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an historic retreat

 

Dear Nettimers:

There is a very much bigger game afoot where issues concerning the
NTIA/ICANN etc.etc. are mere pawns on the chessboard.

The NTIA announcement has to be seen in the context of the NetMundial
meeting to be convened in Brazil at the end of April and where the NTIA
announcement pre-empted a (quite likely and more or less global) agreement
on a rather worse set of recommendations from the US’s perspective.

The key element in the NTIA/USG announcement was not the preamble but rather
the first bullet point i.e. the determination that the transfer would only
take place in a manner which would “Support and enhance the multistakeholder
model”. This should be seen in the context of the USG’s statement to the
NetMundial concerning its position on the future of Internet Governance
http://www.state.gov/e/eb/rls/prsrl/2014/221946.htmwhere
“multistakeholderism” is mentioned 12 times and “democracy” is referred to
once in passing.

So what exactly is “multistakeholderism”? Well that isn’t quite clear and no
one (least of all the US State Department) has pointed to a useful
definition.

But whatever it is a key element is that all the relevant “stakeholders”
including the major Internet corporations get to sit around promoting their
“stakes” and making Internet policy through some sort of consensus process
where all the participants have an “equal” say and where rules of things
like procedure, conflict of interest etc.etc. all seem to be made up as they
go along. Also, it is becoming clear that the various proponents of MSism
see it as a replacement for democratic processes of Internet governance
(continuously misrepresented as being completely aligned with multilateral
processes). Clearly the major Internet corporations, the US government and
their allies in the technical and civil society communities are quite
enthusiastic — getting to sit around and jointly work out things like
frameworks, principles and rules (or not) for privacy and security,
taxation, copyright etc. in an Internet enabled environment–pretty heady
stuff.  Whether the outcome in any sense is supportive of the broad public
interest and an Internet for the Common Good, well that isn’t so clear.

Mike

 

Hi Dan,

I must say, I’ve never really understood the politics around ICANN. That has
always been too arcane for me. So I don’t understand this development
either.
<…>

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