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[ NNSquad ] Other Developments at ICANN

The Internet: A Web for the World

Snippet: "It must be a web not for the consumer, but for the citizen"

The contrast in this op-ed between "corporations seeking to corral
users into marketable segments" vs "state power in pursuit of control
and censorship" really misses the most important point, and just
reflects the same old "corporate power vs regulations" frame we
constantly rehash.  In the balance we see various parties pursuing the
governance of the Internet as a "borderless" medium.

The most important point at this juncture is to address the
relationship the stewardship of the Net has to the rights of the

To put this in context, note that this was the week the White House
lauded the rationalizing of ICANN's role under the rubric of
"multi-stakeholderism," where all who have an interest in the Internet
can "have a voice" in it:
> http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/05/02/ensuring-open-internet

And to get to a practical matter in this connection: at this moment
the At-Large folks at ICANN are considering the following text,
developed at the recent 43rd gathering in Costa Rica, for a "Vision

"The ALAC and At-Large community catalyzes and facilitates inclusive,
meaningful participation of Internet end-users world-wide, aggregates
their input and brings their voice to bear in all ICANN matters."

Which might sound great . . . right?  Whereas the following is a bit
of text (developed on the basis of the premise of ICANN's present
role), that might far better reflect and address the real implications

"The ALAC and At-Large community assures the stewardship of the
Internet by joining ICANN with a concurrent body constituted of
representatives of end users whose rights are implicated in the
establishment of universally connected communications, and who have
secured their rights by the constitutions and political structures to
which they have consented worldwide."

The point is, we're not making anything better -- until we acknowledge
effectively the relationship that stewardship of the Internet has to
our rights.

If you're going to oversee a medium that transcends borders, you can't
let an entity like ICANN become the model of "borderlessness" -- you
have to recognize how rights are assured in the world, despite the
fact that in the natural course of history people have acted to do
that within borders. This assures that our role as "stakeholders"
isn't simply used as a way to accommodate "governance" by entities
that see borderlessness in a very different way.

It isn't as if the ALAC structures are well rooted in the people, or
that their functions, or those of ICANN, stack up as anything like
what we would traditionally recognize as a true organ of democratic
government as such.  But it is important to position the ALAC
constituencies appropriately such that any claims they may make for
various interests and for the rights of the people have a standing in
the structure that lets those claims be taken seriously; and such that
the rights of the people are represented with reference to the
existing means by which they are secured.

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