[governance] <nettime> VW

Michael Gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Mon Sep 28 14:05:03 EDT 2015

Interesting response Jeremy.

Of course, what you say is true, but there is a very significant difference between recognizing the way in which the Internet is currently evolving largely under the control of certain identifiable private corporations;  and actively promoting the inclusion of these corporations in the processes of governance which are intended to guide and "manage" this evolution.

In the first instance, the corporations are recognized for what they are--private companies pursuing their own, generally narrowly defined, corporate self-interest whose behaviour needs to regulated in support of the public interest; rather than as you and others are actively promoting where these corporations are to be recognized as equal and cooperating partners involved in consensus processes of global governance (i.e. rule setting).

If we have overwhelming evidence that we should not be trusting VW to be involved in the design of mechanisms for global environmental governance, perhaps you could explain to me why for example Disney Corp, Facebook, Google etc. should be directly involved in the design of mechanisms for global Internet governance and why Civil Society should be so actively promoting that involvement.

Can we thus expect a policy statement from for example the EFF, Access, Digital Partners etc.etc. advocating that it is absolutely necessary that all environmental decision making be undertaken in a consensus mode which includes as equal party "stakeholders" all of those corporations with a major stake in environmental regulation (i.e. the major polluters such as VW etc.etc.)?

-----Original Message-----
From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org [mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Jeremy Malcolm
Sent: September 28, 2015 9:37 AM
To: governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [governance] <nettime> VW

On 27/09/2015 3:16 pm, Michael Gurstein wrote:
> Significant portions of Civil Society have bought into this approach which is firmly premised on the notion that somehow the private sector should be directly involved in making governance decisions because well, they are so public spirited, or that they have the long term interests of everyone at heart ("they are people too aren't they"), or we can trust them much more than those perfidious folks in government, or they are "accountable" to their shareholders and wouldn't do anything completely untoward to risk shareholder value etc.etc. (you know the drill...

No, not really that at all.  They have to be involved because they are already involved.  For now, the decisions of companies like Facebook and Google about their terms of service and so on are de facto transnational rules for the Internet, at least as much as the rules that governments make (collectively or individually).  So it impossible to disentangle these companies from the process of situating those rules within a more accountable global framework of principle.

Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Global Policy Analyst
Electronic Frontier Foundation
jmalcolm at eff.org

Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161

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