Latest articles of Jean-Christophe Nothias More Internet, And More Democracy, Forget Netmundial and ICANN2014-04-22T08:48:56Z<p><img title="Netmundial - Hyatt Hotel San Paulo, Brazil" src="/s3/cache%2F2f%2F3f%2F2f3f7bd014a2f17ec03404a05607154b.jpg" alt="Netmundial - Jyatt Hotel, San Paulo, Brazil" width="580" height="328" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">As the Netmundial conference on the future of Internet governance starts, rather than asking "What can we expect from it?", perhaps we might ask instead whether this future might be more promisingly reformed by political, technical and architectural innovations than by a preach to a so-called multistakeholder choir convened in Sao Paulo.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Since Fadi Chehad&eacute;, chair and CEO of ICANN, flew to Brazil in October 2013 to soften President Dilma Rousseff's outrage after her famous anti-digital-US-surveillance <a rel="nofollow" title="Rousseff UN Speech" href="">speech</a> at the United Nations General Assembly, Netmundial has been part of the visible US effort to embrace Brazil into its political multistakeholder (MS) digital discourse. This narrative has provided an effective smoke screen for maintaining the status-quo, which involves, due to historical and economic reasons, asymmetric oversight of Internet Governance by the US government, through the IETF, IANA, ICANN, ISOC, and thanks their digital rubber barons. Over the last 16 years since the establishment of ICANN, a Californian nonprofit under contract with the US Department of Commerce, the MS governance model has done very little on behalf of citizens and netizens in terms of protecting digital freedoms -- from absence of competition for broadband access in the US to global surveillance by the NSA of all netizens of the planet. The MS model's major achievement has been its ability to keep things under subtle but indefeasible control.</p> <p>As Rousseff, joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, launched a digital revolt following the NSA scandal, the US government recognized it was facing something more serious than a bunch of UN experts or civil society activists from the South. Rousseff's statements were bold and clear: "In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy" and "Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations. A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country." Her words still resonate for many.</p> <p>Rousseff's comments were addressed primarily at the US and supporting countries for the US digital domination (UK, Sweden, Japan, Australia, etc). The ball was shot hard, and the US had no choice than to play it with the most dedicated <a rel="nofollow" href="">attention</a>. So, thanks to Chehad&eacute;'s smooth assistance, Rousseff accepted to organize a conference jointly with ICANN. This proposal seemed a win-win. It provided a victory for Rousseff's external politics, by embedding Brazil in a so-called MS conference, while also giving ICANN another victory, because as co-organizer of such a conference it has been able to influence any kind of decision related to choice of content, committee, secretariat, panelists, speakers and ultimately any critical outcome. Of course, Brazil (through non-profit, would handle the guest list for the Brazilians invit&eacute;s, and help secure the coming of a few other token states to participate, including the "Twitter-friendly" Turkey, where the next Internet Governance Forum is supposed to be held... This setting would satisfy the US because the solutions that suit ICANN naturally suit the US.</p> <p>With a 800-seat international conference, the co-organizers, ICANN and still have had to make choices, even though the cost for traveling to Brazil already provided a natural selection in terms of attendance. To date, corporate delegates are to occupy more than 40 percent of the room. To make it a success a few other countries were needed to plump up the numbers of governments -- being those that were outraged in the first place, and&nbsp; kept at bay for so long by the US government and corporations. As the US has consistently told the world over the last three years, "governments represent a potential danger to Internet. They could seize control and deprive netizens of their rights". In the same breath, the digital jewels of Wall Street and US capitalism are, of course, requiring all the trade and intellectual property protections the world's governments can muster, as well as shying clear of tax in countries where they should. It is not part of the US narrative to speak about the detrimental impact of all of this on human rights and development in places where it would be most needed. So here we are, after six months of intense behind-closed-doors preparation, ready to attend Netmundial, a conference that claims to be 'multistakeholder', but which is really about launching the next stage of US global multistakeholder domination over the Internet, thanks to an ICANN++.</p> <p>One very positive thing to come from Netmundial has been the 187 submissions expressing a large diversity of views, sometimes convergent, sometimes in strong opposition. This shows that the issues at stake are matters of fundamental importance. Collecting such a vast amount of ideas is the easy part of course; the hard part being what to do with them, especially if they are not all "converging". In a two-day conference, with so many different participants having diverse constituencies, values, roles and interests, it is hard to imagine that a dialogue can really take place. Therefore the two co-organizers began to set out a document based on the 187 submissions - a draft of which was publicized by Wikileaks -- and which was formally published on 14 April. Such a digest is not a gastronomic marvel. Some words that did not find their way to that final lap include: Democracy, social justice, and net neutrality. Some expressions have been mutilated such that we have "surveillance should be conducted..." instead of a "surveillance should only be conducted..." Still it has been suggested to everyone to comment on this document. Like with the rest of Internet governance multistakeholderism, participation is seen as an end rather than a means. Comments always make the people feel happy, even though their view doesn't make a difference on the final document.</p> <p>MS is considered by its priesthood as the next best form of democracy with outcomes emerging from "convergence" (no voting here). Pick up everything that is "converging" and you get the final result. Add as many '+1' and you claim to have a legitimate conclusion. Indeed, that sounds like what the MS enhanced democracy pretends to be. It has no legitimacy, no vote, no checks and balances, no serious dialogue, no media counter power, and no trust.</p> <p>Netmundial will not be a place to dialogue, nor a competition between ideas. It will just be another MS show. A jolly feast, with all invited, happily munching on their own courses, but net destruction, rather than creation. And it will come with a final statement by the co-organizers starting with a big thanks to all. Brazil, after happily devouring its Berners-Lee blessed Internet governance model-for-the-world will say "see our Marco civil for digital rights in Brazil just passed by the first Brazilian chamber of representatives and possibly, the senate. You, foreign governments, should do the same." For ICANN, the outcome will sound like: "We are so happy to see that everyone had a chance to participate and that we have a consensus over the value of a multistakeholder model of governance for Internet. Everyone at Netmundial was "converging" on that. We commend the US government for giving ICANN the responsibility to handle the IANA function, and we welcome governmental and civil society advice and support to achieve our new global mission. We have had so many participants in Sao Paulo and remotely contribute to and support the Netmundial initiative and conclusion. Please note that ICANN will fund the Internet Governance Forum in its role as a MS forum." All is well, let's have Caipirinhas.</p> <p>To come to back to the very beginning of this post, I would say that there are three unseen, but very destructive, implications of this multistakeholder blessing as the outcome of Netmundial. The good news is that they take us to a clearer vision of the political, technical, and architectural possibilities that lie ahead.