[IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance

Emily Laidlaw emily
Mon Sep 21 17:22:57 EEST 2009

Hi everyone,

It was great meeting those of you who were able to attend our meeting
pre-EuroDig.  I am coming into this discussion late, so I will only add, at
this point, my agreement that this is a very good approach to our work.  The
concept of a matrix I agree captures well the dynamic environment we are
examining, and I think that Lisa's clarification of thinking of our
examination in terms of two focal points is very useful on a practical


On Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 1:08 AM, Bodle, Robert <Robert_Bodle at mail.msj.edu>wrote:

> Thanks Lisa,
> Very helpful - your explanation.  Reading a background SA on WSIS  (Dutton
> & Petu in Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics), this paragraph also
> helped me "get it" (relationships between the two focal points) (i sometimes
> gloss these things in my online exuberance):
> "An illustration of the value of the classification [of internet governance
> issues] is the way in which the WSIS process often artificially separated
> internet governance from development issues, rather that treating them as
> separate but interrelated fields . . . this separation created a perception
> of the summit as being technically oriented and less relevant to development
> issues. An important role for a coordinating body such as the IGF could be
> to highlight this interdependence by alerting . . .  affected stakeholders
> to the internet governance issues of intrinsic relevance to their
> development activities . . . (p. 395, 2009).
> In this sense then, the objectives of this document is to tease out the
> human rights implications of each layer.
> cheers,
> -r
> ________________________________________
> From: Lisa Horner [lisa at global-partners.co.uk]
> Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:21 AM
> To: Bodle, Robert; Max Senges; irp
> Subject: RE: [IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance
> Thanks Robert - that's really useful and interesting.
> When I was first thinking about what "layers" might be useful to think
> about in a human rights approach a couple of years ago, I did a similar
> exercise, looking at other people's conceptions and trying to pull out the
> most relevant layers and wording.
> Just FYI...Anriette, Max and I had a quick conversation in Geneva which
> really helped me to clarify the different things we're talking about and
> trying to achieve.  We realised there are 2 different focal points, similar
> I think to what Meryem was getting at with the need for some kind of matrix.
> 1) What do our human rights actually mean in the internet age and
> environment. (e.g.at the most basic level,  free expression prohibits
> online censorship; the right to association means we shouldn't be prevented
> from organising online and that we should be able to have an online identity
> etc).
> 2) How do we actually build an internet that supports these rights to the
> fullest extent....what principles do we need (e.g. net neutrality, open
> standards etc).
> Thinking about and fleshing out both of these areas is really important.
>  (1) requires human rights to be the starting point.  (2) needs us to think
> about the different "layers" or areas of governance so that we ensure all
> aspects of the internet environment support rather than undermine the
> maintenance/building of an internet that supports rights.
> We thought that the new Charter could be written in these two phases, and I
> started to sketch out what that might look like on the Google doc.  I think
> Max is doing some more work on that now.  Would be good to hear any thoughts
> people have.
> All the best,
> Lisa
> -----Original Message-----
> From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org on behalf of
> Bodle, Robert
> Sent: Thu 17/09/2009 03:59
> To: Max Senges; irp
> Subject: Re: [IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance
> Hi all,
> I tried tracking the stratification of internet and internet governance:
> attached is a table i slammed together that helps me think about the layers
> approach a bit (could be more detailed but can't fit it in the boxes).
> -r
> ________________________________________
> From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [
> irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Max Senges
> [maxsenges at gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 12:30 PM
> 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
> max
> 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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