation. This was successful in some areas and not much in other, 
but there are still chances.

> Your CAPITALIZED assertion that the internet is PRIVATE combined with
> its attempt to give all credit for the internet to the private sector
> is a distortion of the facts, past and present.  The internet is
> essentially "more private" than other sectors.

English is not my native language. My usage of 'private' is to indicate 
non-governmental. For example, I view university networks, part of the 
Internet as 'private', although in many cases these are created with 
taxpayer money and in some countries might be considered government 

> But, what "private" really means in this area is that large corporate
> "stakeholders" in the internet directly and de facto make the law of
> the internet, via contracts and terms of service that are then
> enforced by governmental courts around the world.

This is true too. But again, my usage of 'private' does not envision the 
large corporations, that often share the same board of directors with a 
governments ministries and such. Internet is successful, because it is 
not controlled by governments and by large corporations. It is not so 
much about free trade, than for unrestricted (unlicensed etc) 
connectivity. The 'small' internet participants combined are more 
important than the few large players -- who, like governments, come and go.

> And, nor COULD the internet be entirely private, even in theory:
> Even the most radical libertarian "free" market theorists agree that a
> rather robust series of governmental involvement in the form of
> contract laws and so forth are necessary structures to support "free,
> private" markets.  There's a great deal of choice in how those
> contract rules are drafted, and debate as to what rules best support
> "free markets" even among like-minded theorists.

There are several different issues here.

One issue is with the government's role to create the framework for day 
to day life. This is primarily why governments exist and why they are 
granted so much power. This is also the reason people pay taxes, obey 
laws etc. The governments need to be careful with the Internet however, 
because it is so much different than other things they have to regulate.

The other issue is the desire of large corporations for more power. They 
will do whatever it takes to lobby any government to pass laws that suit 
their goals. So far, this has been fruitless, because in a while they 
come to realize Internet is not reacting the way they expect -- it is so 
much different.

If you realize that Internet is an voluntary interconnection of 
networks, each of which is independently (privately) owned and operated, 
that there are groupings for various reasons, common goals, even fights 
or wars -- you will see how similar this is to the society that consists 
of interconnected individuals. There have been many different models to 
manipulate individuals, with varying success. The Internet might have 
already passed the capitalist and proletariat era...

But how all this relates to taxation is a different topic. :)

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