</p> <p>The first one is simple. Netmundial will bring exactly the opposite of what the Brazilian President (and other governments and citizens) really wants: Democracy is losing ground to MSism, a Trojan horse for vested interests, especially since MSism enforces a simple idea: "equal footing" means rights for all participants, putting corporations and governments on the same starting and ending line when it comes to defining policies of public concern, in a digital space that is becoming more and more of an enclosed, corporatized version of what should be a public global commons. Even neoliberals never achieved any such a great tour de force. Netmundial is therefore currently failing <a rel="nofollow" title="Next best stage of Democracy" href="" target="_blank">democracy</a>. It is not enhanced democracy: it is impoverished democracy.</p> <p>The second implication is even more interesting. Netmundial is allowing ICANN to reinforce its power over its root zone, with little checks and balances and no oversight from anyone. By the same token it will reduce the digital space. ICANN defends a unique Internet, basically because it wants a unique root zone, under its surveillance, control and rulings; a unique space where a few private algorithms serve to dominate and collect the majority of all worldwide digital data, metadata, and revenues whether through advertising or copyrighting, more than half of it into Google's hands. It is completely physically feasible today that&nbsp; digital space can be expanded with very positive consequences for all citizens. However, ICANN, parroting the US government, warns us all against a balkanized Internet (and, again, echoing the "don't trust governments (except us)!" line, it says "don't balkanize (except with US monopolies)!".</p> <p>Like any monopoly, ICANN argues that, thanks to its position, it preserves the Internet for the use of all, even though it really only serves for the benefit of a few. Reality could be much more refreshing. We know today that technical and architectural innovation can immediately lead to more digital space, more interoperability, more exchange, more safety and security, less spam, and less cyber-crime. And no, we are not talking of erecting national boundaries over interconnected networks. Just as we enjoy the Open Innovation, Open Source, and Open Data revolution, we are on the verge of an Open Root revolution. Among its leaders is <a rel="nofollow" title="Louis Pouzin's Awards" href="" target="_blank">Louis Pouzin</a>, one of the founding fathers of the Internet.- Pouzin, an extremely distinguished French engineer, is advocating for, and building a proliferation of possible root zones. For a very reasonable budget, many extensions can be created through the <a rel="nofollow" title="Open Root" href="" target="_blank">Open Root</a>&nbsp;project. He says: "There is a dire need to put the ICANN house in order and subject it to competition from other actors that are able to prove defend user interests in a way that ICANN has failed. In fact, starting in 1996, before ICANN was set up, there were many independent root registries created. Some were operated for several years, and a few are still in existence, e.g. Name-Space, Cesidianroot-Europe, OpenNic, Slash/dot, Name.coin, etc."</p> <p>Open root is bringing a new life to that virgin part of digital space. Pouzin continues: "An unknown number of private registries operate outside of conventional institutions and are alive, but mostly invisible. The ICANN dogma is that what is needed is a single global (i.e. US controlled) root. Curiously Google and OpenDNS, which are not registries, use their own root, copies of ICANN's." This Open Root revolution is a great promise and lies in stark contrast to the heavily draped and ultimately highly unsatisfactory likely Netmundial outcome. The Open Root (OR) idea involves the realization of another technical and architectural innovation: interconnection, or interoperability of many root zones. No need to travel to China for your technology here: a Boston-based team (RINA) has already made it a reality. The OR will also allow each root zone to be defined under specific principles (political, societal, international), to which individual users can wittingly and proactively subscribe, such as the ones contained in the <a rel="nofollow" title="The Delhi Declaration" href="" target="_blank">Delhi Declaration</a> and edited by the Just Net Coalition. Right now, the ICANN root zone is a rogue in the hands of the US government and corporations. It should be put under the umbrella of a to-be-developed international law of the Internet , or what the Indian government suggests to call an 'Equinet'. By continuing to perpetuate the ICANN single root, Netmundial is failing innovation and fair competition in a so-called decentralized and open space.</p> <p>Finally, this leads to the third negative implication: if new root zones are not nationally bound, but of global immediate reach, we do still remain with a major vacuum that we do not see being addressed at NetMundial: without a digital international agreement, law or framework, how could Brazil or one of its citizen sue a US, Indian, Russian or South African digital company that would not respect its right to privacy? Many in the civil society, such as the Web We Want initiative, IT for Change and others are understanding what is going wrong with the current state of Internet governance, and its MS approach. Even the European Commissioner, Neelie Kroes complained recently that NetMundial's drafted summary was not addressing in more concrete terms, the huge challenges to reform the current governance of Internet. &nbsp;</p> <p>NetMundial's entrapping schema question may be, "Do you support (a) preserving the internet under one root or (b) Internet fragmentation? Choose either (a) or (b)." Now obviously all nice meaning, good people of the world would choose "preserving" as opposed to "fragmenting" the Internet.</p> <p>But what if the above question was constructed correctly as, "Do you support (a) a monolithic, hegemonic centrally-controlled internet or (b) A distributed, open, human rights respectful democratic internet? Choose either (a) or (b)." The survey results would be opposite.</p> <p>Netmundial should be deemed a failure if it fails to enshrine words like democracy, social justice, innovation, open root, competition as well as human rights. It should be deemed a failure if it simply boosts the international credibility of Brazil and ICANN and the US, but it fails to address the very real deficiencies in how the Internet currently operates. At the moment, we are going backwards, not forwards in terms of democracy, innovation and the Internet. As more and more start to see what is at stake, let us hope that they see the charade of multistakeholderism for the vacuous reality that it is, and that they recognize that to truly advance democracy and the Internet, we need to break open ICANN's monopoly, break open control of the root system, and restore real choice in the hands of citizens and all the world's governments - rather than just one.</p> <p>For those who understand why to get out of the digital ICANN reservation, there is more Internet, and more Democracy to enjoy.</p>And Now The Second Battle Of The Internet2013-06-13T17:25:10Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F00%2F77%2F0077a37e828facf7dd092c74ca588f1c.jpg" alt="Google Internet " width="580" height="388" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Verizon or PRISM or Snowden affair, revealed by <em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">The Guardian</a></em>, marks a turning point in the history &ndash; a very young history &ndash; of the <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Internet and its governance</a>&nbsp;within the international landscape. With the facts as overwhelming as they are frightening, they show above all the mighty power of the United States (US) over the Internet and its users. This issue not only concerns the information of American citizens, but also all &lsquo;foreigners&rsquo; who have a Google account and other Internet industry heavyweights. We are talking about the very core of <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Internet governance currently under American domination</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The rules in question, such as respect of personal information, net neutrality or digital public policies whether national, regional or international, are at the heart of an ongoing 15-year battle. During the last two years, this fight has taken a more aggressive turn, with the US government, American companies and their close allies pitted against those who demand more international and multilateral governance. The US government is clinging to its power via a so-called &ldquo;multi-stakeholder&rdquo; model, lumped together with the believers in an autonomously-ruled Internet, the so-called digital freedom fighters who reject all governmental regulation, the masked anonymous vigilantes who act as law enforcement, the kings of spam or porn, the Internet money makers, the rebel hackers or former hackers, now intelligence officers.