[bestbits] [governance] Re: NMI and the Brazilian CGI.br

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Tue Dec 2 01:18:07 EST 2014

On Tuesday 02 December 2014 03:43 AM, Avri Doria wrote:
> snip
> We participate in the ITU (I am sure you saw several of us at the PP 
> where we were participatory and not at all disruptive), the IGF, the 
> HRC and work with various other agencies of both the UN and the UN 
> system.  I personally worked with some of the ITU-T architecture and 
> protocol study groups during the last century before WSIS was even a 
> concept.  Currently many of us are knocking on the ITU Council Working 
> Group asking to be let in so we can have a seat at their table.  That 
> is hardly vilification.

You cannot claim that you have not heard of UN and ITU vilification in 
this space. In fact, I contend that a major part of the politics of 
major actors in this space is driven, more or less, by resistance to  
any UN body dealing with IG issues. Never mind that the same 
organisations gladly engage with intergovernmental systems dealing with 
IG inside an OECD or Council of Europe. In my email I mentioned several 
recent instances of such anti-UN ism, for instance

1. Making the very possible mention of Internet in ITU ITRs as a do or 
die issue (never mind in the US the same organisations are now fighting 
for classification of the Internet as a telecommunication service and 
not an information service).

2. Being lukewarm if not actively resistant to proposals at the ITU 
plenipot to take up issues of grave mass scale privacy violations and 
data intrusions, even as the world is reeling under the impact of this 
issue and there is no globally democratic place to deal with this issue 
in its holistic nature.

3. Being lukewarm if not actively resistant to a full scale WSIS plus 10 
political process, at the same level as the WSIS 1 and 2...

4. Having completely resistant or at least very lukewarm attitude to and 
engagement with the UN Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation which was 
trying to seek possible needed institutional reforms/ evolution in the 
global IG space.

Any number of further instances can be given. I just think the above 
suffices to show that going for the WEF/ ICANN's NM Initiative at the 
same time as resisting UN based resolution or institutional development 
is a clear political choice that some have made. Putting our finger to 
that political choice and what we understand are its implications is our 
political duty. We would also obviously resist efforts to simply 
describe this choice in a non-political manner, of 'just trying to get 
all actors in'.

BTW, remember that at the time of initiation of the original NetMundial 
process, not only ICANN but also US government said and I quote from US 
ambassador's speech at Bali IGF, "organizing multistakeholder responses 
to Internet issues that do not have a home today. And we must work 
together with them in good faith on these important issues'. Therefore 
this new WEF/ ICANN NMI is continuation of the same process to deal with 
'orphan Internet issues', the list of which will of course keep 
expanding, The same issues about which the UN spaces are struggling to 
find their feet to deal with, but it are being strongly resisted in such 
attempts by the developed countries and most of the civil society that 
has joined the new NMI now.

So, to repeat, this is a case of particular political choice made by 
civil society groups to prefer an ICANN/ WEF system to deal with 
Internet related public policy issues over a UN or such globally 
democratic system, which is simultaneously being rejected, other than 
some 'rear guard' action kind of residual engagements. We think this is 
both an extremely dangerous thing, and in that respect perhaps historic, 
with regard to possibilities of a democratic governance of the global 


> Yes, I object to the idea of the UN or ITU gaining supremacy over the 
> Internet but I and many others have long supported them as equal 
> footing participants in IG functions.
> And yes, I would equally object to NMI or WEF gaining supremacy in IG 
> as well.  I do not have the impression that they are trying to do 
> this.  And if they try, we better be there to nip it in the bud. But I 
> support them being equal footing participants in IG in the same way I 
> support the  UN and UN system organizations.
> avri
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