[IRP] [governance] Declaration of Internet Freedom

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy
Wed Jul 11 11:37:57 EEST 2012

On 10/07/2012, at 7:41 PM, Brett Solomon wrote:

> No one person or group 'owns' the internet, should determine how it is governed, or has the mandate to create the set of internet principles. Instead a willingness to enter into conversations, to understand what came before and improve from one's own starting point should be a defining factor with which to judge initiatives. In the context of principles, I am of the opinion that we should not only allow, but encourage a thousand connected flowers to bloom. And that is exactly what is happening, in many different and varied forums (the compiled list is a great resource - thanks Jeremy for putting this together). Seeing how some of those initiatives may converge and support each other I think is the next step. 

I broadly agree, however there are some purposes for which a half-dozen statements or declarations are not as useful as one.  In particular this applies to talking with policy-makers.  Their attention spans are limited, and they will read one (short) document, but won't read six.  Actually, you've said the same thing yourself about the original IRP charter.

At last year's IGC meeting at the IGF there was broad agreement that we should develop a short statement on Internet governance principles for the following year's meeting, on which we would consult with broader civil society, and to advocate for the IGF to use this, together with the various governmental and intergovernmental principles documents, as inputs into the development of a multi-stakeholder set of principles perhaps for the 2013 meeting.  All the other civil society statements of rights and principles would be inputs into the development of such a civil society statements for presentation at the IGF, but it wouldn't be useful to try to present all half-dozen of them there.

An alternative to drafting something new for the IGF would be to choose one of the existing documents and table that, but I don't think that as they stand, either the Internet Declaration or the punchy IRP principles (for example) have the same emphasis on Internet governance processes that I thought would be contained in the IGC's statement (Wolfgang, who is leading that process, will correct me if I'm wrong).  A third alternative is to work with you and the other groups on improving the Internet Declaration, and maybe folding the IGC effort into it, so that it would be suitable for us to rally around at the IGF and in engaging with policy-makers in other fora.

As you know (but some won't) this is one of the options that could be discussed in a planned side-meeting and teleconference at the Asia-Pacific Regional IGF.  There will be other online and offline opportunities between now and WCIT to continue and broaden the conversation.  More on this below.

> To my mind, there are certainly things that are missing from the Declaration. For example, whilst all of the principles are rights based (hence why Amnesty International and we signed on) the words 'human rights' are not mentioned. It does not include some of the elements of the 10 Internet Rights and Principles. 'Life, liberty and security' for example is missing. It also does not recognize properly the principles and documents that have come before, including WSIS commitments. In its defense it says "We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for." There is some momentum towards addressing these concerns (including putting or referencing other initiatives in the Preamble) and I with others have been pushing for this.

Your explanation of the process has been very helpful; in this light I think that the main mistake that the drafters made was just failing to clearly say "this is draft number zero".  It was announced with maybe a bit too much fanfare for a draft zero, but then again everything Access does comes with a lot of fanfare. ;-)  (Seriously though, I say that with much admiration.  The way you guys rally people is amazing.  It would be impossible for many of the more established NGOs to get as many sign-ons in such short a time as you have.)

> Getting buy in, let alone consensus as we all know can be a total nightmare. It can lead to paralysis, but I think its worth trying. I also want to note, that many groups haven't ever heard of the IGC, the IRP Dynamic Coalition or Enhanced Cooperation - why would they have? We need to engage more people (particularly Americans?) in the WSIS process, to understand the commitments and to take the IGF process forward (incidentally I dont think we need a new IGF or otherwise). One last point on this - with so many active and informed individuals on this list, some of the conversations can be pretty overwhelming/intimidating, so its hard to invite new people here. 
> I was also thinking that the IGF might be the right time to try to bring the stakeholders together. A quo vardis meeting (let's not call it that!) or IRP meeting would make sense. I would love to be part of that. I also think that there is lots of room for cross pollination before then and look forward to discussions online ahead of a face to face meeting. Sam's suggestions of curation and coordination should be encouraged.

Yes, apart from what APC and ISOC have planned, there is support for another "big tent" meeting between now and WCIT (and probably before the IGF, but not in Azerbaijan) that will bring IGF/WSIS/development people and US/digital rights/technical community people together.  I'm in discussions about this with some supporters and that's part of what we'll talk about in the APrIGF meeting and call.

Dr Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Policy Officer
Consumers International
Kuala Lumpur Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
Lot 5-1 Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 7726 1599

Follow @ConsumersInt

Like us at www.facebook.com/consumersinternational

Read our email confidentiality notice. Don't print this email unless necessary.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org/pipermail/irp-internetrightsandprinciples.org/attachments/20120711/4e36741e/attachment.htm>

More information about the IRP mailing list