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[I-coordination] Europe at a tipping point?

michael gurstein gurstein at
Tue Dec 17 01:21:36 CET 2013





-----Original Message-----
From: Milton L Mueller [mailto:mueller at] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:42 AM
To: michael gurstein; 'Dr. Ben Fuller'; i-coordination at
Subject: RE: [I-coordination] Europe at a tipping point?



> Governments don't have an expert knowledge of most of the systems or 

> areas that they regulate in support of the public interest...


As someone who actually has studied regulation, I would suggest that when
governments don't have expert knowledge they are inherently incapable of
implementing regulations that protect public interest; their rules and
decisions will invariably reflect lobbyist interests who feed them the
information they need to make decisions.


[MG>] whether that is true or not (and the significance of your observation
may depend on what meaning you are giving to the term "lobbyist"), the issue
is a real one where countries are compelled to make
interventions/regulations in the absence of expert knowledge (a rather
strong argument BTW for some sort of global mechanism through which
governments collectively can undertake whatever might be required and which
would be in a position to tap into the best available expertise on all of
these issues...


Generally, I am skeptical of the idea that you can control something without
understanding how it works. Surely general principles of law can be applied,
but their application to specific matters of fact requires expertise, which
is why courts often rely on expert witnesses. 


[MG>] I agree, see the above and as I pointed out for the most part
governments are expected only to deal with the general principles--but and
it is a big but, with the devil being in the details the Namibia's of the
world can't be expected to rely on expertise from the dozen or so (developed
countries/developing country companies) where the relevant expertise resides
but which have little or no understanding or sensitivity towards the
specific conditions/needs in those jurisdictions.


>My guess is that the government of Namibia doesn't have an expert 

>knowledge of the Internet. That doesn't/shouldn't prevent them from


I'll just let that statement stand there naked for a while, shivering.


[MG>] And I would stand by that statement as presented That
doesn't/shouldn't prevent them from intervening to ensure that the interests
of the Namibian people are maintained as the Internet is deployed and used
as a fundamental infrastructure for their interaction with themselves and
with the world.


As I asked originally, .Would you have them rely blindly on the good offices
of whoever to ensure the best interests of the people Namibia. foolish and
irresponsible if they did so.


>Are you seriously suggesting that Namibia (and all the other 

>"Namibia's" in the world) should leave it to the "technical community" 

>where Namibia is


Here is what I suggested: 

"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." 

Where do you read "leave it to the technical community" in there? 


[MG>] But in many parts of the world, the "users" currently are few and the
"suppliers" are non-local while the potential beneficiaries are many and
very local and someone or something needs to be able to represent them and
their interests and concerns.


Your proposal, however, is clearly "leave it to government" - to the
exclusion of all the others, who you've dismissed: 


[MG>] No, not leave it to government exclusively but they certainly need to
be in the mix particularly in the absence of effective/knowledgeable
representation from other stakeholders and again as representing the broader
public interest rather than the narrower and more self-interested position
of the various existing "stakeholder" groups.


>scarcely represented if at all; or to the "private sector" where in the 

>Internet sphere Nambian enterprises have, I would guess little or no 

>significant role; or to the self-identified Internet Governance 

>associated civil society where Namibia is equally unrepresented; to 

>ensure that the best interests of Nambians now and in the future will be





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