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

David Allen David_Allen_AB63 at post.harvard.edu
Thu Oct 23 22:13:06 EEST 2014

It is a pleasure to see a point-by-point de(con)struction of this absurd series of statements, by Chehade.  Particularly in view that the Washington Post closed off comment, apparently after only one comment.  They would have otherwise, it seems ..., had to tolerate a deluge of derision.

Outright laughable - as Richard leads off - is the proposition that the desideratum is decentralization.  When ICANN is - obviously - trying every which way to maintain its existing singular, centralized control.  Laughable, and so seriously embarrassing.  Chehade is not stupid, he knows he is lying.  What, just hoping us rubes won't notice? And he has Bell Labs in his resume?  How far have the Labs fallen ...


On Oct 23, 2014, at 4:25 AM, "Richard Hill" <rhill at hill-a.ch> wrote:

> Once again, I agree with Parminder.  And I would add the following.
> Fahdi starts the interview by extolling the virtues and positive effects of
> the Internet.  For sure those exist.  But there is also a dark side:
> censorship, mass surveillance, exploitation of personal data.  Not to
> mention the way in which ICTs have been used to deepen not just the digital
> divide, but the economic divide between the rich and the less rich (for
> which, see Dan Schiller's new book "Digital Depression").
> Then Fahdi says that "we want Internet governance in a distribute,
> polycentric way, as opposed to a centralized, top-down way;".  Right.  So
> that means that the IANA function should be functionally separated, not
> centralized as it is at present.  And that we should find a way to
> decentralize ICANN's control of the root zone file.  How about alternate
> roots (also called open roots)?
> I find it amazing that the head of what is the most centralized, top-down
> structure that have ever been seen in telecommunications apparently does not
> realize that ICANN is that structure.
> Fahdi then moves on to say that "If we move everything into one
> organization, suddenly it becomes highly centralized. Now, could the ITU
> solve a problem or a particular issue? Certainly, if the community decides
> it's the best place to do it. But we think that Internet governance should
> look like the Internet: highly distributed, highly agile and highly
> effective."
> Right.  So, in principle, the ITU could address some specific issues.  And,
> by the way, I'm not aware of anybody that has ever proposed to move
> "everything" into the ITU.  The proposals that I've seen all refer to
> specific issues, even if some are admittedly broad issues.
> Fahdi goes on to say: "Imagine if we had to come up with a treaty to solve
> spam?".  Gee, we have come up with treaties on copyright, trademark,
> patents, trade facilitation, air transport and numerous other issues.  So
> what's wrong, in principle, with envisaging a treaty to solve spam?  Maybe
> it won't work in practice, but why not try?
> Fahdi says: "Today, ICANN addresses largely technical issues. But who's
> addressing nontechnical issues?".  Uhm.  Deciding on a process for
> implementing new gTLDs does not strike me as a technical issue.  Nor do I
> see deciding who, if anybody, gets ".amazon" to be a technical issue.
> In fact, as Milton has said for years, ICANN is the economic regulator of
> the domain name industry.  It does not address technical issues.  It
> addresses regulatory issues.
> Fahdi then goes on to explain to us how the WEF so-called NETMundial
> Initiative will be the mechanism to solve all problems, from protecting
> children on the Internet to privacy.
> I'm sure that everybody that will read this E-Mail will agree that this is
> preposterous.
> And I cannot resist pointing out that, when asked by the Minister of Rwanda
> "Fadi, I want to come up with a policy to protect children online. Can you
> point me somewhere? Who's done that? Whom can I contact to tell me how it
> works?", Fahdi could have pointed him to the ITU's web site that compiles
> exactly that information, see:
>  http://www.itu.int/en/cop/Pages/default.aspx
> Fahdi goes on to explan that there are no solutions for web site takedowns.
> But actually there are: such takedowns are provided for by national laws and
> enforced by national courts.  For sure some countries permit far too many
> takedowns (for different reasons, e.g. to restrict political speech, or to
> protect intellectual property), but there is even a mechanism to challenge
> that at the international level, the European Court for Human Rights.  For
> sure that is a Europe-only body for now (but with a larger membership than
> the European Union, because it includes, for example, the Russian
> Federation).
> So why not envisage something like that at the global level?  Oh sorry, it
> involves governments, and that is not good.  Right.  So courts should not
> exist and should not enforce laws.  Indeed, laws should not exist,
> everything should be regulated by private-law contracts.  And those
> contracts should be contracts of adhesion that bind users that click, or
> even merely access, a web site.