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Not a week goes by without an enlightened mind cursing governments or recounting the story of the Internet as a pure product of 1960s counterculture, born from LSD or the desire to live in a commune. According to such individuals, the founding fathers of the Internet offered the world this new space beyond the control of national powers. The reality of the Internet is actually more pragmatic, industrial and economic. And to be honest, the Internet has now become a very political field of battle.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">As opposed to a phenomenon linked to a form of counterculture, the Verizon affair has shed new light on the reality of Internet control. Worldwide, every state plays, whether chosen or not, a role within its own borders, fortified by traditions, law and industrial heavyweights. One country in particular has the power to not only impose its Internet laws on its citizens, but also on &lsquo;foreign citizens&rsquo; &ndash; that is, the US. This is exactly what the Verizon affair has demonstrated. Indeed, it is further evidence there is a need to redevelop and rebalance Internet governance. And this is the very thing US officials and large US digital corporations have refused to discuss in Dubai, Geneva or elsewhere.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The computer scientist inventors of interconnected networks belonged to an academic elite from MIT, Berkeley, Stanford and USC. As early as the 1960s, they enjoyed a significant amount of financing provided by the Pentagon, NASA and other governmental agencies. These pioneers not only drove scientific and technological development but also Internet &lsquo;policies&rsquo; &ndash; at least until 1998. Until this time, the roots of the Internet were in the hands of academic pioneers. They had a humanist, pragmatic, neutral and open vision.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One such founding father was <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Dr Jonathan Postel</a>, himself a computer scientist and editor of the famous Request For Comments (RFCs) that served as a model for open discussion and improvement of Internet rules and processes. With John Lennon glasses and long hair, Postel was nevertheless celebrated as &ldquo;Colonel Postel&rdquo; upon his arrival at the Pentagon <span>&ndash;</span> quite impressive since this free man was considered by pioneers as responsible for Internet rules being defined outside the governmental sphere. Somewhat more worrying for Postel himself was the Clinton administration&rsquo;s desire, led by Al Gore and his emissary Ira Magaziner, to take control of the Internet. Postel understood this from very early on, back in 1997. Of the 13 servers that today still constitute the backbone of the Internet, Postel attempted to unlink the 8 &ldquo;civilian&rdquo; ones from the reach of the government. The mathematician pointed them toward a 14th server, a new master he set for the purpose, in January 1998. A vigorous phone call from the White House put this digital insurgency to an end.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">By the end of January 1998, the Internet and its governance fell completely into the hands of the US government and those who accepted this forced move. In a thwarted attempt, Postel sought without success to entrust Internet governance to the <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">International Telecommunications Union</a> (ITU). Not to panic Internet stakeholders, the US government decided to delegate the authority given to universities to an association incorporated in California three weeks after the death of Postel on an operation table in Los Angeles in October 1998. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was inaugurated at his grave, with future board members reuniting for the first time at the cemetery in memory of the scientist who fiercely protected the development of the Internet.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Since its creation, ICANN has been a controversial organization characterized by abuse, non-transparency, lack of representation and conflicting interests. The greatest concern remains its guardianship &ndash; ICANN is under contract with the Department of Commerce and a change in 2009 meant a renewable three-year agreement became indefinite. This is contrary to a guarantee of independence. Like other organizations instrumental to Internet governance, ICANN cannot be considered a neutral international body. Its new president Fahi Chehad&eacute; aims to improve this perception &ndash; a delicate task even for this specialist in multi-stakeholder governance recalling that the Department of Commerce recently contradicted a decision by ICANN. Who has total authority over the management of the Internet backbone? The Californian association or its guardianship authority?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">From the very beginning, the famous 13 servers forming the Internet&rsquo;s backbone (the DNS Root Servers) have been in American hands, or in the hands of close allies. The two not located in American territory are in London (LINX/RIPE) and Stockholm (NORDU). That is, the two capitals most vocal alongside Washington in favor of the status quo. The strongly anti-United Nations campaign that followed the Dubai conference in December 2012 worried many who saw there a resurgence of the Cold War. Not quite so, I would say. The PRISM affair demonstrates the problem was not so much the danger represented by China or Russia in regards to our exchanges, accounts and personal information, but the fact of having a state and some of its digital juggernauts enjoying control of the Internet.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yes, the economic issues are major, especially in terms of high-speed broadband, critical to accelerating the economic development of entire countries. Who should pay for this significant investment? Each single user whatever means they have? Public or private national operators? The Internet Service Provider that benefits from the connection of these networks? The Internet robber barons such as Google and others? What are the two thirds of the world population to do who have no access to the Internet? For two years, Americans have pushed to defend the status quo, even inventing &lsquo;digital&rsquo; human rights.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A more pragmatic and responsible approach can be seen right by the southern border of the US. Mexican President <a rel="nofollow" href="">Pe&ntilde;a Nieto</a> is among those advocating for greater equality, working to enshrine a right to broadband access in his country&rsquo;s constitution. He turned this into reality on 10 June, when he signed the <em>Constitutional Reform Regarding Telecommunications and Economic Competition</em>.&nbsp; In the same breath, his initiative will break the monopolies that controlled Mexico for years. The fortune of the current owner of the <em>New York Times</em>, Carlos Slim, comes from this previous state of things. So it goes in the US with ATT, Verizon and Comcast, which shared the market under unconcerned eyes &ndash; indeed, an approving government. Some voices are speaking out, such as former White House official Susan <a rel="nofollow" href="">Crawford</a>, who advocates for more competition and more public policy, not just regulation obscured by a market. Interviewed last April, Alec Ross, the former Special Digital Advisor for the State Department declared to me: &ldquo;digital human rights do not exist in legal terms, but it is a unifying theme that pleases users.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Months before the WCIT was held in December in Dubai, American lobbying groups attacked the ITU and its proposals for internationalized Internet governance incessantly, with unconditional support from Google. What plot were they denouncing? What crime was the ITU guilty of? Simply, asking for an international treaty update that all signatories would be bound to endorse and respect. One of the driving forces behind the hysteria was the idea that diplomatic negotiations occurred behind closed doors, away from civil society and industrial stakeholders. Critics invoked the specter of a takeover hatched by Russia and China and, in a general manner, by governments.