[IRPCoalition] IRPC Submission to the Net Mundial Meeting

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Thu Mar 6 14:41:37 EET 2014


>One could: that is just a simple footnote (but i note below you feel
> these are well understood, so i guess that is not your main focus).
> The concept of social justice was perhaps framed in a US context
> most eloquently by Roosevelt i think as referring to: freedom from
> want, freedom from fear ......

Rooseveltian rhetoric is fine, it's great to say that everyone should be free from fear and want, who could disagree? But how about giving me the footnote? Nothias tells me that it is something completely different, rooted in classical political economy, but those guys were talking about distributive justice ad never used the term 'social justice.' I'd also like to know what's wrong with the word "justice" - that seems pretty important to me.
I like this, but doesn't it overlap a bit with #1 and #2, and isn't it clearly better than #2 because it avoids undefined and divisive language about social justice?
> .... you'll find this in the same documents that reference
> the concepts in 1-5: the universal declaration of human rights.
> I sense a philosphical objection to "social justice" :)

And that means you don't have to deal with it? Is that what you are saying?
By the way UDHR does not contain the words 'social justice.'
8) Network Equality
Everyone shall have universal and open access to the Internet's content, free from discriminatory prioritisation, filtering or traffic control on commercial, political or other grounds.
This one is garbled, and it overreaches, and thereby sets itself up for rejection. It is not about "network equality" it is either about network neutrality or the right of network users to be treated equally (except that no one really wants to treat all network users equally). Not all content on the internet is open, some of it you have to pay for and some of it is shielded because you don't have authorization to access it (e.g., my bank account). Is that a violation of this principle? What is "the Internet's content"? "Discriminatory prioritization...on commercial, political or other grounds" might be interpreted to mean that network operators or end users could not discriminate against traffic tagged as spam, malware or viruses.
I notice there is not even an attempt to defend this one.
9) Standards and Regulation
The Internet's architecture, communication systems, and document and data formats shall be based on open standards that ensure complete interoperability, inclusion and equal opportunity for all.
"Complete interoperability" tips me off that whoever wrote this hasn't worked with standards and standardization much. Are you saying that innovative protocols or services that don't always work well with others are to be banned? How about IPv6, for example?
Again, no answer to these objections. The question about IPv6, which is incompatible with many applications and even with IPv4, demands an answer.
What a mess. I simply don't believe that this principle, especially the invocation of "multilateral" governance, has widespread consensus. I still don't know what social justice means, but I do know how some people use the term as a code word for coercive redistributions of wealth.
> Ah - again, I sense a philosophical objection to social justice
> - well that is your prerogative of course.

OK, I understand you don't want to engage with legitimate disagreement on that issue, but I want to know why you are invoking "multilateral" governance? That is a very loaded term in this environment. It can be defended, of course, but I suspect that there are lots of people other than me who don't want to see that in there, or who will see its inclusion as a red line that will lead to the rejection of the whole package.

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