Search Mailing List Archives

Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by: Reverse Sort
Limit to: All This Week Last Week This Month Last Month
Select Date Range     through    

[liberationtech] <nettime> Milton Mueller: Core Internet institutions abandon the US Government

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Sat Oct 12 15:10:34 PDT 2013

----- Forwarded message from nettime's_roving_reporter <nettime at> -----

Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2013 23:53:37 -0100
From: nettime's_roving_reporter <nettime at>
To: nettime-l at
Subject: <nettime> Milton Mueller: Core Internet institutions abandon the US Government
Reply-To: a moderated mailing list for net criticism <nettime-l at>

< >

The core Internet institutions abandon the US Government

   [Milton Mueller]

   October 11, 2013

   In Montevideo, Uruguay this week, the Directors of all the major
   Internet organizations - ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force,
   the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the
   Internet Society, all five of the regional Internet address registries
   - turned their back on the US government. With striking unanimity, the
   organizations that actually develop and administer Internet standards
   and resources initiated a break with 3 decades of U.S. dominance of
   Internet governance.

   [15]A statement released by this group called for "accelerating the
   globalization of ICANN and IANA functions, towards an environment in
   which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an
   equal footing." That part of the statement constituted an explicit
   rejection of the US Commerce Department's unilateral oversight of ICANN
   through the IANA contract. It also indirectly attacks the US unilateral
   approach to the Affirmation of Commitments, the pact between the US and
   ICANN which provides for periodic reviews of its activities by the GAC
   and other members of the ICANN community. (The Affirmation was
   conceived as an agreement between ICANN and the US exclusively - it
   would not have been difficult to allow other states to sign on as


   Underscoring the global significance and the determination of the group
   to have a global impact, the Montevideo statement was released in
   English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. In conversations
   with some of the participants of the Montevideo meeting, it became
   clear that they were thinking of new forms of multistakeholder
   oversight as a substitute for US oversight, although no detailed
   blueprint exists.

   But that was only the beginning. A day after the Montevideo
   declaration, the President and CEO of ICANN, Fadi Chehadi - the man
   vetted by the US government to lead its keystone Internet governance
   institution - met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. And at this
   meeting, Chehade engaged in some audacious private Internet diplomacy.
   He asked "the president [of Brazil] to elevate her leadership to a new
   level, to ensure that we can all get together around a new model of
   governance in which all are equal." A press release from the Brazilian
   government said that President Rousseff [16]wanted the event to be held
   in April 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. The President of ICANN thus not only
   allied himself with a political figure who has been intensely critical
   of the US government and the NSA spying program, he conspired with her
   to convene a global meeting to begin forging a new system of Internet
   governance that would move beyond the old world of US hegemony.


   Make no mistake about it: this is important. It is the latest, and one
   of the most significant manifestations of the fallout from the Snowden
   revelations about NSA spying on the global Internet. It's one thing
   when the government of Brazil, a longtime antagonist regarding the US
   role in Internet governance, gets indignant and makes threats because
   of the revelations. And of course, the gloating of representatives of
   the International Telecommunication Union could be expected. But this
   is different. Brazil's state is now allied with the spokespersons for
   all of the organically evolved Internet institutions, the
   representatives of the very "multi-stakeholder model" the US purports
   to defend. You know you've made a big mistake, a life-changing mistake,
   when even your own children abandon you en masse.

   Here at the Internet Governance Project we take only a grim
   satisfaction in this latest turn of events. We have been urging the USG
   to end its privileged role and complete the privatization of the DNS
   management for nearly ten years. The proper substitute for unilateral
   Commerce Department oversight, we argued, was not multilateral
   "political oversight" but[17] an international agreement articulating
   clear rules regarding what ICANN can and cannot do, an agreement that
   explicitly protects freedom of expression and other individual rights
   and liberal Internet governance principles. We have heard every
   argument imaginable about why this did not have to happen: no one
   really cared about the governance of the DNS root; there was no better
   alternative; the rest of the world secretly wanted the US to do this;
   etc., etc. A combination of arrogance, complacency and domestic
   political pressure prevented any action.


   Had that advice been heeded, had the US sought to divest itself of its
   unilateral oversight on its own initiative, it could have exercised
   some control over the transition and advanced its cherished values of
   freedom and democracy. It could have ensured, for example, that an
   independent ICANN was subject to clear limits on its authority and to
   new forms of accountability, which it badly needs. Now the U.S. has
   lost the initiative, irretrievably. The future evolution of Internet

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact: nettime at

----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820
AC894EC5: 38A5 5F46 A4FF 59B8 336B  47EE F46E 3489 AC89 4EC5

More information about the liberationtech mailing list