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Yet the so-called &lsquo;closed&rsquo; Dubai doors were largely wide open. Each ITU member state was free to establish its delegation without limits to numbers or quality, and especially to inform whomever they wished without restraint, before, during or after the conference. The American delegation alone included almost 120 delegates selected from the elite of the US Internet industry, civil society and government. Two watchwords were given to this multitude: &ldquo;the word Internet shall not be included in the new treaty&rdquo; and &ldquo;do not talk to journalists without authorization.&rdquo; All this in the name of web freedom.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">More surprising was the European position in Dubai. No mandate was given for the delegation to vote or engage the signature of the European Union (EU). Cyprus, occupying the rotating presidency of the EU, monopolized the microphone, with other member states far less vocal, including France and Germany. In contrast, the Swedish and British representatives were working in full swing. Were the compromises negotiated following WCIT so dangerous for Europe? No. Tellingly, the absence of conditions preventing EU agreement was confirmed in a confidential internal memo (DS 1335/13) from the EU Council on 24 February. &ldquo;At this stage, there is or remains no obvious reason justifying a conflict between the new Treaty (proposed in Dubai) and the benefits.&rdquo; It was already known as such before Dubai.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The argument put forward by the EU to not support the Dubai update of the <em>International Telecommunications Regulations</em> was linked to the proposal to use in the new treaty the expression &ldquo;all operators&rdquo; rather than &ldquo;recognized operating agencies.&rdquo; The reason for this &ndash; non-authorized extension of the treaty. Seeking to maintain good diplomatic relations, it was possible to sign the treaty while imposing a &ldquo;reservation&rdquo; on the point of disagreement. Its radical strategy led the American delegation to totally reject this proposal, while signing instead some of the treaty proposals that its own delegation approved during the session.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This May in Geneva, hostilities continued. In more limited terms but still very clearly, the US opposed any involvement by the ITU and its committee of member states in the system of Internet governance. Such a perspective would allow for the definition of universal principles akin to those already in operation for telephony and satellites. Accepting this logic would shift some of the Internet power away from Washington&rsquo;s authority. With any such international law ratified by the US, the request from the CIA to transfer all user information <span>from private operators like Verizon, Google and others</span>&nbsp;to intelligence services would be made more difficult. However, the US has never embraced multilateralism and remains amongst those counties ranked lowest globally in regards to the number of treaties or conventions ratified.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">A few days ago, during a <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">WTPF session</a> &ndash; an intergovernmental forum under the aegis of the ITU &ndash; Brazil submitted an opinion for endorsement, which was met with consensus. &ldquo;Governments worldwide should discuss Internet governance in the framework of the ITU, as a crucial element in the multi-stakeholder system.&rdquo; The American response, supported by Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany was, in essence, &ldquo;come see us in Washington, we will see what we can do for you.&rdquo; The committee remained calmed, but was clearly outraged by this arrogance. What place do governments have in connection to the Internet under international law? The US and its digital industry dominate in every respect. The Verizon affair becomes ever more important because it is this same US administration opposed to a dialogue between states to settle universal rules and principles.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The worldwide digital space is in danger. We, the citizens of the world, are equally in danger. We need a better and truly democratic multi-stakeholder model and governments to be bound by robust international law when most needed <span>&ndash;</span>&nbsp;to start with, the US government and its industrial champions.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">Photo &copy; DR</span></p>The Role Of Governments In Internet Governance2013-06-12T12:09:10Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2Ff3%2F99%2Ff399c58a98d8916d0a83e4ff29d46bee.jpg" alt="" width="360" height="538" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Ivo Ivanovski is the Republic of Macedonia's Minister of Information Society and Administration, and was appointed as Chairman of the Fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum that took place in Geneva from 14-16 May. In an exclusive interview with The Global Journal, Ivanovski explained the importance of the role of governments in the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #800000;"><em>You chaired the last edition of the WTPF in Geneva. What were the major outcomes?</em>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The major outcome of the latest WTPF edition is that all six draft opinions were unanimously adopted. They were revised and endorsed by the working groups and proposed in front of the member states and sector members before the start of the forum.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #800000;"><em>In Dubai, it was almost impossible to discuss anything related to the Internet, so some progress has been made since then. During the WTPF, the role of governments in the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance was recognized by most delegates, even from the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Germany. Yet, there is still a major divide on the role of governments within this model &ndash; should the ITU or ICANN committee have authority?</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The role of government in the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance continues to be a hot topic. We were able to hear from the CEO of ICANN, Fadi Chehade, and ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun Toure, that both institutions are open to further discussions and suggestions to find an appropriate role for governments. None of them are trying to extend their roles in Internet governance. These statements gave confidence to the members that no one institution is trying to monopolize the Internet and that there is a place for all stakeholders.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #800000;"><em>The Brazilian proposal, which received quite broad support, sought to have the role of governments debated within the WTPF. Some countries suggested the ITU was not the appropriate venue and the US invited Brazil to engage in a bilateral discussion on the improvement of Internet governance practices. Do you feel this approach is the right way to reach a better understanding?</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The term bilateral means that only two sides are involved. Multi-stakeholder means multiple parties are involved. Bilateral meetings are always welcome, especially when two parties cannot agree on a particular issue so that other parties are not restricted. The role of the government is not only to have one-to-one discussions. It is a good start, but the discussion should occur in multiple forums, conferences and meetings that include multiple parties and not just a select few. That is why most of the members during the WTPF 13 suggested appropriate venues so that this question could be discussed openly. But the list was not finalized, since everybody should be talking about this.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #800000;"><em>The Council of the European Union (EU) recognized the treaty changes proposed in Dubai in December were not contrary to European interests. Even though the EU issued no mandate to negotiate or vote during WCIT-12, member states nonetheless argued the changes were not acceptable. Could you elaborate and does this concern you?</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This issue was not raised during the WTPF and I cannot comment on it.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #800000;"><em>Over the next 12 months, what significant progress do you anticipate in the sphere of Internet governance?