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[I-coordination] Europe at a tipping point?

Dr. Ben Fuller ben at
Mon Dec 16 20:08:53 CET 2013

The comments here are quite appropriate. The Internet is both a massive network of networks that requires rigorous technical standards to operate effectively and a phenomenon of massive socioeconomic impact that touches on many social and legal issues at global, national and local levels. These two 'realms' are distinct and at the same time connected to where they have the potential to impact each other. Each may require a different way of governing as well as strategies to get its decisions implemented. Each may require its own set of stakeholders for a multi stakeholder approach. 

As an example, the technical side might include ICANN, IETF, and similar institutions, relevant stakeholders, governments industry providers, etc.; the socioeconomic side might include civil society, user groups, regional bodies, multilateral organisations, law enforcement, governments, etc. (Anyone who has been to an ICANN meeting will see that there is -- and perhaps should be -- a lot of overlap of between the two sides.) The point is that while each works on their different areas they realise that they are working toward a similar objective (a better Internet?) 

When I look around for a template on how Internet governance might work I think about HIV and AIDS. (Transparency alert: I am the dean of a faculty of HIV and AIDS Managment at a local university). There are similarities. A medical/technical problem -- the HIV virus that brings about AIDS that leads to death from opportunistic infections. A set of massive socioeconomic impacts of the disease at global, national and local levels. Both sides pursued their own trajectories in dealing with their aspect of the issue, but they often met at the same venue, stayed aware of what the other side was doing, cooperated when needed and so forth. When looking around for a framework of how to take Internet governance forward we might learn something from the experiences of HIV. 

Any thoughts?


On Dec 16, 2013, at 4:21 PM, JFC Morfin <jefsey at> wrote:

> At 14:07 16/12/2013, Milton L Mueller wrote:
>> Neither a single national government, nor a collection of national governments, can represent the users and suppliers of internet services as well as they can represent themselves. This is a new era and involves a new form of governance.
> Dear Milton,
> I am working on a documented response to Dr. Ben Fuller and Nathalie Coupet, from an anthropologist point of view. To comment this only point: you are both right but you do not speak of the same internet. Milton, yours is a T&A internet system that is produced by operators globally applying a set of uniform rules on hardware and software. Ben's internet is a societal phenomenon experienced by the brainware designers, users and managers in their and every country.
> Milton's internet is subject to the design choices of the ARPANET project decided and politically protected by the USG against other technological strategies (including the second motivation of Vint Cerf) they could not control (other countries, private, or future). The issue today is for those exercising this control to make sure they retain it in spite of the growing technical capacity to evade that control and address Vint's second motivation (*).
> jfc
> (*) "A second motivation is to allow new networking technology to be introduced into the existing catenet while remaining functionally compatible with existing systems. This allows for the phased introduction of new and obsolescence of old networks without requiring a global simultaneous change."

Dr. Ben Fuller
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