[AfrICANN-discuss] Some inspirational reading on IG issues

Ben Fuller abutiben at gmail.com
Tue Aug 27 14:29:41 SAST 2013

Did Lerato Ma get a new job?

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 27, 2013, at 13:04, McTim <dogwallah at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Pierre,
> This article contains much hyperbole and some factual inaccuracies.
> There are more than 2 root server operators outside the US, and many
> more rootservers (some in Africa) that sit in dozens of other
> countries.  the root-server system is NOT the "backbone of the
> Internet", etc
> I think it is inspirational only to the ITU folks who want a larger role in IG!
> The globaljournal is a Geneva based pro-ITU propagandist.  I've
> written about their hypocrisy before at:
> http://www.circleid.com/posts/20121127_potkettleblack_the_real_hypocrisy_threatening_future_of_internet/
> -- 
> Cheers,
> McTim
> "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A
> route indicates how we get there."  Jon Postel
> On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 6:07 AM, Dandjinou Pierre <pdandjinou at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Just sharing this one..And probably some questions on where Africa does
>> stand on IG issues?
>> Pierre
>> http://theglobaljournal.net/group/digital-news/article/1121/
>> And Now The Second Battle Of The Internet
>> by Jean-Christophe Nothias - Editor June 13, 2013
>> The Verizon or PRISM or Snowden affair, revealed by The Guardian, marks a
>> turning point in the history – a very young history – of the Internet and
>> its governance 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
>> ‘foreigners’ who have a Google account and other Internet industry
>> heavyweights. We are talking about the very core of Internet governance
>> currently under American domination.
>> 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 “multi-stakeholder” 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.
>> 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.
>> 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 ‘foreign citizens’ – 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.
>> 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 ‘policies’ – 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.
>> One such founding father was Dr Jonathan Postel, 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 “Colonel Postel” upon his arrival at the Pentagon – 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’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 “civilian” 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.
>> 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 International Telecommunications Union (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.
>> 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 – 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 Chehadé aims to improve this perception – 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?
>> From the very beginning, the famous 13 servers forming the Internet’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.
>> 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
>> ‘digital’ human rights.
>> A more pragmatic and responsible approach can be seen right by the southern
>> border of the US. Mexican President Peña Nieto is among those advocating for
>> greater equality, working to enshrine a right to broadband access in his
>> country’s constitution. He turned this into reality on 10 June, when he
>> signed the Constitutional Reform Regarding Telecommunications and Economic
>> Competition.  In the same breath, his initiative will break the monopolies
>> that controlled Mexico for years. The fortune of the current owner of the
>> New York Times, 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 – indeed, an approving government. Some voices are speaking
>> out, such as former White House official Susan Crawford, 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: “digital human rights do
>> not exist in legal terms, but it is a unifying theme that pleases users.”
>> 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.
>> Yet the so-called ‘closed’ 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: “the word Internet shall not be included in the new treaty” and
>> “do not talk to journalists without authorization.” All this in the name of
>> web freedom.
>> 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. “At this stage, there is or remains no obvious
>> reason justifying a conflict between the new Treaty (proposed in Dubai) and
>> the benefits.” It was already known as such before Dubai.
>> The argument put forward by the EU to not support the Dubai update of the
>> International Telecommunications Regulations was linked to the proposal to
>> use in the new treaty the expression “all operators” rather than “recognized
>> operating agencies.” The reason for this – non-authorized extension of the
>> treaty. Seeking to maintain good diplomatic relations, it was possible to
>> sign the treaty while imposing a “reservation” 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.
>> 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’s authority. With any such
>> international law ratified by the US, the request from the CIA to transfer
>> all user information from private operators like Verizon, Google and others
>> 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.
>> A few days ago, during a WTPF session – an intergovernmental forum under the
>> aegis of the ITU – Brazil submitted an opinion for endorsement, which was
>> met with consensus. “Governments worldwide should discuss Internet
>> governance in the framework of the ITU, as a crucial element in the
>> multi-stakeholder system.” The American response, supported by Sweden, the
>> United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany was, in essence, “come see us in
>> Washington, we will see what we can do for you.” 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.
>> 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 – to start with, the US government and its industrial champions.
>> --
>> Pierre Dandjinou
>> Cotonou - 229 90 087784 / 66566610
>> Dakar 221 77 639 30 41
>> www.scg.bj
>> skype : sagbo1953
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