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[I-coordination] Europe at a tipping point?

michael gurstein gurstein at
Tue Dec 17 00:51:48 CET 2013

Well said Ben.

One difference though may be a difference in the sense of urgency impelling
both sides towards some resolution.  In the Internet sphere there is a
strong sense on the "technical" side that "if it ain't broke don't fix it"
and this leads to a strong "status quo" position, mitigated somewhat now
with what has been learned through Snowden about how the Internet may in
fact be "broken" in some significant ways.

On the other, "socioeconomic" side, the recognition of the need for some
sort of intervention to respond to some emerging and other imbalances is
only slowly emerging.


-----Original Message-----
From: i-coordination-bounces at [mailto:i-coordination-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Dr. Ben Fuller
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 2:09 AM
To: i-coordination at
Subject: Re: [I-coordination] Europe at a tipping point?

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

Dr. Ben Fuller
+264-61-224470  (O)    +264-88-63-68-05 (F)
ben at   
skype: drbenfuller

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