[IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance

Lisa Horner lisa
Tue Sep 15 17:44:31 EEST 2009

Hi all
I think it would be useful to structure the charter on human rights and principles according to different "layers" of the communciations environment.  The ones I personally findmost useful are infrastructure, code, applications and content.  Structuring rights and principles in these layers might help us to identify all of the issues and challenges involved, and make sure we catch them all.  (nb we did something like this int he freedom of expression project - see http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/public+interest+principles+for+the+networked+communications+environment for more).  
I think it'd make sense to outline the key UDHR rights in the preamble, and then flesh them out as rights and principles in the rest of the doc, split into layers.
The point was raised in the meeting on sunday that using the language of "commons" might be confusing...it's a fairly complex concept, and is best known in terms of the "information commons".
However, there wasn't clear consensus on this in the meeting.  So we agreed to try and structure the doc according to human rights rather than layers, which makes sense if we're translating human rights to apply in the internet environment.  I commented that I thought this would be difficult as it would be repetitive,,,,many of the rights apply to different issues at different layers.  
However, tt's difficult to talk about this in the abstract,  We agreed that a good place to start with this might be to look at the rights and principles currently contained in the charter and look for gaps, things to be taken out and ammendments.  Once we've done that, a clear structure might emerge, or we could do both and see what works best......
If anyone has any opinions on this, let the list know.  Then coordinators can send out a mail with a clear list of next steps for people to contribute to....
All the best,


From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org on behalf of Max Senges
Sent: Mon 14/09/2009 17:30
To: irp
Subject: [IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance

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 communications 
infrastructure. It has a physical layer (e.g. the internet backbone, radio spectrum, 
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 by 
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 exclusion 
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 sharing, 
citizens' journalism: there are many different labels and tools. There is an ongoing 
tug of war between developers, markets, people and cultures of use. 
What about people who do not have access? Is the global communications infra- 
structure a public good to which all people should have access? 
APC believes the answer is "yes". People who live in poverty, who are socially, 
economically and politically disempowered, deserve access to means that will enable 
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 infrastructure 
is the public participation or social justice component. In a real sense it can facilitate 
transparency and accountability, participatory policy formulation and implementation, 
mobilisation, solidarity and protest. This does not happen because of the existence 
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 
	www.maxsenges.com <http://www.maxsenges.com/>  
	www.knowledgeentrepreneur.com <http://www.knowledgeentrepreneur.com/>  

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