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[I-coordination] [Internet Policy] [governance] Inter-stakeholder issues in a multi-stakeholder environment

Vint Cerf vint at
Mon Dec 2 16:11:37 CET 2013

Jeremy can we link in ALAC for ICANN aspects?
On 2 Dec 2013 10:05, "Jeremy Malcolm" <jeremy at> wrote:

> Sorry for the blank reply just now (replying from my phone and my finger
> slipped). Two options are to participate through one of the existing civil
> society networks that is engaged (though as you say they are a bit
> Internet-specific), or through 1net that is hoping to become a similar but
> cross-stakeholder (if not really multi-stakeholder) dialogue.
> The second option is that there is a broader civil society steering group
> in formation that is intended to bring in otherwise unrepresented CSOs who
> have a stake in Internet issues but aren't deeply involved in Internet
> governance discussions. Its role and processes are still being worked out
> but at least include facilitating nominations of civil society participants
> to the Brazil and related processes. It would be good for PI to be linked
> in with that somehow, if not with Best Bits, IGC or 1net.
> On 2 Dec 2013, at 10:48 pm, Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion <
> alex at> wrote:
> Hello,
> I am contacting you from Privacy International (PI) based in London. Here
> is a quick introduction of Pl for those who are not familiar with our work.
> PI is committed to fighting for the right to privacy across the world.
> Working with 19 partners worldwide, we are doing research and advocacy
> activities on promoting the right to privacy and doing an analysis on the
> legal, institutional framework upholding the rights to privacy and the
> protection of personal data advocating for strong national, regional, and
> international laws that protect privacy. Additionally, we investigate the
> secret world of government surveillance and expose the companies enabling
> it. We litigate to ensure that surveillance is consistent with the rule of
> law.  We conduct research to catalyse policy change. We raise awareness
> about technologies and laws that place privacy at risk, to ensure that the
> public is informed and engaged.
> I was present in Bali at the IGF and have been following the discussions
> within this forum and others on Brazil and internet governance in general
> since. First of all, we are glad to being following the intense and
> productive discussions happening through this mailing list which we
> sincerely hope will contribute towards ensuring the multi-stakeholder
> nature of the process as well as the event as promised by Brazil but also
> those who are leading the discussions for its organisation.
> As the broad scope of the Brazil meeting, the development of internet
> governance as an issue, and the on-going international debate since the
> Snowden revelations have shown (i.e. recently passed UNGA on right to
> privacy to be voted in early December), the issue has expanded to have to
> consider the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, and the
> use of surveillance technologies or if I may say so, the abuse of
> communication mediums and technologies for surveillance purposes.
> Hence I was wondering what opportunities and space there will be for
> organisations like PI (i.e. not part of Best Bits and other internet
> governance focused groups as such) to be involved in the decision making
> process of the civil society reps for the committees but in general in the
> discussion leading up to and beyond this meeting.
> We look forward to hearing people’s thoughts and welcome suggestions.
> Best,
> Alexandrine
> *Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion*
> *Advocacy Officer*
> Privacy International
> 62 Britton Street
> London, EC1M 5UY
> United Kingdom
> E: alex at  <alex at>
> W:
> T: + 44 (0) 203 422 4321
> Skype: alexpdec.pi
> Privacy International is a registered charity (No. 1147471).
> On 27 Nov 2013, at 06:31, parminder <parminder at> wrote:
> On Tuesday 26 November 2013 03:11 AM, Milton L Mueller wrote:
> George
> Normally I would be very much in favor of shifting attention to issues and
> substantive proposals. But in the present context, that constitutes a
> diversion from the real problem at hand.
> The preparations for the Brazil conference have pushed representational
> issues to the fore. Specifically, we have an entity called 1net that has
> been given the authority to appoint half of the members of the steering
> committees for the conference,
> I dont think such an authority was ever give to 1net.... Though there
> seems to have been a strong attempt to claim it - so strong that many
> people thought they already had it . parminder
> and which has also promised that a fixed number of slots on these steering
> committees will be given to specific stakeholder groups.
> Because these steering committees will control the agenda of the
> conference, and hence will be in de facto control of our discussion of
> substantive issues at the Sao Paulo conference, it behooves even those of
> us exclusively interested in substan
> tive issues to pay attention to the composition of those committees.
> In particular, the coordinating committee of 1net itself needs to be
> settled. Get that done, and yes, we can start to focus on substantive
> issues.
> --MM
> *From:* governance-request at [
> mailto:governance-request at<governance-request at>
> ] *On Behalf Of *George Sadowsky
> *Sent:* Monday, November 25, 2013 12:38 PM
> *To:* Deirdre Williams
> *Cc:* governance at; gurstein michael; Peter Ian;
> bestbits; Akplogan Adiel A.; Swinehart Theresa;
> internetpolicy at; i-coordination at; Salanieta T.
