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WCIT and freedoms: Governments vs Governance

WCIT from the perspective of an open Internet and freedoms

Governments vs Governance

Thinking about WCIT from the freedoms perspectives, it looks like a battle between “governments” and “governance”: if we would like to keep the Internet open and free, should we change traditional (ITU) governance model, or should we (try to) change the authoritarian governments instead? Some thoughts “out of the blue” on these two views, as food for further (own and others’) thoughts:

Change governments if you can, not governance

The problem is not in the traditional model of global governance of international issues. ITU (and UN) is a fair model: “one country - one vote” gives equal chances to everyone. The problem is in the governments - authoritarian ones, and those willing to control their citizens. So let’s help changing such governments if we don’t like how they perform and impact, and make sure other stakeholders can express their views through established democratic values within their country.

Change governance, if you can’t change governments

The authoritarian governments cannot be changed easily; in the meantime the impact of their involvement with Internet governance on “equal footing” (ITU) is not national but global. As long as there are authoritarian regimes, these should be kept away from the global Internet governance. The governance [over the Internet] is already different from the traditional model - this is a good change and is even fairer due to involvement of other stakeholders.

The host of the current WCIT battlefield is the governments (ITU), with majority of them supporting the first option, so it may again get slight advantage over governance.

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Comment by Deirdre Williams on December 7, 2012 at 2:35pm

I have italicised your words, and inserted mine in between.

 

WCIT from the perspective of an open Internet and freedoms

Governments vs Governance

Thinking about WCIT from the freedoms perspectives, it looks like a battle between “governments” and “governance”: if we would like to keep the Internet open and free, should we change traditional (ITU) governance model, or should we (try to) change the authoritarian governments instead?

 

While I accept your proposition Vlada I wonder if we are not all being herded into a situation where we are forced to “think” like computers – on/off; yes/no; only two options? I agree with your “governments/governance” dichotomy, but I am not convinced that this is represented by “the UN and ITU/ICANN and the US government”. In fact looking at what I just wrote the difficulty is obvious.

 

Some thoughts “out of the blue” on these two views, as food for further (own and others’) thoughts:

Change governments if you can, not governance

The problem is not in the traditional model of global governance of international issues. ITU (and UN) is a fair model: “one country - one vote” gives equal chances to everyone. The problem is in the governments - authoritarian ones, and those willing to control their citizens.

I also suggest that the problem is in the citizens who have largely abdicated their governance responsibilities. Supervision can be very boring, and it has to be done continuously. However if you elect people to do a governance job for you then you need to keep watching them to make sure that they are doing the job properly and in the way you want to have it done. Not micro-managing, just checking.

 

So let’s help changing such governments if we don’t like how they perform and impact, and make sure other stakeholders can express their views through established democratic values within their country.

So not only can express their views but also do express their views.

Change governance, if you can’t change governments

The authoritarian governments cannot be changed easily; in the meantime the impact of their involvement with Internet governance on “equal footing” (ITU) is not national but global. As long as there are authoritarian regimes, these should be kept away from the global Internet governance. The governance [over the Internet] is already different from the traditional model - this is a good change and is even fairer due to involvement of other stakeholders.

My understanding is that “multistakeholder” indicates inclusion, and that the most desirable situation is the broadest inclusion possible. Like it or not, authoritarian governments are also stakeholders. To be provocative I would suggest that we do not trust our own system to produce the results that we want. Currently on the BBC there is a series of programmes about economic theory/theorists http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19706272 . The discussion of Friedrich Hayek pointed out that he had advocated essentially NO regulation, NO government interference in the natural rhythm of the economy. Left to itself the economy would balance itself. We don’t seem able to trust ourselves to let go of the economy or of the Internet, in which case we become responsible ourselves for finding the “natural universal” balance, by factoring EVERYbody and EVERYthing into the equation. Not an easy job.

The host of the current WCIT battlefield is the governments (ITU), with majority of them supporting the first option, so it may again get slight advantage over governance.

Over to you. :-)

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