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

Nick Ashton-Hart nashton at
Wed Dec 18 08:17:57 CET 2013

I think to get anywhere with this you have to differentiate two things as they require different approaches:

1) The network that is a platform for data;
2) The data the network carries.

The former being that set of services, standards, and parties that are part of ensuring any point a can reach any point b, and which are integral to ensuring the point b reached is the real one (such as DNSSec).

The latter being everything else - the services and data that the network carries.

Right now, policymakers are conflating the two together and, for example, making rules designed to affect content but which distort or affect the network that carries it. 

We all need to rely upon the platform and I think there’s a shared need to ensure it serves the largest number with the best performance at the lowest cost.

The ‘governance’ or policy issues are therefore different for the two.

My 0.02

On 18 Dec 2013, at 05:33, Milton L Mueller <mueller at> 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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