</em></span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I think in 12 months we will see continuous increases in broadband connectivity around the world, especially by utilizing 3G and 4G technologies. The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has set new goals, regarding affordability and accessibility of broadband for countries in order to accelerate the progress of the Millennium Development Goals. These goals will materialize if there is fair play in the market place.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Another impact that can have positive results in European countries is the initiative of the European Commission regarding flat rate roaming charges for all countries in Europe. This will increase mobile usage when people travel abroad. Currently these charges are very high. That is why the Republic of Macedonia has proposed an initiative before the EU regarding roaming charges together with the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I also think that in the next 12 months we will see more consolidation of telecom operators in the EU. This can produce stronger telecom operators, which will foster innovation and aid the European economy.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;"><em>Click <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">here</a> to view other related articles on Internet governance.</em></span></p>Lost And Found In Global Politics 2013-05-21T15:48:45Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/photos%2F2013%2F05%2F184984d16692c1c5.jpg" alt="Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When It&rsquo;s Most Needed" width="360" height="542" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Gridlock: Why Global&nbsp;Cooperation Is Failing&nbsp;When It&rsquo;s Most Needed,&nbsp;Thomas Hale, David Held &amp;&nbsp;Kevin Young&nbsp;Polity Press,&nbsp;&pound;55.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Gridlock</em> sets out to explore a growing failure in global governance, whereby countries are increasingly unable to cooperate effectively on issues of pressing global concern. The authors point to the multiple factors and pathways blocking international action &ndash; a governance gap affecting nearly all areas of global activity.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In highlighting the historical contingency of no longer effective mechanisms, the authors are not just pessimistic, but almost frightening. In their telling, gridlock results in further gridlock and the condition will only become more pervasive. Abandoning traditional knowledge silos, the authors endorse a multidisciplinary perspective. For those who would seek a way out of the present predicament, however, <em>Gridlock</em> might be disappointing. While very convincing when it comes to examining systemic reasons for failure, it does not prove multilateralism is an unfit basis for global cooperation and governance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The need for more global governance is evident &ndash; too bad <em>Gridlock </em>provides few serious paths towards a more constructive future. When the authors mention &ldquo;bottom-up solutions working without a central solution,&rdquo; it is certainly interesting. But these small-scale initiatives are immediately challenged by the lack of broader, if not global, cooperation. Maybe time to risk throwing some utopian ideas into the mix to shake up the analysis of a &ldquo;global box&rdquo; slow death.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank"></a></em></p>Beyond Gridlock2013-05-21T14:49:23Z<p style="text-align: justify;">Last year in Geneva during GLOBAL+5, our inaugural festival of global governance, David Held &ndash; a seasoned academic versed in the topic and born to be a member of our jury &ndash; was very much preoccupied. As we walked together into the grand ball room at the Four Seasons hotel, where in the early 1920s ambassadors would meet to socialize and dance between daily meetings to build the first global political entity, Held and I discussed the fact President Woodrow Wilson never received support from Congress for the United States (US) to become a member of the utopian Soci&eacute;t&eacute; des Nations.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This paradox is still part of the US vision today, in everything that touches on the broad sweep of issues constituting global politics. It is a yes-and-no position, which ends with a &lsquo;no&rsquo; in most cases &ndash; from the law of the sea to climate change, reform of the International Monetary Fund and that too long list with which we are all familiar. Since the fi rst edition of GLOBAL+5, Held has co-written a book with two American academic colleagues about the state of contemporary global governance. Its title? Gridlock. Calling for a far more multidisciplinary approach in the analysis of global issues, the authors wish to see vastly improved effi ciency in collective decision making at a crucial moment in our history.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Though I agree deeply with their call for a more holistic approach to global politics, something seems to be missing. The future is calling across many issues and the answers from our leaders have been found wanting. A vacuum like this cannot last.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Voices will soon be heard, however, as always. One just might be Jaron Lanier&rsquo;s. In the 1980s, Lanier was a leading mind driving us all into virtual reality. Now, this former digital idealist claims free content is bad for everyone, citizens and corporations alike. Today, apart from being a &ldquo;technologist,&rdquo; a serial entrepreneur and an employee at one of the largest US tech firms, Lanier is among the few thinkers one should pay attention to in order to learn why we are heading in the wrong direction when it comes to the digital world. Lanier&rsquo;s new book <em>Who Owns The Future?</em> is THE book younger and elder generations should read together.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Amusingly, the question sounds familiar &ndash; uncertainty over &ldquo;who owns the Internet?&rdquo; has been haunting us for the last decade, since the US government and companies such as Google took it over. Lanier&rsquo;s point is all about one word: &ldquo;value.&rdquo; Lost value, not added value, as the giants of the Internet are milking the value out of people while ultimately shrinking markets. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a hard lesson to learn,&rdquo; says Lanier. &ldquo;As an idealist, I supported an open system for a lot of people to access information, but when a few businesses have the largest computers, it&rsquo;s an ideal business proposition where these few actors demonetize the position of lots of people. It&rsquo;s a non-sustainable solution.&rdquo; The idea of the &lsquo;for-free&rsquo; is indeed unsustainable.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It has always been a pain for an editor like me &ndash; fighting to maintain an independent media voice and platform &ndash; to listen to the former Editor in Chief of <em>Wired </em>being paid a fortune to explain to others that &lsquo;free&rsquo; was the big way to make money. That was certainly the case when he would tour the world being paid to say so. Today, as Chris Anderson is no longer a salaried staffer at Wired, he advocates for the 3D-printing revolution instead &ndash; obviously not a free-3D.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Contrary to what one might think about politics at the global level, it will soon become the true business of many citizens and voters, as any real ability to change the world will always lie fi rst with us. This issue is full of fresh views and new faces &ndash; do not miss those from Iran, Indonesia and Switzerland &ndash; as we keep covering global politics for our responsible readers.</p>Shifts2013-03-26T20:28:43Z<p style="text-align: justify;">The 2008 crisis is special in that it will soon be renamed the 2008-2014 crisis. We know crises as emerging sharply and fading rapidly &ndash; this one is taking its time. We are experiencing a longue dur&eacute;e crisis. In terms of global governance, things seem to be going differently. Traditional bilateralism is currently of little relevance, just like out-dated multilateralism. In reality, the global governance game is about to change. The view from our window is evolving each passing day.