[IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance

Max Senges maxsenges
Mon Sep 14 19:30:50 EEST 2009

Dear all

One of the interesting and constructive debates in our workshop yesterday
was about how to stratify our struggle for human rights and principles on
the internet.

Anriette has pointed me to the APC 2006 anual report where she distinguishes
between: a physical layer, a protocols infrastructure layer, and an
interactional or relational layer.

As you know Lisa and myself have proposed for very similar layers/commons
(infrastructure, services (everybody who runs a website or service), social
= netiquette, and of course Access as an extremely important goal, but
politically different animal).

The structuring of our discourse around rights is the most natural, but as I
have argued before: I believe that it is more strategic to address existing
communities (the infrastructure people, the services, and the users) rather
than gather around our rights flag.

I copy Anriette's text below.

Looking forward to your comments and especially edits either to the google
doc (i tried to make it editable for everyone but it should definitly work
through the invitation i sent to the list) or in the
http://irc.wiki.apc.org/ (where you need to register)

hasta pronto

*Why is information and communications infrastructure
so fundamental to development and social change? *
I believe the answer lies in the layered nature of information and
infrastructure. It has a physical layer (e.g. the internet backbone, radio
computers), a protocol or logical layer (e.g. open standards to ensure all
sectors of
the internet ?talk? to each other), and content and applications.
Yet one can also argue that there is another layer, one which is constituted
the social processes that are facilitated by the infrastructure. It can be
termed the
?interactional? or ?relational? layer of ICT infrastructure. I like to think
of this layer
as having two primary components.
First, it is where the narratives of globalisation, diversity, inclusion and
are located. ICT expansion has positive and negative consequences.
E-governance and
reliance on the internet for access to information can increase exclusion
and contribute
to the formation of new elites. New applications and services emerge every
day, but
usually require access to credit cards and bank accounts.
But it is also in this layer where people, individually and in groups,
appropriate the
infrastructure and claim space for protest, self-expression, sharing and
learning. It is a
kind of macro-microcosm. Blogging, podcasting, social bookmarking, photo
citizens? journalism: there are many different labels and tools. There is an
tug of war between developers, markets, people and cultures of use.
What about people who do not have access? Is the global communications
structure a public good to which all people should have access?
APC believes the answer is ?yes?. People who live in poverty, who are
economically and politically disempowered, deserve access to means that will
them to speak, to be heard, to use online services and to participate in
decisions that
impact on their lives.
The second component of the interactional or relational layer of this
is the public participation or social justice component. In a real sense it
can facilitate
transparency and accountability, participatory policy formulation and
mobilisation, solidarity and protest. This does not happen because of the
of the internet. It happens because people, communities and organisations
use the
internet to organise and/or obtain the information they need to improve
their lives.


*""Progress is the realization of Utopia"*
  .   .   .   .  .   .   . . . . Oscar Wilde

Dr. Max Senges


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