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[I-coordination] What is 1net to me?

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy at
Mon Dec 2 07:35:02 CET 2013

On 02/12/13 03:20, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> "The 1net initiative should encompass the widest possible stakeholder
> community,..."
> How is this different from the community that's been invited to join
> ISOC since 1992?

There are many who will never join ISOC because it is so closely tied to
the technical community, and advances what has been a very narrow view
of what is in that community's best interests (preservation of its way
of doing things, and suspicion and FUD about anything else).  In
practice this means that ISOC has been closely aligned with US foreign
policy and large US-based multinational business interests, and against
the expressed interests of much of broader civil society and those of
developing countries.

There hadn't been a lot of introspection about the broader and long-term
impacts of ISOC's opposition to the Internet governance reforms that
broader civil society has long been advocating for; at least not until
the Snowden revelations, and then only belatedly and to a limited
extent, which even that has raised objections (as discussions on this
list evidence).

(Note I am talking about global ISOC.  There are some excellent ISOC
chapters whose work is only very loosely linked with whatever global
ISOC is doing, and indeed who have put forward positions inconsistent
with those of global ISOC.  Good for them.)

So that's why not ISOC.  But why 1net instead?  Indeed, that remains to
be demonstrated.

> "If successful, it should function in some way as an "inter-sessional"
> IGF process."
> In order to achieve what? I remain unclear about the *new* objectives
> that all this talking is aimed at. What aren't we doing already that
> actually needs doing?

This is the main problem that I have with Paul's conception of 1net.  If
this were to be a substitute for an intersessional IGF process, that
provides just another excuse to sideline and postpone needed and
long-overdue reforms to the IGF itself, amongst which are the
development of intersessional working processes (I have personally been
calling for this for years, as have others).

Now Paul is one of the individuals at whom I would certainly *not* levy
the accusation of trying to sabotage the IGF.  But there are others who
are still stubbornly resistant to change, and who will seize on this as
another excuse to derail the IGF so that policy discussions remain close
to the technical-community, and don't go anywhere useful.  In that
sense, for such people, the fact that 1net won't actually be able to
*do* anything about the issues it discusses is not a bug but a feature;
it is another distraction from the work at hand.

So that is the nightmare scenario of what 1net is to me.  The most
positive feasible scenario that I see at this point in time, is that
1net is more like a neutral ground between the technical community with
its online fora like the ISOC Internet Policy list, and broader civil
society with its lists like Best Bits and governance.  But that's a
fairly limited function.

I certainly don't see governments buying into 1net, and to that extent,
it won't ever be useful as a multi-stakeholder forum in its own right,
nor does it have the legitimacy to perform any functions such as jointly
nominating stakeholders to high-level processes, etc.


*Dr Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Policy Officer
Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for consumers*
Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
Lot 5-1 Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +60 3 7726 1599

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