[governance] Internet - whether to regulate it or not

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Tue Sep 30 16:50:54 EDT 2014

Now, why, when the UN can adopt a Model law of e-commerce, can we not discuss and possibly adopt a Model Law on IP based telecommunication  and net neutrality. Can anyone answer this simple and obvious question for me? Please, I am serious.

No one can answer this question because it is based on a false premise.  But you provided your own answer anyway:

>Because US tell us so. And so many of us are happy to take our
> cues from the US, and its political and corporate allies. (Has it
> anything to do with from where the money flows?)

It is based on a false premise because:

Here in the US of A, we are talking about nothing else but a new law and/or regulation on net neutrality, it got 5 million public comments. And the same federal regulatory agency, known as the FCC, has been running a proceeding on the telephony-to-IP transition since January https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-14-5A1.pdf

The dialogue you say doesn’t exist is transnational. I was under the impression that there were half a dozen workshops on net neutrality at this year’s IGF. I believe that the topic was debated extensively, if inconclusively, at Netmundial. The European Commission has also been discussing and acting on it.

The word “net neutrality” is an American term and the current Presidential administration is on record as supporting it. You probably learned the words “IP transition” from America, too. So explain to me again how the evil empire is preventing everyone from talking about such laws or regulations?? I am serious, or at least as serious as one can be when dealing with outlandish accusations.

Is the basis of your political appeal now a shopworn anti-Americanism, rather than a policy agenda that actually makes things better?

Keep in mind that “model laws” developed by the UN are significant only insofar as they are adopted by national governments. Which means, they have limited relevance when it comes to global Internet governance issues.

As a thought experiment, ask yourself which has had more influence and importance to the future of the Internet: the UNCITRAL model e commerce law? http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/electronic_commerce/1996Model.html
Or the Clinton administration’s Framework for Global Electronic Commerce, which provided the rationale for ICANN? http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/New/Commerce/

If the latter proved more influential, is it because the evil empire stopped everyone from talking about the topic and used Jedi mind tricks to force it down our throats? Or was it because a globalized approach proved to be more practical and suitable to the growth of the internet than a fragmented, nation-based approach?

If the neoliberal telecom competition and deregulation policies won out in the 1980s and 1990s, was it because of US power, or was it because the policies were fantastically successful at stimulating the growth and penetration of the Internet and information and telecom services and equipment, more so than the 70 years of national monopoly that preceded it, and thus were imitated by country after country?

These might be more “serious” and productive questions for people on this list to answer

Milton L Mueller
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor
Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Internet Governance Project

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