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

Klaus Stoll kdrstoll at
Wed Dec 18 10:57:01 CET 2013

Dear Friends

Greetings and I must say I enjoy this exchange. Please allow me to bring 
in another line of thought that might be useful or not at this point.

The character of the Internet as a shared human commons is unique. On 
the one hand it is a shared environment; on the other hand it is based 
on a physical infrastructure and has limited resources that have owners 
with their specific investments and interests. The Internet Ecosystem, 
by its very nature, does not care too much about physical boundaries. 
This is the fundamental reason why countries, whose authority is based 
on territory and the concept of sovereignty, struggle to find their 
place in a digital world. The uncontrolled free flow of data, together 
with the ongoing speed of innovation, seems to be irreconcilable with 
the concepts of national territory and sovereign rights.

Similar to nation states, many of those organizations and individuals 
involved in the Internet Ecosystem and its governance, commonly known as 
the stakeholders, claim "sole-sovereignty" or self-proclaimed 
sovereignty over specific issues, roles and functions. The stability and 
security of the DNS, telecommunication standards, security and human 
rights, to name just some, are well defined "subject-territories" in the 
Internet Ecosystem. Cyberspace today requires a new understanding of 
sovereignty. Sovereignty in the context of Internet Governance is 
fundamentally different from the traditional understanding of 
sovereignty as it is not based on geographical territories and treaties 
but on the ability of a stakeholder or a group of stakeholders in 
Cyberspace to have specific expertise and/or infrastructure that is 
relevant to the Internet Ecosystem and to have the capacity to manage 
the decision-making and implementation processes in a timely and 
effective way. Nobody should interfere in the specific sovereignty and 
governance of nation states. Equally it is the sole role, responsibility 
and privilege of all Internet Ecosystem stakeholders to exercise their 
sovereignty. These gaps can be bridged and turned into a constructive 
force when all those exercising sovereignty in Cyberspace recognize that 
their own legitimacy, development and sustainability is dependent on a) 
the availability of suitable instruments for internal and external 
awareness-building, knowledge exchange and processing; b) the 
establishment of a new understanding of multi-stakeholderism that is 
based on inter-sovereignty collaboration and joint implementation.

It simply makes sense, business sense, development sense, common sense 
and so on, as it is taking the concept of creating win/win situations 
seriously. The successful execution of someone elses sovereignty becomes 
vital for my own interest. The gain that specific IG stakeholders will 
experience is ultimately the reason why they will accept and participate 
in joint implementations, as it is in their own interest. Sovereignty 
based multi-stakeholderim in Internet Governance could be a key factor 
for economic development. The real reformation in IG will come from no 
longer perceiving sovereignties as competing entities but as 
implementation partners that are vital to ensure my own specific needs 
and interests.

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