Ronda Hauben on 24 Jul 2000 15:02:42 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> PFIR Statement on Internet Policies, Regulations, and Control

>          PFIR Statement on Internet Policies, Regulations, and Control

Where is there a way to focus and welcome discussion on any of this?

It is good to see the recognition that ICANN is an anti-model for
Internet governance.

But in order to not just end up with a next generation ICANN it
is important to sort out the problems that ICANN represents,
and the principles needed to protect the vital functions of the 
Internet infrastructure from "vested interests"

>It is increasingly clear that the Internet, as embodied by the World Wide
>Web and a wide variety of other Net-based services and technologies is
>rapidly becoming a critical underpinning and foundation to virtually every
>aspect of our lives, from the very fundamental to the exceedingly mundane.

The Internet is *not* embodied by the World Wide Web but is a general
purpose interactive human computer communications system.

This is crucial to keep in mind and to rocognize. 

The efforts to deny the general purpose nature of the Internet
and the interactive nature of the Internet is at some of the 
basis of the problem with the conception of ICANN which has
been created to protect certain  very narrow vested interests.

>It is likely that few aspects of commerce, education, communications,
>government, entertainment, or any other facets of our daily existence will
>be unaffected by this exceedingly rapid change that is sweeping the globe
>far more rapidly than would have been anticipated only a few years ago.

Somehow this is secondary. 

The point is that the Internet is a unique new system and one 
that needs to be understood as something new, not as only an 
improvement of something old.

>These global and interconnected developments, unprecedented in human
>history, suggest that decisions regarding policies, regulation, control, and
>related Internet activities will be of crucial concern to the *entire*
>world's population.  Consequently, the proper representation of many varied
>interests regarding such activities must be respected.

Good to see the acknowledgment that the "entire" world's population
has an interest in the future of the Internet. But then one can't
go and try to talk about "proper representation".

The issue, instead, which a 1997 U.S. government report pointed out
is that there is a public interest involved.

This is different from representing different vested interests in
a so called "proper representation" way.

To determine how to fulfill the public interest one must go outside
of those with a vested interest.

So there is a need to determine how to serve the "public interest" 
and to contain and protect against the "vested interests".

Unfortunately the proposal you put forward still includes the 
"vested interests" only it enlarges the circle of these.

I want to recommend that Lauren and Peter and others interested
in the problem of how to provide the needed institutional form
to protect the vital functions of the Internet's infrastructure
look at the proposal I submitted to Ira Magaziner at his request
and then to the U.S. Department of Commerce before they even
had the ICANN proposal. 

My proposal is up at the NTIA web site and also at both of 
my web sites. It is called "The Internet an International Public
Treasure" and it is online at

It is also online at

I identify the problem that has to be solved, whereas I don't
feel the PFIR statement does. And that problem is how to protect
the vital functions of the Internet from the vested interests.

How to have these vital functions adminstered in a way that 
will serve the long term interests of the Internet and its
users around the world, all of them.

To do this there has to be a way to protect those doing the adminstration
from the vested interests who have narrow self interests they are 
trying to serve.

It won't help to put all of the vested interests into an organization
and give them representative rights. The problem to be solved is
how to protect the organization from them, not how to give them 
the ability to exerciese their power.

Also my proposal describes how to do this, and the way is in line
with the way that the Internet was born and reared. And that
is to create a working prototype based on the needs and to have
it function in the most open way possible and online as much 
as possible. And then to see if that prototype does what is
needed, and if so to build on it. And if not, to learn from the 
experience, to build a new and better prototype.

Also my proposal is that computer scientists supported by their
governments be the people who build this prototype, not business
people or others who don't have a way to understand the nature
of the technology and science that has made it possible to create
the Internet and to have it spread around the world.

It would be good to see some means of discussing my original proposal
to the Dept of Commerce, as part of any broader discussion that
goes on about what is needed to protect the vital functions of 
the Internet's infrastructure.

I welcome comments and discussion on my proposal "The Internet
An International Public Treasure" and invite 
people to disseminate it or to help find a means to give it the 
needed public discussion and exploration it should have.



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