Ronda Hauben on 24 Jul 2000 17:43:32 -0000

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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

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

>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

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

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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