[Governance] 170 orgs send an open letter to UN SG to stop plans for a new High Level Multistakeholder Body

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Sat Apr 3 02:58:41 EDT 2021

On 03/04/21 3:55 am, Mueller, Milton L wrote:
> Wow, Parminder, you’re getting wordier and wordier and I am not sure I
> have time to continue this, but let me provide some parting shots
> before we agree to disagree and go our separate ways…
Dear Milton, I wont wow! you .... Words are definitionally the body of
discursive democracy. If more were needed in this case that is for
reasons that you may at least equally be responsible for. This
discussion is about what mode of global governance is appropriate for
(non CIR or non tech) digital issues. It is but in order that key
interlocutors let know what kind of model they support and advocate in
this regard. You spent a few emails to reach there, but yes now from
your last email I get a good idea - though still quite vague. I quote
from your email.

"To deal with these other problems (meaning, non CIR or non-tech digital
issues) we will have to come up with something new. But, like ICANN, it
should try to be global and rooted in private law rather than in
national institutions. So in my view, that means we have to keep
national governments at bay to buy time for organic institutions to evolve."

Very interesting! You want global digital governance to be based on
private law, or, I understand, institutions built on private law. That
is a quite clear, and also an extra-ordinarily bold, assertion.  
Entirely your choice to take forward or not this important discussion on
appropriate institutional models for global digital governance, but can
you please help us understand this more. (Please do not ask me to read
your book :) ) Maybe provide us the outline of how such a thing would
look in practice. It you have written about it somewhere pl give us a
link (again, pl not a whole book though.) That would be an extremely
valuable contribution to the debate, and to the very cause of
appropriate global digital governance. 

You may please provide one clarification -- what or whose private law
should these institutions for global digital governance be based on? US?
Some other country? Or you have some conception of global private law?

I also understand from the above that such a private law based global
digital governance is in your mind an interim arrangement to 'buy time
for organise institutions to evolve'. I find this even more interesting,
and genuinely so... Again your choice to expound further what you have
put across somewhat cryptically, but can you tell us a little more about
what kind of organic institutions you have in mind even as a future
possibility? Are these too also be based on private law? Or, is this
something going towards directly elected global parliament kind of
things? I am very interesting in any and all such democratic yearnings
and projects, and we may indeed find common ground here.

You have ridiculed my asking for clear respective positions on global
governance models.... Well, I do not know whether you know much about
this area or not but such mutual accountabilities and answer-abilities
are at core of global and infra-global civil society working and
networking. IT for Change, for instance has a 'your right to know'
button on our website, and we promise to respond to any question about
us within 2 weeks... This is because we use public money on public
trust, and cannot refuse to answer public questions about ourselves. It
is in the same spirit that I ask questions from you and others in this

regards, parminder

> Again, agree that this discussion is very important. I would invite
> others closely involved with the proposal for the new MS body for
> digital cooperation to please also get involved - Such important
> matters need to go through the test and fire of discursive democracy.
> Yep. Yay, discursive democracy! That’s what we’re doing here, folks.
> > buckets.
> Buckets. Not a very cyber metaphor. Packets? Photons? Anyway….
> >therefore you really do not approve of [OECD] You could be clearer and
> more upfront about such
> > disapproval, here
> And why do I need to do that, here? I see no point in denouncing them
> on public mailing lists. As I said, I approve of their research, it’s
> often useful, good economists and policy analysts live there. But I
> did stop participating. These advisory committees to IGOs have very
> little voice or power in these organizations. Essentially you’re a
> worker for no pay. I choose to voluntarily donate my time elsewhere.
> >when pushed into an argumentative corner,
> That, sir, is an excellent description of your tactics on these email
> lists. But I can’t complain, I do the same thing.
> >Here I will request others who actively work with the OECD model to
> let us know their views on  
> >that model, clearly and upfront.
> Parminder, this is a mailing list of a diverse civil society
> coalition, not the monthly meeting of a Trotskyite advocacy
> collective. Nobody has to make their views known, “clearly and
> upfront,” to pass your loyalty test.
> Let’s go back to what this disagreement was fundamentally about. You
> want the internet to be controlled by sovereign states, and I want it
> to be self-governing and independent of sovereign states, insofar as
> that’s possible. Those are two distinct paths for internet governance.
> I will fight for its autonomy, you will fight for its subordination to
> nation-states. We meet in this space because that is the space that
> was set up to have those debates.
> 2 The appropriate model for global digital policy making, as per you:
> You have earlier made a clear distinction between CIR governance
> (ICANN etc) and governance of other Internet/ digital issues, and
> rightly so. I understand that in the latter category we can include
> platform governance, data governance, AI governance etc. Right. I now
> understand, though once again you state is very mutely, that you would
> like to see global governance of platforms, data, AI, and other
> digital issues undertaken in the same way as ICANN is governed Right?
> You need to be clear and upfront about what is the model you propose
> for global governance of these non-CIR digital issues -- because that
> is what is at the centre of this discussion.
> Here you make a good point, I do need to be clear about that, as a
> matter of practical reality if not logical consistency. So I stated
> this “very mutely,” did I? LOL! OK, I will speak louder. Undertaken
> the same way as ICANN? Depends on what you mean. You mean, organize it
> under ICANN? or start with the US government and then privatize it?
> No. ICANN was a governance experiment that can never be repeated. To
> deal with these other problems we will have to come up with something
> new. But, like ICANN, it should try to be global and rooted in private
> law rather than in national institutions. So in my view, that means we
> have to keep national governments at bay to buy time for organic
> institutions to evolve.
> Milton, are you really saying we should be dealing with various
> non-CIR digital public policy issues in the same manner? Where private
> sector sits at the same or higher level as governments?
> Definitely. We need a coalition of governments, private sector and
> civil society to work together in nonhierarchical forms of
> cooperation, and we need to have governments refrain from
> militarizing, territorializing, surveilling, censoring and restricting
> cyberspace for enough time for peaceful forms of cooperation to remain
> possible.
> Well, I repeat, it is scandalous...
> Parminder, scandalizing you is what I live for. It’s the only reason
> I’m on this list.
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