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

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Jul 13 10:38:18 EDT 2011

On Wednesday 13 July 2011 07:50 PM, Dominique Lacroix wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> I have been lurking this list for some monthes. Here is my first post.
> I'm a French Internet civil rights activist.
> Thank you very much for this very interesting discussion.
> Just a question, with a kind wink to Milton:
> don't you think that ICANN is working on trying to install itself as a 
> sort of global government collecting taxes?

A very pertinent remark. And this should be read along with Paul Lehto's 
excellent analysis of how (rather pernicious, and de facto monopolistic 
and thus inescapable) commercial contracts are replacing public or 
political governance on the Internet, which analysis is so good that I 
cut-paste it at the end of this email. So public taxes on Internet based 
services or applications are bad but taxes collected by private entities 
in the name of service fees is fine. This is the new private governance 
regime we are moving towards, and the dangers that it poses to our 
social fabric, especially to democracy, should be evident. This 
ideological divide between neoliberalism (that the propositions 
advocating marketisation even of governance indicate) and democracy is 
what is really behind the current discussion.


Paul's analysis from his email earlier today

        If one wants to see really intense and comprehensive regulation of
        behavior, check out corporate franchising contracts, which insist on
        control of every little facet of human business behavior. Government
        by no means has a monopoly on intense regulation backed up by the
        force of law. Corporations do intense regulation routinely, and call
        it all good, and economically efficient and competitive, etc.,
        in the
        franchising context to give just one example.

        Milton, I'd bet that the sum total of all pages of internet
        via corporate contracts and terms of service exceeds the sum
        total of
        all pages of governmental internet regulation. Both are enforceable
        in courts of law.

        So what makes corporate regulation superior? It is more
        voluminous and
        detailed, and no user of the internet has any meaningful say or
        to be heard in the creation of the corporate contract terms. How
        contractual fine print consumer contract clauses have you reviewed
        lately? They are as aggravating as the craziest and stupidest
        government regulation, and people have essentially zero recourse
        private corporations, which is worse than the attenuated kinds of
        recourse we have in functioning democratic governments.

        It's critical to keep in mind at all times, in my opinion, that
        Corporate regulation and control of the internet is precisely
        what we
        get in every sphere in which the government (whether for good
        or bad) exercises the "absence of control" Milton Mueller is arguing
        for. This corporate regulation via detailed contractual fine
        print is
        progress? I think not.


> Best regards,
> --
> Dominique Lacroix
> dl at panamo.eu
> Société européenne de l'Internet
> http://www.ies-france.eu/projet/
> 15, rue de l'Ancienne Comédie
> 75006 Paris
> +33 (0)6 63 24 39 14
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