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Of course, old leaders still use old behind-the-scenes ingredients: high doses of disingenuous discussion, dirty electoral tricks grounded in national politics that spread into global debates and endless pressure exercised with the upmost politeness to hush their neighbor or competitor. Nothing has changed here. What is new, however, are those who plot outside of the old drinking-well. By playing with vocabulary &ndash; citizenship, accountability, corporate responsibility, sustainability, transparency and multi-stakeholderism &ndash; we see that it ultimately ends up provoking an outbreak of new ideas. So much so that the G20, BRICs, World Economic Forum, ICANN and other &lsquo;groupings&rsquo; should worry about when the pressure of global public opinion will catch up with them. Legitimacy, representativeness and justice are still the core words that a real democracy cannot ignore. This transformation of global governance has the public, private and non-profit sectors in its sights. Masters of advocacy are confronted with the limits of their impact; partisans of compromise with the energy industry on climate change have lost their battle and will soon be replaced with more radical peers. The way in which Kumi Naidoo, boss and fundraiser-in-chief of Greenpeace, was criticized heavily via a tweet from a British Telecom CSR nerd encountering him in Davos is a sign that an icon of &lsquo;good&rsquo; is now &lsquo;touchable.&rsquo; What should we think about the new species of NGOs deciding to capitalize in order to carry on? Or the Red Cross, which trades in clothes or hotels to fi nance itself? The lines move around inexorably. In the private sector, even though we believe the Taliban of the Internet forbid us from discussing the need for regulation, we are now seeing the voice of Susan Crawford abruptly moving the debate towards the notion of public interest &ndash; a perception which if applied to the global discussion held in Dubai on this subject, would have facilitated agreement rather than an unproductive uproar.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Just as we witnessed the Arab Spring, we will soon see another type of Western Spring: more intense and more enduring. To believe this intensifying transformation will be possible outside of a democratic setting is a lie &ndash; an illusion that leads us straight back to our old despotic demons. Let us be cautious to not forget, but also not deny ourselves the pleasure of seeing global governance slowly but surely revising many concepts and unleashing new ideas.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In this edition, we remain loyal to the idea of observing and surveying the underlying movements and processes of this transformation. John Ruggie points out the increasing gaps in a globalized world and the need for new global regulations. Other countries like India reinvent their feminism &ndash; see the excellent report by Amana Fontanella-Khan on the Pink Gang. Equally a must-read is our interview with Philippe Van Parijs, whose intellectual clarity gives his ideas a quality lacking in our old continent. Our European politicians should draw inspiration from him without delay if they want to save the European Central Bank and all that goes with it. Just as they should also note our investigation into the &lsquo;future of food&rsquo; to get back to some inner-convictions.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Lots to read over the coming weeks to remind us that it is not only German elections that will count this year for the future of Europe. And if somehow those European politicians are fed up with all of this, they should turn to Ping Fu and her &lsquo;geomagical&rsquo; life. It will make them spin the earth more quickly.</p>For All European Politicians 2013-03-26T12:06:48Z<p style="text-align: center;"><img title="Making the European Monetary Union" src="/s3/cache%2Fd4%2Fac%2Fd4acc3988dcfbc0219a1a33560f25a8e.jpg" alt="Making the European Monetary Union" width="350" height="526" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Making the European Monetary Union, Harold James, Harvard University Press,&nbsp;$35.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is hard to read <em>Making the European Monetary Union</em>. Not because the euro is part of the story, but because the clarity of its insights into the Eurozone&rsquo;s current weakness provide us with a handy, yet sobering, view of the future. Harold James&rsquo; investigation into the roots of the European monetary project transports the reader back to the early stages of the continent&rsquo;s post-war rebirth. Using an array of resources unavailable until now &ndash; notably, material from the European Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Delors Committee &ndash; he sheds light on some critical European political failures.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">From its very establishment, the euro has been divorced from the fiscal activities and realities of its membership. As one of the most creative thinkers behind the currency, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, explains, &ldquo;neither the United States Fed nor any other central bank in the world is, like the Eurosystem, confronted with the challenge of not being the expression of a political union.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">James questions the founders with their &ldquo;<em>cadeau empoisonn&eacute;</em>&rdquo; &ndash; this &ldquo;strange currency&rdquo; is primarily the expression of men and political will. European politicians should learn from the virtuoso intelligence of such a prominent historian, while economists should yield for now as James is at the peak of his powers.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">-JCN</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank"></a><em></em></p>Keeping Our Eyes Wide Open2013-01-23T05:39:01Z<p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.5em;">To see clearly is a difficult task. At night, or when there is too much light, when tired, or when too many people are around, where the rush of events is clouding our ability to discern what is essential. As journalists, we should ask ourselves constantly: do we see well?</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Take the non-profit industry. The second edition of our <a rel="nofollow" href="../../../../group/top-100-ngos/" target="_blank">Top 100 NGOs </a>ranking is stronger, and we enjoy not only the fantastic outreach from the inaugural list, but the fact that NGOs themselves pushed us to look at their sector in an improved way. This year, we have focused on the three criteria we have used consistently since we began our media journey three years ago: innovation, impact and sustainability. Whether looking for projects with the potential to address critical global issues over the next five years &ndash; to create a successful GLOBAL+5 festival &ndash; tracing the development of stories on our website, or finding relevant features to share with our readers in more than 30 countries, these three criteria have been omnipresent.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">For anyone concerned with the future, innovation, impact and sustainability provide a good compass. As we maintain our unwavering focus on the corporate world, governments, academia, social business, NGOs and simple citizens, we will continue to keep these criteria in mind to better understand global politics. This year, our new leader in the Top 100 NGOs ranking is Bangladeshi development giant BRAC. More than the sum of its &ndash; substantial &ndash; parts, the organization has transcended its origins in the microfinance revolution of the 1970s to represent a model for how NGOs can continue to evolve and innovate while remaining true to their underlying social mission.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Speaking of wide-open eyes, historians seem to be back in business. If we believe that economists, occupying the forefront of the media scene for a decade now, deserve a say when it comes to our collective future, then why should historians, scientists, geographers, architects, philosophers, writers, poets, doctors and so many others not be granted a similar chance? There is a sense of fatigue with the dominance of the economic perspective in public life. Voices like those of David Armitage, at Harvard, or Mark Mazower at Columbia, dare to challenge mainstream views &ndash; the 25-word sound bites framing the world through numbers and fear. Economists are rarely joyful &ndash; their basic rhetoric is imbued with the detritus of doomed plans.