[Governance] [Internet Policy] Fwd: Calling for ISOC to not associate with the nomination process for IGF Leadership Panel

Sylvain Baya abscoco at gmail.com
Tue Nov 30 17:56:37 EST 2021

Dear all,
Hope this email finds you in good health!

Please find my comments below, inline...

Le mardi 30 novembre 2021, Andrew Sullivan via Governance <
governance at lists.igcaucus.org> a écrit :

> Dear colleagues,

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for sharing your reply here, brother!

> In reply to Parminder's email, I have sent the following.  I forward it
> here because, since his note was effectively an open letter, I think it
> requires an open reply:
The below argumentation appears to be deeply aligned with those of both
Parminder & Milton.

Question: where is the Andrew, we are used to?

...please, excuse my interpellation; i'm too glad to
read the following as i'm firmly in agreement with
your stance in defending the bottom-up principle;
with interesting illustrations as such...but, i (and
almost everyone here) know your determination in
fighting for what you think it's worth fighting for...

Andrew, allow me to state it cristal clear:
Brother, i would have expected you to fight more
and certainly, not to abandon your profound beliefs
before being sure to have lost the war. As usual,
please, use all kind of weapons you think could be
effective. Please try again...and defend the IGF's
community...as you seem to have confirmed that it
 deserves to be defended!

...it's not that i think you have not sufficiently
considered the situation...instead, my point is that,
in what you said, you expressed a clear rueful
abandonment; before the end of the story...that
seems to not be our own Andrew's habit...i expect
more determination from those in charge to defend
 the Internet.

Please stand-up & continue to fight, for the well, brother!

Thanks once more.

Remain blessed!


> Dear Parminder,
> Thanks for your note.  I had already seen the letter you and Milton sent
> to the UN Secretary General, but I appreciate you bringing it to my
> attention specifically.
> You are quite correct that the Internet Society previously opposed a
> proposal to create a panel like the one that has been announced, and that
> we oppose this Leadership Panel.  The Internet Society will not, as the
> Internet Society, nominate anyone to the panel.  In addition, no staff
> members shall participate in the panel.  There is a semi-formal group
> called the Internet Technical Collaboration Group, which has George
> Sadowsky (in his personal capacity) as its chair, and for which we provide
> minimal secretariat services.  It is possible that group will nominate
> someone, but it will not be a nomination from the Internet Society as such.
> Given the clear expressions made during the public comment and the UN
> decision to proceed anyway, I am sad to say I think it is a waste of time
> to appeal to the Secretary General again, so I will not be writing.  It
> seems to me we have to accommodate ourselves to this change in the nature
> of the Internet Governance Forum.  That does not mean supporting or
> nominating potential members.  We will of course monitor the group's
> activity, especially if it seems likely to threaten the Internet.
> Some would argue that it would be better to try to join this panel and
> influence it from the inside.  My view is that such participation would
> convey a kind of legitimacy to the Leadership Panel that I do not believe
> it can have.  Let me explain.
> When the Internet emerged as a large-scale social phenomenon in the 1990s,
> there was a great deal of contention about who would be in charge.  This is
> to be expected with a large, transformative technology.  Moreover, the
> early history of the Internet may have tended to encourage the idea of
> someone being "in charge", since of course the earliest Internet sites were
> all under the supervision of the US DoD.
> Over time, however, everyone seemed to come to realize that, in a network
> of networks, it is not really possible to establish who is in charge: since
> there is no centre, there is no centre of control.  Instead, we had to work
> out always-contingent consensus approaches, using forums like the IGF to
> identify issues and figure out who might be able to address them.  This, of
> course, is a parallel to the fundamental operational realities of the
> Internet's design.  And it tended, I think, to be reinforced by the nature
> of the burgeoning Internet: there were just so many players that ruling by
> authority would be impractical.
> Something has become gradually more apparent, however: with consolidation
> and concentration on the Internet, it becomes logistically realistic to get
> "the important players" into a room.  Realistically, when the number of
> firms with overwhelming traffic dominance on the Internet falls to perhaps
> 20 or fewer, it is tempting to squeeze those firms and just treat
> everything else as mostly unimportant noise.  And this is, of course, a
> pattern that is discernable in various acts both by governments, and by
> very large firms who are clamoring for regulation.  Industrial history
> teaches us that, when a large incumbent insists it needs regulation, it is
> unlikely to be an effort to ensure the market is open to new players.
> So, those of us who believe in the open, globally-connected, secure, and
> trustworthy Internet are now engaged in the fight of our lives.  Our vision
> of the Internet is being supplanted, really, by a giant corporatist
> enclosure movement.  It aims to turn the Internet into a well-controlled,
> sanitized utility, operated overwhelmingly by a few large, trustworthy
> organizations at the behest of this or that government.  Probably such a
> utility would have different properties in different places and would
> interoperate in the more-awkward, more geopolitically-oriented manner of
> the old telephone system than like the Internet we are used to.  It would
> likely not be the infrastructure of empowered edges that we have known in
> the opening stages of the Internet.  It wouldn't, really, be an internet at
> all, even though people will probably still call it "internet".  I do not
> believe we are too late to stop this from coming true, but we are
> definitely at a late hour.
> Under these circumstances, I think it would be dangerous to participate
> in—or support in any way—a Leadership Panel that is practically tailor-made
> for Internet-enclosure thinking.  As designed, it is a group of Important
> People, where the selection criteria are opaque and the remit is vague.  It
> will inevitably be under pressure to support Internet enclosure, and given
> the political sensitivity of many of the panelists' "day jobs" the panel as
> a whole will almost certainly have to bow to that pressure.  This will be
> true, in my opinion, no matter how worthy and independent-minded I think
> are many of the nominees I have heard suggested.  The institutional design
> is fundamentally wrong, and I cannot support it.
> I have a number of thoughts about how the IGF could more effectively
> pursue the useful job it has.  I have shared those previously with people
> who I thought might be in a position to try to undertake some of it, and I
> won't reproduce it here, except to note ruefully that I was apparently not
> convincing enough.
> Best regards,
> Andrew
> On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 01:35:02PM +0530, parminder wrote:
>> Dear Andrew,
>> [...]
> --
> Andrew Sullivan
> President & CEO, Internet Society
> sullivan at isoc.org
> +1 416 731 1261
> [...]


Best Regards !
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