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[I-coordination] New: How do we dissect Internet governance? [Was: Europe at a tipping point?]

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at
Wed Dec 18 06:00:06 CET 2013

Milton, and all,

Thanks for this.  I do want to comment on your last point, though.  I am on the Board of ICANN and I did vote, in Singapore in June 2011, against the commencement of the new gTLD program.  But it was not quite for the reason that you say.  In a long and detailed intervention (available in transcript and video form), I said that I was for new gTLDs but that we were not ready to launch; too many processes were not thought through, and there was still a major disagreement regarding the extent of IPR rights and processes to protect them..  

There was a second reason regarding the marginal inclusion of a program to assist people in developing countries to get new TLDs that I believed was naive, badly constructed, top down, and contrary to realizing effective development goals for those countries.  We have since worked through these issues, but l interpret that the history since then, on both points, supports my vote. 

The major reason that I was for new gTLDs was to allow non-Ascii strings to enter into the root to serve huge populations that use languages written in other scripts.  I believe that these global IDNs will be the major positive result of this first round of new gTLDs.  So I don't think that my vote with regard to this event is relevant in the issue of separation of technical management and public policy.

However, I do admit that there is some crossover in other areas that ICANN is concerned with, such as issues of singular vs. plural names and exclusive use names.

Suppose for the moment that we regard DNS as just an application layer protocol, which it is, and consider the technical administration of the Internet as consisting or protocol parameters and IP addresses, i.e. below the applications layer  You are correct in that Brian's rider is a normative statement, i.e. it gives his opinion of the way things should be, and that statement won't stand in the way of any government that can violate it in a manner that you suggest.  

But aren't we in the business here of defining such a normative model for Internet governance, and shouldn't one of the pieces of that model be the separation of a class of technical administrative issues from (for example) "societal concerns?"   I don't see the value, or even the correctness, of dismissing proposed normative statements by saying that the proposers have their head in the sand.



On Dec 17, 2013, at 11:33 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

> >Does anyone resonate to Ben Fuller's attempt to separate some of the components of INternet >governance:
> > 
> >1. Technical
> >2. Community centered
> >3. Cross cutting
> > 
> >Or Brian Carpenter's recent proposed rider:
> > 
> >Internet governance does not concern the administration of
> >technical parameters of the Internet that affect its inner
> >workings rather than way it is used by society.
> With all due respect, neither of these constructs gets us any traction on any of the important issues.
> Brian’s “rider” is a proposition that is patently false. Many governments have tried, and some have succeeded, in affecting “the way the internet is used by society” by regulating, influencing or controlling the administration of technical parameters. George – you mentioned “common sense and thinking” – well, think about it commonsensically for two seconds. If a government decides to order the ISPs in its jurisdiction to block access to specific IP addresses, or specific domains, so that users cannot gain access to forbidden content hosted on those IP addresses/domains, then it is regulating use by intervening in the “administration of technical parameters…that affect the Internet’s inner workings.” If a government goes further and seizes control of the allocation and assignment of IP addresses (e.g., licensing them the way radio spectrum bands are licensed or as printing presses used to be licensed), then the two are linked even closer. There are many other possible examples.
> I am not _advocating_  that governments or others do this, I am simply telling you that it is a fact that they can and sometimes do. We probably agree that it would be a very bad thing if they did. But Brian and certain others seem to be incapable of making the distinction between what really happens in the world and what they would prefer to see happen. It seems that their purpose in introducing the artificial distinction between “use by society” and “administration of technical parameters” is the vain hope that by verbally separating these two things that somehow interventions designed to control the internet will magically disappear. Got news for ya: they won’t. You are just proposing to bury your head in the sand.  
> >Can we effectively separate out those functions that deal completely with Internet technical >operation and administration, or not?  
> No.
> >If not, why not?  In the latter case, examples would really >be helpful to understand that
> >point of view.
> You’ve already been given several examples. Radio spectrum licensing was one. Domain names and trademarks mandatory dispute resolution policies were another. Please stop ignoring them.
> Here is another. George Sadowsky voted against ICANN’s addition of new top level domains. He believed, sincerely I think, that the addition of new unique character strings to the root zone (a matter of technical management) would result in internet uses that are not in the public interest (a public policy judgment). In other words, he linked technical administration and use regulation. When he did that, he was refuting the arguments made here more effectively than anything I can add.
> --MM

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