[WSIS CS-Plenary] IGF ???
josep.xercavins at ubuntu.upc.edu
Fri Mar 24 11:48:20 GMT 2006
As a member of the CS-Plenary, and as a participant of the February 16 and
17th meeting in Geneva, I wonder were we are?
Looking the last emails to this list, I think that Im loosing something or
indeed many things.
Could someone inform me (and in general may be us!) where we are?
Thanks a lot!
De: plenary-admin at wsis-cs.org [mailto:plenary-admin at wsis-cs.org] En nom de
Enviat: dijous, 23 / març / 2006 17:10
Per a: plenary at wsis-cs.org
Tema: [SPAM] [WSIS CS-Plenary] IGF theme proposal: asserting the public-ness
of the Internet as a guiding principle for Internet Governance
I had made this posting a few days back to the IG caucus, with CC to plenary
list, but for some strange reason it hasnt come on this list. So, I am
reposting (though with a few changes)
We wish to bring to your notice what we think is an important issue
regarding the future of the Internet.
The most important institutional gain from the WSIS is the setting up of an
Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which is mandated to take up important
public policy issues relating to the Internet. Even though it is not a
negotiating or decision making body, in the present context wherein the
governance of the Internet is captured mostly by dominant interests, the IGF
becomes an important global policy space for pushing progressive and
pro-development agenda in relation to the Internet.
A noteworthy thing about the IGF is that civil society has important, and
almost equal, official status in the IGF as governments and the private
sector. Therefore, if the IGF does indeed evolve into an effective global
policy space, it can serve as an important global governance innovation as
We write this with concern over that fact that progressive forces promoting
the public domain, communication rights, media rights etc do not seem to be
engaged with the possibilities of the IG Forum sufficiently. And as the
Internet increasingly emerges as a main arena for these issues, this lack of
engagement can be disastrous.
The imperative NOW:
IGF has called for submission of themes for its first meeting. The way the
substantive business of the IGF takes off initially will in many ways
determine and delimit the scope of the IGF. Civil society groups need to put
forward progressive themes early enough to be able to define the substantive
spaces within the IGF. (Experiences in forums like WIPO for pushing
development agenda are instructive on how it is necessary to capture
thematic spaces early in these global policy forums)
We are especially concerned that with issues like network neutrality already
threatening the Internet in very basic ways, (please see
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4552138.stm for one such report on how
a multiple tiered Internet with content, services and access differentiated
by ability to pay, and other considerations, is already taking shape) there
is a need for the public and egalitarian nature of the Internet to be
asserted unequivocally as a fundamental principle for global public policies
regarding the Internet.
Why your participation in this process is URGENTLY REQUIRED
Fostering the Internets public character as a principle and in its
concrete policy expressions is an urgent imperative. The implications for
policy span the three layers of the Internet - logical, content and
physical infrastructure - and the essential public and egalitarian nature of
the Internet concerns all three layers. (Openness in Domain Name System
space pertains to the logical layer, network neutrality and preserving the
public domain issues implicates the content layer, while issues like open
spectrum, community/municipality wireless, wireless commons etc concern the
physical layer). The IG Caucus had invited themes for submission to the IGF
and from IT for Change we have made a proposal on defining and fostering
the public nature of the Internet to be submitted for being taken up at the
first meeting of the IGF. We are of the view that this issue should get
If you feel that this is an important issue which must be taken up by the
IGF, please send your endorsement to this proposal. The last date for
submissions is 31st March, and therefore your endorsement should reach
<mailto:Parminder at ITforChange.net> Parminder at ITforChange.net by the 30th.
In case you have further clarifications, please write to us.
Suggested theme for the first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum:
Defining and fostering the public-ness of the Internet issues of public
interest, public domain, public infrastructure and public good in the
context of the Internet.
a. A concise formulation for the proposed theme
In determining global public policy issues and directions for IG, it is
important to first define and characterize the Internet. Its essential
public and egalitarian nature must be asserted as basic principles through
open discussions at the IGF. And these principles can then be interpreted in
terms of specific issues that face us today - content issues (protecting and
promoting the public domain, network neutrality) infrastructure issues
(universal access, public infrastructure, open spectrum, Internet as public
good), as well as many other issues.
b. A brief description of why it is important
The Internet, as understood by most of us, is what it is basically because
of its egalitarian and public nature. It is important to articulate these
fundamentals of the Internet strongly, and use them as the guiding
principles to debate and develop global public policies on IG. WSIS was an
arena that required quick resolutions for consensus positions. This
imperative did not allow sufficient informed debates on developing public
policy principles for IG, including characterizing the essential public and
egalitarian nature of Internet as the technology that promises a better
world for everyone. IGF is the right forum for initiating this process, and
taking it forward in a sustained manner. Formulating these essentials of
the Internet, and due exposition of their implications in various contexts,
will enable better global policy responses to pressing issues including
network neutrality and universal access. If these essential principles that
define the Internet are not discussed and settled urgently, the Internet is
likely to disintegrate, along both political and economic lines. Even if it
is going to be a difficult and protracted process, discussing and resolving
this is essential and the IGF is the right forum to initiate it.
c. How it is in conformity with the Tunis Agenda of the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS)
The WSIS Declaration of Principles assert
our common desire and
commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented
Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share
information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to
achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and
improving their quality of life
The earlier mentioned issues of characterizing the global resource of the
Internet fall within these overall ideals agreed at the WSIS. Para 31 of the
Tunis Agenda declares
We recognise that Internet governance, carried out according to the Geneva
principles, is an essential element for a people-centred, inclusive,
development oriented and non-discriminatory Information Society.
d. How it fits within the mandate of the IGF as detailed in para 72;
Discussion on the stated issue is important in order to develop guiding
principles for laying down a public policy framework on IG.
(72 a of Tunis Agenda: Discuss public policy issues related to key elements
of Internet Governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness,
security, stability and development of the Internet;)
Such discussions will lay the guiding principles for, and help clarify,
possible policy responses to important emerging issues of network
neutrality, public internet infrastructure, spectrum de-licensing etc.
(72 g: Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant
bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make
And most importantly, it puts IG discussions in the context of the broad
guiding principles adopted at Geneva, and later in Tunis.
(72 i: Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS
principles in Internet Governance processes;)
e. Who the main actors in the field are, who could be encouraged to
participate in the thematic session
All stakeholders from governments, civil society, business and
multi-lateral organizations to those organizations currently involved with
IG, like the ICANN, have an important role in discussing these issues.
However, more stress needs to be placed on the inclusion of representation
from developing countries and (2) the development community without core ICT
f. Last but not least, why should this issue should be addressed in
the first annual meeting of the Forum rather than in subsequent ones.
The first phase of Internet development was driven purely by enterprise and
innovation, and in many ways by private sector leadership, which served us
well. Internet grew mostly autonomous of public policy in this phase.
But now with the power of Internet firmly established, and its economic and
political threat to many entrenched interests increasingly obvious, we are
into an important phase of development of the Internet where its egalitarian
and public nature is increasingly under threat. To stem this trend and
possibility, global public policy response in the form of clearly
establishing the public and egalitarian nature of the Internet, and laying
out its policy consequences, needs to come in urgently.
In the absence of this, it may soon be too late to reclaim the promise of
the Internet for developing a people-centred and development oriented
information society as envisioned by the WSIS. As a commentator recently
said in the context of the issue of network neutrality, if urgent policy
action is not taken, the situation may soon become intractable, and it will
then be like trying to push the genie back into the bottle.
Parminder Jeet Singh
IT for Change
Bridging Development Realities and Technological Possibilities
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