> Tamanikaiwaimaro
> *Subject:* Re: [governance] Inter-stakeholder issues in a
> multi-stakeholder environment
> Deirdre, and all,
> Thank you, Deirdre.  I take your point that we should consider shifting
> the focus to issue-based discussions and away from stakeholder
> membership-based discussions.  That is a very good way to phrase it.
> (Note that accepting such a shift does not imply that it should replace all
> other stakeholder membership activities.)
> Where should we have these issue-based discussions?  There have been a
> number of good and provocative responses to what I wrote below, and I
> really don't know where to post them and my reactions to them.  How can we
> get these conversations started in a productive and inclusive manner?
> We now have four relevant lists that I know of, and here may well be more:
> -  the IGC list,
> -  the BestBits list,
> -  the ISOC policy list, and
> -  the new 1Net coordination list.
> Many of us subscribe to some or all of these list, and therefore see the
> same posting more than once.  I subscribe to all four of the above.
> With some trepidation, I'm going to post this message on all of the above
> lists, with the hope that we can converge on an acceptable solution.  [I
> have trimmed some early postings below that led to this point in the
> discussion.]  I myself would favor the 1net list, simply because it is new
> and meant to be all-inclusive specifically for this purpose, whereas other
> lists may be (I think) somewhat restrictive and more focused and used for
> other purposes also.
> If you respond to this, please consider trimming the response
> significantly, since the content below will have been posted to all of the
> four lists.
> IMO the question to be answered is: on which list, or using which vehicle,
> can we collect broad involvement in issue-based threads that have to do
> with aspects of Internet governance?  If we can converge on an answer, then
> we'll eliminate some redundancy and we'll have a more inclusive and more
> positive discussion of issues.  If the redundancy is felt to be useful,
> then we can keep it; it's agreement on the focal point that's important
> here.
> Comments?  Suggestions? Criticisms?
> George
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  On Nov 25, 2013, at 11:53 AM, Deirdre Williams wrote:
> I began this message 12 days ago in response to a thread started by
> Michael Gurstein
> Let's Get Real Folks--Re: [governance] Re: [bestbits] DISCLOSURE REQUEST
> Re: Funding Available for Strengthening Civil Society
> I gave up. Now I am encouraged to try again by this new thread
> Re: [governance] Inter-stakeholder issues in a multi-stakeholder
> environment
> begun by George Sadowsky.
> Is there any way to shift the focus from the people to the issues?
> In the final analysis everyone belongs to civil society. That point was
> made by a representative of a local telecommunications company at a recent
> workshop on IXPs held in Saint Lucia. As he said, his children also query
> the speed of the Internet at home when they have to do their homework. The
> only people excluded from civil society are incarcerated prisoners, and
> that also is a statement that can be questioned. If I understand him
> correctly George Sadowsky is making the same point. Civil society is us -
> all of us.
> Instead of trying to disentangle the stakeholders from one another could
> we  try to reach agreement on the aspects of the issues? If no one is
> wearing any particular hat then it should be possible to obtain a clearer
> picture of the issues that need to be discussed, and the multiple aspects
> of those issues.
> Surely at least a part of the "multistakeholder" configuration of WSIS was
> to provide a means of identifying and harnessing the different types of
> expertise available, to tackle the different aspects of the challenges
> created by the Internet and its proliferation. In hindsight the intention
> must have been partially collaboration and cooperation. Sadly the focus
> shifted to a third "c" - competition - so that instead of team-powered
> problem solving we ended up with separation and power struggles. And now on
> top of that comes betrayal and the death of trust. And the "little people"
> the "grassroots" become even further excluded from discussion of the
> interests that affect them, washed out in a wave of personalities and
> accusations.
> We do not need to let this breakdown continue. We CAN work together, we've
> done it before. Trust can be rebuilt. It is a hard slow process, but each
> of us retains threads of trust which we consider still to be viable.
> Otherwise we would not be communicating at all. Weave these threads
> together and we can build something stronger than what existed before,
> because we will be depending on one another instead of on abstract external
> factors. And together we will be able to disaggregate the issues into their
> component aspects and negotiate a point of balance among the differing
> needs of government, technicians, business and society.
> Deirdre
> On 24 November 2013 12:59, George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky at>
> wrote:
> All,
> *Please note that the opinions that follow are my own personal opinions
> and are independent of any of the organizations with which I am affiliated.*
> <<snip>>
> So with that understanding, I'd like to throw out some thoughts to see if
> any of them resonate with any of you.
