[IRPCoalition] [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Oct 22 07:06:25 EEST 2014

On Tuesday 21 October 2014 09:28 PM, Anne Jellema wrote:
> Thank you, Parminder for the thoughtful criticisms. We're aware that 
> different parts of civil society have well-founded reasons for holding 
> different opinions on the role of the ITU, and we fully respect these. 
> I was very pleased to see that JustNet has expressed its point of view 
> in its own proposals for the Plenipot, which I found interesting and 
> valuable.
> In that spirit, I would like to respond to a couple of your criticisms 
> of our statement that I think don't reflect an entirely accurate 
> reading of its content:
> - I think your claim that we are advocating unregulated free markets 
> is unfair, since we state twice: "Each country should retain 
> individual authority to regulate IP interconnection rates where 
> necessary and advisable in order to ensure universal service and 
> promote robust competition." The drafters include organisations that 
> have been on the forefront of the fight for stronger net neutrality 
> regulation at national and regional (EU) level.
> - I don't agree that our statement fails to identify who should take 
> responsibility for resolving key IG challenges; proposes the 
> "withdrawal of all internet policy related agenda from the global 
> governance stage"; or fails to acknowledge any important role for the 
> ITU. We repeatedly stress the need for coordination and collaboration 
> among UN agencies (including the ITU) and multistakeholder bodies; and 
> refer several times to what we think are the ITU's critical roles in 
> addressing the huge challenges ahead.
> That said, we agree that the reference to "ITU mission creep" was 
> poorly judged, and the entire para should be deleted as proposed by 
> Jeanette.

> I sincerely hope that a respectful and informed exchange of views can 
> continue among CSOs, along with the equally important effort to find 
> the common ground between differing positions.

Dear Anne

Thanks for your response and engagement. I mean to further engage on 
this discussion. But my present email will only make one point, about 
the mutual respectfulness  of any discussion, which your email mentions. 
I am not saying that you meant it in that manner, but I do often find a 
hyper sensitivity to political criticism in these circles and 
personalisation of it, here I mean personalisation in receiving 
political criticism. We must recognise that civil society work is a work 
of strong conviction and submersion in that conviction... People have a 
vision of the world they'd like to see, and there are forces that block 
the realisation of that vision. Obviously therefore, for anyone who 
really cares, the feelings involved are strong... And I mean, on all 
sides of what could become a political divide. And such a political 
divide is as possible, even likely, in the civil society space, as in 
the conventional political space. However, for instance in India, which 
has a rather high level of professional in traditional political space, 
at least at the national level, political personalities are able to be 
scathing and unsparing in terms of their political positions and counter 
positions without it being taken as being inappropriately uncivil or any 
such thing.

I probably should  not be so defensive, but I say all this because many 
people here are simply too touchy. (I know that you come from a core 
political civil society background, and so I an really not talking about 
you.) I also say it because I and people that I work with feel that the 
present position that is being proposed on the BestBits platform a major 
political statement that we find extremely problematic and something 
that sets a solid tone for a neoliberal paradigm for the emerging 
Internet-mediated society. In that respect its impact on the world, 
especially in terms of democracy, equity and social justice is going to 
be far reaching, and these are the corner stone canons of our work.  And 
therefore we will strongly contest it, with all means at our disposal.

I will separately respond to some substantive points in your above email.

