[At-Large] Say Whut!

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Dec 17 07:10:05 UTC 2018

On 17/12/18 3:08 AM, bzs at TheWorld.com wrote:
> The World Trade Organization might be another model which isn't ICANN
> (a bag of contracts) but isn't the UN either.
> No doubt other analogues could be dredged up.
> Granted the WTO is a system of multinational nation-state treaties but
> nonetheless it exhibits parallels to what some are expressing in a
> supranational governance body. In particular dispute resolution
> mechanisms.

For WTO to be the primary body to arbitrate Internet/ digital issues
would be first to declare the Internet, and the digital arena generally,
to be primarily a commercial space and issue, which would be suicidal...
We already suffer greatly from the fact that the first policy framework
ever around the Internet -- back in 1997 --  was the US's 'Framework for
electronic global commerce
... Apart from declaring the Internet as primarily a commercial space, t
ordained that the 'private sector shall lead' and governments should
stay as far away as possible, and also, in consonance, called for the
Internet and electronic commerce to be a tariff free zone.

In short, the Internet was declared as essentially neo-liberal, and as
the Internet and digital has permeated every sphere and arena, it indeed
has become an exceptionally strong no-liberalising force over the last
two decades. It should be no coincidence that this period has also seen
the steepest rise in equalities ever across the world, which underlies
much of the social and political unrest that we witness today...

We do not want to further aggravate the original sin that US policy
makers did to take Internet/ digital governance to the WTO....

Internet should primarily be recognised as a collaborative social space,
which inter alia also allows commercial interactions and economic
reorganisation. Its rules and regimes should be informed with this first
principle. And that would require a very different kind of international
governance of the Internet/ digital, which, if there is appetite here
for that, we can discuss..

      best, parminder

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