> Surely the people who will read this E-Mail (or at least many of them) do
> not wish to live in such a world, where one of the fundaments of democracy
> would have ceased to exist: the rule of law.
> Fahdi says: "But if we leave it to every government to codify their own
> solution, we'll end up with a fragmented Internet. " Indeed.  And that is
> precisely why the ITU was created in 1965: to avoid a fragmented telegraphy
> system.  So, if you don't want the ITU, then you have to reinvent it.  Ah
> yes, that reinvention is the "multi-stakeholder model".  But that model is
> not democratic and, contrary to what has often been said, it has not
> addressed key issues, see my analysis at:
>  http://www.apig.ch/WSIS%20APIG%20statement.doc
> Fahdi says "... the U.S. plays an extremely important role as a role model,
> as a reference point to the world. "  Indeed.  So the US should end mass
> surveillance.  Failing to do so is sending the wrong message.  In particular
> because, as Dilma Rousseff has said "In the absence of the right to privacy,
> there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no
> effective democracy".
> Best,
> Richard
> -----Original Message-----
> From: parminder [mailto:parminder at itforchange.net]
> Sent: mercredi, 22. octobre 2014 19:20
> To: michael gurstein; 'Anne Jellema'; rhill at hill-a.ch
> Cc: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; 'IRP'; governance at lists.igcaucus.org;
> forum at justnetcoalition.org
> Subject: Re: [IRPCoalition] [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour
> sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations
> And if there indeed is real ignorance and people want to know what a
> neo-liberal model of global Internet governance looks like just read the
> below interview of the CEO of ICANN. He lays it all out rather well
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/10/07/internet-operat
> ions-chief-snowden-disclosures-make-my-job-easier/
> It is this model that the Best Bits statement helps push forward. There can
> simply be no doubt in it.
> And people will need to choose which side they would want to be at this
> crucial juncture - on the side of slow ( perhaps even painfully slow)
> evolving democratic governance of our collective global affairs including
> the Internet, or shifting over to neoliberal governance by the elite.. And
> if they side with this structural shift to neolib governance today, it will
> be for keeps. We are in a real danger of loosing our democratic traditions.
> At the very least, this requires deep thinking on the part of all of us.
> parminder
> parminder
> On Wednesday 22 October 2014 07:17 PM, michael gurstein wrote:
> Further to Parminder’s comments below.
> I recently published a blogpost (also please not the comments) where I
> argued that the democratic model of “governance by and for the people” is in
> direct conflict/competition with the multi-stakeholder model of “governance
> by and for stakeholders”.
> I am fully aware that presenting these contrasting positions in such a way
> is highly simplistic but I also think that there is a value in simplicity
> particularly where it removes the obfuscation that often masks fundamental
> positions and values.
> I think that the division within Civil Society and I would argue more
> broadly in the larger world between those who believe in a democratic
> approach to governance including in areas as central to our experience,
> well-being and future as the Internet and those who would give this
> governance over to decision making by those with specific “interests/stakes”
> in the outcome (and where the broad public interest if represented at all
> would be only one among many such competing “stakes”) is a fundamental one.
> It is extremely disappointing to see such broad swathes of “civil society”
> and others opting for a position that does not support democracy and
> democratic governance however and in what manner that might be achieved.
> M
> From: IRP [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On
> Behalf Of parminder
> Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:06 PM
> To: Anne Jellema; rhill at hill-a.ch
> Cc: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; IRP; governance at lists.igcaucus.org;
> forum at justnetcoalition.org
> Subject: Re: [IRPCoalition] [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour
> sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations
> 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
> parminder
> Best
> Anne
> On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM, Richard Hill <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]On Behalf Of
> parminder
> Sent: mardi, 21. octobre 2014 12:47
> To: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; governance at lists.igcaucus.org;
> 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 (see for 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) by 22:30 CET (16:30 EST)
> tomorrow, 21 Oct.
> Best wishes
> Anne
> --
> 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 | Twitter: @webfoundation

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