best regards

> Best
> Anne
> On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM, Richard Hill <rhill at hill-a.ch 
> <mailto:rhill at hill-a.ch>> wrote:
>     I fully agree with Parminder's analysis and strongly support his
>     comments.
>     Best,
>     Richard
>         -----Original Message-----
>         *From:* Forum [mailto:forum-bounces at justnetcoalition.org
>         <mailto:forum-bounces at justnetcoalition.org>]*On Behalf Of
>         *parminder
>         *Sent:* mardi, 21. octobre 2014 12:47
>         *To:* bestbits at lists.bestbits.net
>         <mailto:bestbits at lists.bestbits.net>;
>         governance at lists.igcaucus.org
>         <mailto:governance at lists.igcaucus.org>;
>         forum at justnetcoalition.org
>         <mailto:forum at justnetcoalition.org>; IRP
>         *Subject:* Re: [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24
>         hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations
>         I have not had the chance to go into the long statement in
>         detail. However, what I see as its main refrain is bothersome.
>         It says yes there are many very important global Internet
>         policy issues, and then says that the ITU should not take them
>         up, but tells us nothing about who should take them up. This
>         becomes a recipe for, or at least, towards a political
>         governance free world, the kind one nowadays read about
>         frequently in the documents of the World Economic Forum (read
>         for instance its Global Redesign Initiative).
>         I am agnostic about whether ITU takes up at least some
>         important Internet policy issues at the global level or some
>         other democratic global body takes them up. However, it is not
>         tenable that they be just left hanging out there, which only
>         allows those who have the greatest default power on the
>         Internet, mostly the US based economic and political
>         establishment, to carry on consolidating their power. This
>         statement for me is simply an expression of support for the
>         Internet power status quo, and therefore I strongly oppose it.
>         To take a few examples (a more detailed critique will follow);
>         Perhaps the most disturbing part of the statement, from
>         developing countries viewpoint, is tha which sanctifies
>         unregulated global market models for global Internet
>         inter-connectivity.... This is a major reversal from the stand
>         of all developing countries and all progressive civil society
>         at the WSIS, where unfair global interconnection regimes was
>         one of the main 'development issues'. This statement seems to
>         close that issue by declaring that such things be best left to
>         free markets, with no regulatory framework, or even a
>         normative/ principles framework. In any case, it is not clear
>         how even working on the interconnection issue, an express
>         mandate for ITU from the WSIS is a 'mission creep' for the
>         ITU. It appears that there is not one thing that ITU can do in
>         2014 which will not be called a mission creep. In the
>         circumstances one thinks that the proponents of the statement
>         should be bold and just ask for the closing down of the ITU.
>         Further, the statement says that the ITU should not work
>         towards a treaty on cyber- security, an issue that has shaken
>         the world post Snowden. Just today I read an interview with
>         Snowden's colleague Laura Poitras about how  little has really
>         changed on the ground as far as mass surveillance by the five
>         eyes is concerned. What other than a treaty that reigns in the
>         conduct of the states in this regard can be a solution? Or
>         have we simply given up and are ready to allow the powerful to
>         do what they may? Alternatively, is there any other solution
>         being thought of? Civil society must answer these questions.
>         The statement seems to suggest that the first committee of the
>         UN Gen Assembly should keep doing the work on cyber security.
>         That is quite surprising becuase by all means, the first
>         committee’s work is much less participative (of other
>         stakeholders) than even of the ITU. So, what is the rationale
>         here, other than just to say ITU should not do it (we will see
>         when we have to stop even the first committee from doing it,
>         but right now the imperative is.... ). I am fine with the
>         first committee doing it, but remember that any effort towards
>         a cyber security treaty will require the expertise of ITU
>         which is the agency that has hitherto dealt with this issue.
>         Such an simply obstructionist attitude to global governance
>         bespeaks of a movement towards a very unequal, unfair and
>         unjust world. Progressive civil society must take note rather
>         than blindly signing on this rather dangerous statement.
>         The statement says, we should not begin working on a cyber
>         security treaty because there is no consensus on basic
>         concepts and principles in the area.... Is there a greater
>         consensus on the area of climate change, and so many other
>         areas. Do we just give up in these areas? if not, why in the
>         area of Internet governance? Consensus on concepts and
>         principles emerge as a part of a process towards development
>         of global principles and agreements and not a as a pre
>         condition of them. This is universally known. One can
>         understand why US wants to protect the status quo, but why
>         civil society?
>         Again, this is simply a statement for maintaining the Internet
>         power status quo... Dont do it at the ITU, but we wont tell
>         you where to do either.... Supporting this statement in my
>         view will simply be to support the global Internet status quo....
>         Yes, we need to reform the ITU, but seeking simple withdrawal
>         of all Internet policy related agenda from global governance
>         stage is very problematic. As this agenda is withdrawn from
>         the global stage, the dominant political and economic forces
>         get a free reign, and the little policy that needs to be made
>         is made at plurilateral forums like the OECD, or the
>         Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP (seefor instance, just the
>         day before's news, http://infojustice.org/archives/33428, on
>         how TPP seeks to regulate global IP TV transmissions).
>         Such statements as this one simply clear the way for such rule
>         of the economically and politically powerful...
>         parminder
>         On Tuesday 21 October 2014 02:08 AM, Anne Jellema wrote:
>>         Dear colleagues
>>         As you know, a fluid working group was formed after the IGF
>>         to try to come up with joint recommendations for the ITU
>>         Plenipot. We produced the open letter on transparency and
>>         participation in the Plenipot process itself, which many of
>>         you signed (thank you!). Our second and harder task was to
>>         develop positions on some of the most important substantive
>>         issues before the conference. The output of this second phase
>>         of our work is a 7 page lobby document that is now available
>>         for endorsement for the next 24 hours at:
>>         http://bestbits.net/itu-plenipot-notes
>>         The fluid working group struggled to obtain the conference
>>         proposals on which to base our analysis and recommendations,
>>         both because of the ITU's restrictions on document access and
>>         because many Member States submitted their proposals quite
>>         late in the day. As a result, our drafting process has taken
>>         us hard up against the start of the Plenipot itself.
>>         It is now very urgent to get this text in front of
>>         delegations, so we are opening it for endorsements rather
>>         than comment. If however someone has a red flag, "absolutely
>>         can't live with it" issue that prevents them from signing on,
>>         they should email me personally in the next 24 hours to
>>         propose an edit(s) to resolve this issue, and I will consult
>>         the other members of the ITU fluid working group on whether
>>         to accept this edit.
>>         Due to the lack of time for comment and consensus, we are not
>>         presenting these recommendations in the name of Best Bits or
>>         on behalf of civil society in general but only on behalf of
>>         the specific organisations endorsing.
>>         If you would like your organisation to be listed, please send
>>         your logo to Carolina Rossini (crossini at publicknowledge.org
>>         <mailto:crossini at publicknowledge.org>) by 22:30 CET (16:30
>>         EST) tomorrow, 21 Oct.
>>         Best wishes
>>         Anne
>>         -- 
>>         Anne Jellema
>>         CEO
>>         +27 061 36 9352 (ZA)
>>         +1 202 684 6885 (US)
>>         @afjellema
>>         *
>>         *
>>         *World Wide Web Foundation | 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 500,
>>         Washington DC, 20005, USA | www.webfoundation.org
>>         <http://www.webfoundation.org/> | Twitter: @webfoundation*
>>         ____________________________________________________________
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>     _______________________________________________
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> -- 
> Anne Jellema
> +27 061 36 9352 (ZA)
> +1 202 684 6885 (US)
> @afjellema
> *
> *
> *World Wide Web Foundation | 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 500, 
> Washington DC, 20005, USA | www.webfoundation.org 
> <http://www.webfoundation.org/> | Twitter: @webfoundation*
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