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

Evan Leibovitch evan at
Tue Dec 3 03:52:54 CET 2013

Hi there.

There are certainly a substantial overlap between At-Large and ISOC.

How would you like to engage? I'm happy to help as a conduit.

On Dec 2, 2013 10:12 AM, "Vint Cerf" <vint at> wrote:

> 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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