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Let&rsquo;s change our perspective and open ourselves to the possibility of identifying new patterns and paths to govern the planet by looking back to the lessons of the past. Plutarch and his twin-portraits of leaders would certainly have liked the idea. In part, the innovation we require to advance is rooted right there. Still with wide-open eyes, read Thomas Davies on the long and turbulent history of NGOs, and Jonathan Katz&rsquo;s eyewitness account of how the world came to save Haiti and left a disaster.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Bearing in mind that a few great debates began or escalated in the past year, in the fields of health, Internet governance, climate change and energy policy, global politics is heading step by step toward a worldwide call to citizens. How do we make sure that the voice of the people is heard amidst ever more complex disputes? <em>The Global Journal </em>works on a simple premise &ndash; in an honest and independent fashion &ndash; that in-depth journalism remains a great asset when it comes to understanding the world we live in.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Post-script:</em> to celebrate 2013, our fourth year in publishing, I hope you will enjoy the changes to our design thanks to Dimitri. I&rsquo;m not sure where he sits at this very moment &ndash; whether in Australia, Mexico, the United States or elsewhere &ndash; he is a globe trotter and a fantastic global designer. B&eacute;n&eacute;dicte, our French designer, is now putting her hand to our second publication, Global Geneva. Feel free to read it whenever you visit us.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Subscribe</a> or order a copy of <em>The Global Journal&nbsp;</em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>The Boundaries of Life2013-01-09T17:57:08Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F6c%2F79%2F6c799e60b6b1b6dd43996c08ccf1db90.jpg" alt="On Borders" width="414" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>On Borders, Ostkreuz Agency Photographers, Hatje Cantz, &ETH;38.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">They offer protection, lead to war, limit freedom or enable it; they have always been there and will continue to exist: borders. Hardly anything else is as socially ambivalent, as timeless and as relevant. The Ostkreuz Agency was founded when what was probably the most important border in the history of Germany &ndash; the Berlin Wall&ndash; disappeared. Two decades later, its photographers set out on a search for today&rsquo;s frontiers. Their pictures portray groups of indigenous peoples battling for their land in Canada, homosexuals in Palestine seeking exile in the enemy country of Israel, and the discovery of state identity in South Sudan. The focus is always on people: how do boundaries influence their everyday lives?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>On Borders</em> covers many borders dissecting the planet, but there are some that seem less recognized: European borders. Many European Union (EU) citizens have experienced a changing and expanding border as EU territory is extended. Most who enter the EU illegally still elect to take the route from Turkey to Greece, which leads across the Evros River or along a country road. But the days when countries tried to halt these migrants with barbed wire, police and guard dogs are over. Ever since the advent of the Frontex Agency, a kind of common EU border patrol, technology is being upgraded along the edges of Europe.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img style="margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" src="/s3/cache%2F5c%2F07%2F5c071f2babf0bd8778938fc335c255b7.jpg" alt="Borders" width="180" height="219" />Using infrared cameras, motion detectors and electric fences &ndash;alarmingly resembling human traps&ndash; more and more immigrants are being turned away. But still more are taking their chances. In 2011, according to Frontex&rsquo;s report, the number of individuals arrested rose by 35 percent from 104,000 in 2010 to 141,000 in 2011. In the future, the organization plans to use robots and drones. Walking in Athens today, one can see an increasing number of illegal immigrants wandering the streets, looking for any opportunity to eat and make a living.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>On Borders</em> is made by exceptional journalists using their cameras to inspire us to observe and reflect. We need more books like this.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">- JCN</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Subscribe</a>&nbsp;or order a copy of&nbsp;</span><em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">The Global Journal.&nbsp;</a></em></p>The Battle for the Future of the Internet?2012-12-02T18:44:04Z<p style="text-align: justify;"><a rel="nofollow" href="../view/906/" target="_blank">The World Conference on International Communications</a> (WCIT-12) begins in Dubai on 3 December. Convened by the <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/907/" target="_blank">ITU</a>, the UN agency in charge of telecommunications, WCIT-12 looms as a turning point for the Internet&rsquo;s governing rules and economic model. In all, representatives of 193 countries will come together to review the <em>International Telecommunication Regulations</em> (ITR) agreed in Melbourne 25 years ago.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Singing from the same songbook as web juggernaut Google, the US government is strongly opposed to any changes to the treaty, arguing the Internet has nothing to do with &lsquo;traditional&rsquo; telecommunications, and &ndash; more ominously &ndash; that freedom is at stake. In contrast to this &lsquo;no changes proposed&rsquo; plan, other member states are likely to bring different perspectives and ideas to feed into discussions at the 11-day event. The fight is growing increasingly vocal.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Constructing a fairytale usually requires a cast of &lsquo;bad guys.&rsquo; Vladimir Putin declares that WCIT-12 should address Internet governance, and you get the plot line that Russia wants to control the Internet and its infrastructure networks. Ditto China. Add the apparent influence of Dr <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/915/" target="_blank">Hamadoun Tour&eacute;</a>, ITU&rsquo;s Malian Secretary-General who received his PhD in the former USSR, to the mix. Now we have all the necessary threads to point to a thinly-disguised attempt to seize cyber control in the best Cold War style. What a nice (paranoid) story &ndash; supported by no substantive evidence.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">For the US chorus preaching doomsday scenarios, it is the &lsquo;threat&rsquo; of centralized control &ndash; and the alleged implications for increased governmental censorship &ndash; that is presented as the defining question at stake. In essence, their argument goes that the Internet in its current form is a pure and perfect example of a democratic, decentralized system. A fairytale. While the old credo by David Clark &ndash; &ldquo;we reject presidents, kings and voting; we believe in rough consensus and running code&rdquo; &ndash; is part of the web wonderland hagiography, it&rsquo;s not reflective of reality. The Internet works because it operates according to agreed principles, rules and &ndash; yes &ndash; centralized control.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Campaigning fiercely against the fact ITU member states have dared to show an interest in their turfs, Google maintains &ndash; mainly through its Vice President, <a rel="nofollow" href="../../group/who-who/article/913/" target="_blank">Vint Cerf</a>&nbsp;-&nbsp;that the Internet is not governed, except through an informal multi-stakeholder model supposedly representing the Internet &lsquo;community&rsquo;.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Such a philosophy would obviously make sense except for three small &lsquo;details&rsquo;: one government is controlling most of the structurally key &lsquo;independent&rsquo; stakeholders (the US); there is no legitimate and accessible forum to ensure a fair and equal voice for all &lsquo;community&rsquo; players; and the greatest lack of transparency is found not at the ITU, but within Google and its web of public and private sector partners in the US today enjoying the lion&rsquo;s share of Internet revenues &ndash; whether flowing from marketing, advertising, transit and peering, infrastructure, software or hardware.