[ALAC] At-Large: Part of the Private Sector? Part of Civil Society?

Wolf Ludwig wolf.ludwig at comunica-ch.net
Mon Aug 31 19:45:09 UTC 2015

Dear Alan and all,

that's a very valid point you raised below -- what BTW created some headaches during and after our recent briefing calls to me.

To me, the term and definition of Private Sector is too general and broad (anything besides government). And personally, I do not feel addressed and comfortable being subsumed under this term and category. For many people, I guess, it smells more like private enterprises and business sector.

When we usually and repetitious talk about "multi-"stakeholder approach and setup, there should be a bit more than just the Private Sector besides governments. And imprecise and generalizing terms may easily provoke misunderstandings, as we know. 

Consequently, when we always and fundamentally refer to the *multi-stakeholder model* at ICANN, we should reflect and list its diversity (at least like the IGF does) -- or add / include the "Voluntary Sector" what comprises individuals as well IMO.

My personal preference is still the term Civil Society according to the definitions by Wikipedia or the World Bank (you referred to) what is rather concise. On the other hand, I have (more and more) difficulties with our usual term "Users" what can be misleading again -- as I know from various discussions and remarks -- because generally, people working in / for governments and business employees are Internet users as well. For real outsiders (my neighborhood or the "man in the street") our term and definition of the "User" is not easily comprehensible.

Just my 2 cents with

 Alan Greenberg wrote Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:58:
>These two questions seem to be coming up regularly. The current draft 
>proposal of the CCWG-Accountability refers to ICANN being leg by the 
>"Private Sector (as opposed to the Public Sector - Governments), and 
>includes us in the Civil society part of the private sector.
>Looking at definitions can be useful. There are many of both terms.
>The most common definition of the Private Sector says it is 
>everything that is not funded or controlled by government. Many 
>definitions even explicitly list individuals as part of it. That 
>certainly includes us.
>Some definitions talk about three groups, the public sector, the 
>private sector (referring to for-profit organizations) and the 
>"Voluntary Sector". The latter certainly includes the formal parts of 
>At-Large, but really leaves individuals, who are no longer part of 
>ANY of the sectors.
> From my perspective, that means that if we are part of the "Private 
>Sector", we better be explicitly listed as such.
>I would appreciate hearing how these terms are defined in other 
>languages and cultures.
>The Wikipedia defines Civil Society as "aggregate of non-governmental 
>organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of 
>citizens." Civil society includes the family and the private sphere, 
>referred to as the "third sector" of society, distinct from 
>government and business.
>The World Bank has a more detailed definition: the term civil society 
>to refer to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit 
>organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the 
>interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, 
>cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic 
>considerations. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to 
>a wide of array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental 
>organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable 
>organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, 
>and foundations".
>In both definitions, Civil Society is listed as essentially being 
>defines as groups of one form or another. By those definitions, 
>At-large and our components parts are certainly civil society, but 
>the individuals whose interests we defend are not part of civil society per se.

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