> *First*, I believe that the introduction of the idea of multi-stakeholder
> approaches has had a significant negative effect between the Internet
> technical community and the community that has coalesced to represent
> classical civil society concerns.  As I recall in the 1990s, these
> communities were considerably intermingled; the promise of the Internet
> encouraged us not only to help it evolve in beneficial ways but also to
> explore how to exploit it for social and economic benefits.
> The solidification of different stakeholder groups resulting from the WSIS
> process, caused informal differences to formalize.  Issues of
> representation, power, time at the microphone, visibility on (sometimes
> competing) lists and victory in arguments on those lists grew, while
> informal discussion gradually declined.  Polarization of opinion grew as
> willingness to respect others' opinions and to agree civilly to disagree
> suffered.
> *Second*, I believe that the specific role of the Internet technical
> community as a stakeholder group for the purposes of participating in the
> MAG and in the IGF is not properly understood.  At this point in its
> evolution, the Internet is a very complex system at most levels.  In order
> to understand fully the implications of policies that have to do with
> Internet administration, operation and governance, one has have a good
> technical understand of what the effect of those policies will be at a
> detailed level.  The primary role of representatives of the Internet
> technical community, in a MAG and IGF setting, is to study and understand
> such effects and to inform those deliberating about them.  That function
> may well extend toward consideration of broader thematic areas and
> suggestions of what needs to be discussed for continued Internet health,
> either short or long term, or both.
> In the grand scheme of things, this is a moderately narrow focus, but it
> is extremely important.
> *Third*, I believe that one result of formalized multi-stakeholderism
> appears to have been to separate groups of people rather than separating
> groups of ideas.  A couple of examples illustrate the point.  To the extent
> that the Internet technical community does its work in guiding the MAG well
> to enhance Internet evolution, I believe that involved representatives of
> civil society benefit and should encourage their participation.
>  Conversely, representatives of the Internet technical community are
> people, and many are very likely to have beliefs that are quite consistent
> with the positions espoused by those same civil society representatives.
> The multi-stakeholder approach, however, seems to create a silo effect that
> minimizes or even denies the overlap of commonality of interest regarding
> issues by separating people into different silos.  So instead of
> recognizing positive overlap of beliefs, the approach encourages a focus on
> inter-stakeholder group separation.
> *Fourth*, I'd like to propose a reconceptualization of the term "civil
> society."  In the multi-stakeholder instantiation that is now employed by
> the UN/MAG/IGF axis , it refers to groups if individuals, some representing
> organizations of various sizes that agree to various extents regarding the
> importance of individual rights of various kinds.  These groups represent
> civil society goals and are therefore grouped as "civil society" to
> populate that stakeholder group.  And although the goals of that group are
> generally quite positive, their actions are often based upon pushing back
> against other stakeholder groups, most notably government but also others.
>  Perhaps that reflects the reality of the tension between groups, but that
> tension is not moderated, as it might sometimes be, by people bridging
> groups instead of being siloed.
> An alternate way to define civil society is to start with all people in
> the world and remove government involvement, the private sector
> involvement, and perhaps other large institutional influences.  To borrow a
> phrase from Apple, what is left is "the rest of us," and it contains
> fractions, generally large fractions of most of us as individuals.
> Most individuals have interests in more than one sector or stakeholder
> group.  We have interactions with government and may work for it.
>  Alternatively we may work for a private or other public sector
> organization.  Almost all of us are increasingly users of the internet.
>  Using this approach, perhaps an aggregate of 5 billion of us constitute
> "civil society," as opposed to the people who are now labeled as being in
> the civil society stakeholder group.   If we are all civil society in large
> parts of our lives, then we all have some claim to represent our views as
> we live.  Thus, a representative of Internet technology on the MAG is
> likely to, and has a right to opine on issues in the larger space, just as
> self-defined representatives of civil society positions have a right to do.
>  This illustrates again how the various stakeholder groups, or silos, are
> really quite intertwined, making the siloed and often competitive
> relationships between them at a formal level quite unrepresentative of the
> underlying reality,
> *I conclude* that the multi-stakeholder approach that is accepted to be
> an approach to bring us together, has not insignificant negative
> externalities that serve to keep us apart.  We need to assess the
> multi-stakeholder approach with that in mind  If it is retained as an
> organizing principle, we need to recognize and understand those negative
> effects so that we can minimize them and can exploit the positive aspects
> of that approach.
> This is a much longer note than I ordinarily write, but it has helped me
> to understand some of the roots of the often unnecessarily antagonistic
> relationship between proponents of issues important to civil society and
> technical community experts guiding the evolution of the Internet.  Thank
> you for taking the time to read it.  I realize that what I have written,
> and any discussion of it, is considerably more nuanced than what I have
> presented above.  However, I have tried to present the core of some ideas
> that I think may be useful.  The more nuanced discussion can and will come
> later.
> Your comments are welcome.
> George
> <<trimmed>>
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