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In fact, despite never really owning the Internet, the US government &lsquo;offered&rsquo; control of its root server &lsquo;backbone&rsquo; and policy-generating function to a private Californian association &ndash; the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) &ndash; that has been described accurately by University of Miami Law Professor, <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/926/" target="_blank">Michael Froomkin</a>, as engaged in activities representing &ldquo;US governmental regulation in all but name.&rdquo; Phrases like &ldquo;conflict of interest&rdquo;, &ldquo;collusion&rdquo;, &ldquo;non-transparency&rdquo; and &ldquo;corruption&rdquo; are never far away when describing the organization&rsquo;s activities and governance.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Having done so, the cherry on the cake would be announcing to the public at large that the transfer of control from governmental to private hands should be viewed as a great success story. This is what happened in <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/873/">1998</a>, despite fierce resistance from the late <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/912/" target="_blank">Jon Postel</a>. As a leading American computer scientist, one of the founding fathers of the Internet and &lsquo;ruler&rsquo; of its original governance structure, Postel attempted to save the Internet from falling into the control of government hands. Postel died, however, just weeks before <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/914/" target="_blank">Ira Magaziner</a>, the White House Special Advisor heading an ad hoc interagency task force on electronic commerce, was able to claim full victory over the academics and researchers who were, until then, managing the central root server system.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The second element of the fairytale concerns censorship. Despite fear mongering by the Cerf-endorsed &lsquo;Stop the Net Grab&rsquo; campaign of the International Trade Union Confederation, the reality is that any country today has the ability to control its own cyberspace, blocking or censoring any of its citizens. At the same time, censorship of Internet-based speech has proven difficult, as recent global tumult toppling repressive government regimes has shown.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">So, where does that leave us? If the pre-WCIT-12 rhetoric of a threatened end to our current Internet Eden obscures the reality of an online world built around a handful of US-controlled root servers, and where restrictive governmental intervention already occurs on a daily basis (with little condemnation from major sectoral players), then what should we be really focused on in Dubai?</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">At the most basic level, &lsquo;net neutrality&rsquo; refers to non-discrimination in transiting data packets. For years, data delivery was based on a &lsquo;best effort&rsquo; principle &ndash; every connected network operator would do their best to transfer data, with no timing guarantee, defined hierarchy, nor specific quality requirement. But today, all web-based businesses are well aware that speed improves end-user experience, and boosts revenues. On top of constant increases in traffic, video streaming has also emerged as a significant bandwidth consumer. Fierce competition is pushing the market to secure &lsquo;quality of service&rsquo; guarantees around resolution, smooth play and start-up time. A portion of the data circulating today over the Internet will increasingly be subject to contractual commitments, and will need, therefore, to secure top-priority <em>laissez-passer</em>. Step by step, the speed issue is creating a split between &lsquo;economy class&rsquo; data, and &lsquo;premium&rsquo; and &lsquo;first class&rsquo; data. Only those with the money to pay will be able to afford the best speed and quality.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Another significant element of the &lsquo;speed battle&rsquo; relates not to data flows, but to capacity. We know that emerging and developing economies are already slow on their own infrastructure development, and facing challenging conditions to identify additional funds to build necessary facilities and purchase necessary equipment to offer, or increase, broadband access. A parallel infrastructure divide between broadband and non-broadband countries will exacerbate the split in data &lsquo;classes&rsquo;. Similarly, revenues will inevitably follow technology &ndash; more to the rich, less to the poor.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The question of revenues leads us to the most critical issue on which US actors have been conspicuously silent &ndash; the payment model for operating service provision. <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/905/" target="_blank">ETNO</a>, the 50 member European Telecommunications Network Operators&rsquo; Association driving broadband growth in Europe, has suggested to ITU member states a revision of Article 3 of the Melbourne treaty:</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;Operating Agencies shall endeavor to provide sufficient telecommunications facilities to meet requirements of, and demand for, international telecommunication services. For this purpose, and to ensure an adequate return on investment in high bandwidth infrastructures, operating agencies shall negotiate commercial agreements to achieve a sustainable system of fair compensation for telecommunications services and, where appropriate, respecting the principle of sending party network pays.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">ETNO can, like any other entity, defend and push its ideas to all member states, which may or may not endorse them as a formal &lsquo;proposal&rsquo; at WCIT-12. A &lsquo;paying sender&rsquo; principle would place the US, however, in a premium position as a payer. The current situation is actually the opposite: in effect, a &lsquo;paying receiver&rsquo; system. When, for example, a citizen of Botswana uses Google&rsquo;s search engine, the relevant operating agency of Botswana will ultimately have to pay the operator sending the data. Consequently, when a massive spam campaign is enacted, the consumption of bandwidth is assigned to the receivers. Few people realize that the largest share of spam, if not conceived in the US, is sent from American servers. Naturally, these servers are paid for the service. Yet, this also creates a &lsquo;consumption of bandwidth&rsquo; for the receivers, resulting in greater usage charges.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Switching to a model that combines both principles &ndash; that is, where sending and receiving parties each contribute to bandwidth infrastructure costs &ndash; would modify the distribution of revenues between operating agencies. Most significantly, American actors would have to pay other national operators. Part of the redistribution could be used to assist emerging and developing countries develop broadband infrastructure, reducing the technological deficit and boosting economic growth. Google &ndash; amongst other big senders &ndash; would be unable to continue using freely the worldwide infrastructure network for which it did not spend a penny. The fact that Google is building its own CDN centers is not comparable, albeit the company&rsquo;s actions may indirectly help to resolve its data &lsquo;traffic jams&rsquo; by locating content closer to end users, and reducing the &lsquo;journey&rsquo; of data packets. Amending the <em>ITR</em> to introduce a new payment approach would be revolutionary &ndash; a revolution not welcomed, however, by US interests.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Ultimately, there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy emanating from the present Internet governance discourse. The infrastructural backbone is controlled, revenue is controlled and content is controlled. The voices speaking out in defense of decentralization benefit from the veiled centralization of the status quo, while the fairy tale of foreign bogeymen diverts attention from systemic imbalances that tilt the playing field in the interests of US actors. The grey zone where US officials and people like Cerf mingle is larger than meets the eye. But that is a bedtime story for another night.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Read the original article on <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">The Huffington Post</a></em><em><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">.</a></em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em></em>This artice has To learn more about the future of Internet <a rel="nofollow" href="../view/873/" target="_blank">click here</a>.&nbsp;</p>