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SSIG - Internet Governance and multistakeholderism tomorrow

Everton Lucero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Bertrand de La Chapelle, Envoy Internet Governance, French Foreign Ministry made an interesting presentation on this topic. Here are a few notes I took:

The first important point is that the speakers are presenting personal views on the context of an academic event. They are not representing their governments in the official capacity here.

1. The internet needs to be seen as a technological phenomenon that appeared in the context of the consolidation and hegemonization of the American power in the XX century. This is to depersonalize the phenomenon.

Internet is a result of a good collaboration of the hi tech of the industry and the government who always saw the technology as a leverage for power.

Also, the knowledge and power would receive the commercial interests to occupy the market.

2. There is one global Internet Governance regime, designed and managed according to the pronciples and guidelines established by the US since the 1990s. Before that, the Internet was still very domestic.

Private-sector leadership was the mantra which still dominates this regime. This is a result from the Clinton administation through Ira Magaziner transfering the control under the Department of Commerce.

3. There is no single treaty nor international organization that could be identified as a main institutional reference for the global Internet governance regime.

When we look at international trade, there is WTO. Intellectual property has WIPO. But for Internet governance a myriad of institutions appear.

This is not random - it is intentional under the perspective that to protect commercial interests, it would be important to have a system where the US government could have more influence. This is designed, not found.

4. Multistakeholderism is a core element for the implementation of the US vision of a private sector led global Internet governance regime.

The regime is robust: attempts to change the principles that were defined in the 1990s did not have success. IAHC MoU is one example: it did not go to the ITU because of Madeleine Albraight intervene, which is an indication that there was resistance to change.

Another example is WSIS: it had as one objective the discussion to rediscuss the base elements and bring it to the international level. It did question, but did not change the essence of the control of the Internet, which was and still is under the US government.

The actors saw in the proposal to have a regime private-sector led the opportunity to present their requests.

5. Multistakeholderism will remain as a core principle of the global internet governance for the foreseeable future.

What emerged was a new model, which is under test to present results, but will be likely to stay. It tries to find solutions to global problems in the multilateral avenue and also presents possibilities unseen so far. For example the IGF is a new platform, but not yet allowing the definition of solutions.

If there is a solution being sought, where to go? IGF? ITU?

6. All actors, governments in particular, need to participate at the existing IG regime, while promoting, at the same time, institutional changes that will shape the evolution of the regime.

Is there one regime... or one framework with several regimes?

There is a big ambiguity on the "private sector leadership" - it does not mean business-led. Private sector in 1998 means non-intergovernmental. People were probably using this in this way - let's not take for granted that it would mean business leadership.

Can we say that there were so many intentions at the time of the creation and administrations of the network or are we doing an ex-post rationalization? Whatever the intention was, the governance framework is taking a dynamic of its own - we are developing something that we do not know yet.

World history is the constant effort of mankind towards better collective organization - this is what history is about, not wars and kings. We are in a globalized world supported by a global communication system and we have to solve new issues.

"We, the represenatitves of the peoples of the world..." (Barlow) - this was wrong. It was not about non-governments at all .

Today the geographical map is how we see the division of the world but the companies that are transnational, and now with the social networks we are led to an interesting concept of multiple stakeholderships.

Any citizen of France is represented by the french diplomat or official in the international process. The interesting thing is that more and more you may be from different countries but work on the same corporation, and very keen that the company will flourish and grow. If the corporation is in another country, you do not go to your government. Also, you may be interested in causes that are represented by ngos which are not necessarily aligned or associated to your government.

In Tunis, the definition is that IG is the multistakeholder development and application of shared regimes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

We have at least 2 major labs of multistakeholderism today: IGF and ICANN.

IGF: it is attached to the UN but not with UN procedures.

Decision shaping is discussion and interaction to identify problems and goals, methodologies and tools and so on. One of the major failures of international process todays is the rushed drafting. They try to address the solutions while drafting.

ICANN - pioneer (1998) or late endorsement of the MS buzzword?

ICANN has the potential to become the first Multistakeholder International Organization. The legal basis of ICANN is not appropriate but it is clearly poining to be the first international agency to be the regulator of the semantic spectrum.

"Ellaboration and application": when you initiate, you draft then need to put the agreement into force by the signature and formalization. Later, there are the two steps of implementation and enforcement.

There are variable roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders according to the issue, the venue and the different stages. If the issue is very high on security, governments may have a stronger role than a technical issue.

Are we towards a governance protocol?

This is not only governance of the Internet, on the Internet but a governance for the digital age and it is only at the beginning. Not only the structure but also the underlying political science foundations.

This year, the discussion on the institutional framework evolution will be intense because of the review of ICANN, the ITU plenipotentiary and the question of the reconduction of the IGF - the challenge is ow to create a structure that will take multistakeholderism.

Creative Commons License
This blog post written by Seiiti Arata on #SSIG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Brazil License.

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