[ALAC] ALAC statement on eG8

Marc Rotenberg rotenberg at epic.org
Tue May 24 01:41:27 UTC 2011

I was not aware that this process was underway. While I support
the sentiment, I believe a much stronger, less cryptic, document
could be submitted.

A draft is attached.


Marc Rotenberg.


Dear President Sarkozy and the organizers of The eG8,

            We are writing to you to express our concern regarding the upcoming e-G8 Forum, “The Internet: Accelerating Growth.” We are members of civil society organizations and others actively engaged in the promotion of civil society viewpoints on the future of the Internet.

            While we commend you for drawing attention to the importance of the Internet for the world’s leading economic countries, we are concerned that the program and policies under consideration at the eG8 reflect a narrow view of the interests of Internet users.

            Specifically, we note that many industry CEOs have been invited to participate in the conference, but few NGO leaders received similar invitations. The outcome is predictable: an emphasis on new economic models and investment opportunities for the benefit of business. But the word “consumer” appears no where on the program agenda, nor does the word “user”; the panel on “privacy” includes not a single NGO. A quick count indicates that about 80% of the speakers are business leaders.

             The system of Internet governance is based on a commitment to multi-stakeholder participation that reflects the views of the Internet community. Unfortunately, the eG8 is a top-heavy program that has left out the essential constituency of the Internet economy: the Internet user.

             This “corporatization” of the Internet policy process does not bode well for the future of the Internet. It will lead to dangerous concentrations of power and unaccountable decisionmaking.

            We urge future organizers of similar events to adopt a principle of “participation parity” --to ensure that civil society representatives appear in equal numbers to those of business representatives at international meetings of governments when the future of the Internet is discussed.

            Democratic societies, in particular, should demand no less.



On May 23, 2011, at 8:18 PM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond wrote:

> Dear members,
> a final version of the text which was originally drafted by Cintra
> Sooknanan, and supported by many, thus turning it into a proposed ALAC
> Statement on the eG8 Summit can be found on:
> https://community.icann.org/display/alacpolicydev/ALAC+Statement+on+the+eG8+Forum
> The comment period for amendments to this text is now closed, but prior
> to sending it, I wanted to answer a few questions which I have received,
> and also asked myself over the week-end.
> - Who is this Statement going to be sent to?
> There have been several proposals. It is clear that writing a statement
> for the sake of writing a statement and not sending it to anyone, would
> be a waste of time. In order to have the widest dissemination, and after
> enquiring, copies of this statement in English and in French will go to
> the following:
> - The person in charge of electronic communication at the Elysée Palace
> (who are the organizers of the eG8)
> - The French GAC representatives
> - The ICANN Board
> - Agence France Presse, Le Monde Newspaper, the eG8 Forum Organising
> Office (via an indirect vector)
> - Is this statement going to be ratified?
> Yes, this will be either ratified at the ALAC call on 24 May 2011 or in
> a 5-day vote after sending the statement out. We shall decide this as a
> group during the ALAC call. PLEASE READ IT BEFORE THE ALAC CALL ON 24
> MAY 2011.   
> - Why has this statement been drafted?
> The eG8 Forum is a direct result of the renewed interests that
> Governments have regarding the Internet. However, looking at the eG8
> Forum Agenda ( http://www.eg8forum.com/en/documents/EG8_Program.pdf ),
> it is clear that the speaker list is far from reflecting the worldwide
> Internet community as it exists today. Indeed, the speaker list is a
> world away from being multi-stakeholder.
> Several members of At-Large have voiced their opinion that the ALAC
> should send a statement to complain to the organisers of the eG8 Forum.
> Many other organisations around the world have already also written
> emails, letter and petitions to complain about the lack of
> multi-stakeholder participation. Rather than signing another
> organisation's petition or public letter, it was decided to write our
> own, targeted statement.
> - Isn't this outside the ALAC's realm of activity?
> That's a good question. The current ICANN bylaws define the ALAC's
> function in Article XI, Section 2.4.a:
> "a. The role of the At-Large Advisory Committee ("ALAC") shall be to
> consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN, insofar as they
> relate to the interests of individual Internet users."
> The eG8 conference organisers have sent invitations to attend the
> conference as a participant to several individuals at ICANN, including
> both ICANN's current CEO and Chairman. Clearly, ICANN's functions
> constitute an essential part of the Internet infrastructure. Yet, ICANN
> has not been given a speaking slot in a long line-up which is not short
> of private sector speakers:
> http://www.eg8forum.com/en/documents/EG8_Program.pdf
> As grassroots members of a bottom-up organisation, it is up to us, the
> Internet's users, to show our support of the ICANN multi-stakeholder
> model which affords us and all other stakeholders to have an equal input
> into the way the ICANN functions are developed. Our advice, as sent to
> the organisers of the eG8 conference, goes no further than supporting
> the multi-stakeholder model which is a core ICANN activity.
> This is a model that we need to defend through education and outreach.
> The statement is a clear attempt at doing just that.
> Kind regards,
> Olivier
> -- 
> Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD
> http://www.gih.com/ocl.html
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