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

Milton L Mueller mueller at
Wed Dec 18 17:06:29 CET 2013

>Yes, in 2003, when governments were still locking or throwing us out of rooms.
>They then insisted that this had to be incorporated into the IG definition if they
>were going to accept it.  It was a statist ideological misrepresentation then and
>it's even more out of touch with reality now.

Agreed. And this historical context is important. I keep insisting that the whole concept of 'roles' was simply some states' way of subverting the whole notion of direct participation in policy making by nonstate actors. If you believe in the so-called MS model, you have to push back against that now.

>Milton is right that it'd be good to revise it, but one suspects there'd be real resistance
>from G77 and China and it'd take a concerted effort with strong support from other
>governments (many of whom I suspect are actually sort of comfortable with it, even if
>they don't openly admit that to stakeholders).

I don't think it matters whether the Brazil meeting can revise the Tunis Agenda; I think it should, and could, issue its own "Sao Paulo Agenda" which gets it right. Then let the WSIS+10 and other state-centric venues react to it. And of course state-centric forces would resist such a principle, but no meaningful change occurs without resistance. I think the role of Europe here is key. If Europe - which is teetering in either direction - joins with the US, private sector, CS and technical community, and Brazil comes along too, the direction could change.

The more I think about the Brazil meeting, the more I come to the conclusion that this issue of "roles" and of who makes "policy" for the internet is THE fundamental IG issue we are grappling with and one of the two areas where progress could actually be made (the other being IANA contract). The term "multistakeholder model" implies that the Tunis Agenda is wrong on the question of roles, or it means nothing.

>Such an effort could require more trust and cooperation between stakeholders than we've
>been able to muster to date; are we collectively capable of agreeing and advancing a positive
> agenda, rather than just fetishizing differences and reacting separately to bad ideas from >governments?

I'm certainly ready to give it a try.

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