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FW: Self-Perpetuating Exclusive Societies
From: Jim Fleming[SMTP:JimFleming]
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 1997 2:01 PM
Cc: 'Tony Rutkowski - Chaos'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com';
'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Donald Heath'; 'ISOC-Trustees@isoc.org';
'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Stef@nma.com'; 'Vinton G. Cerf'
Subject: Self-Perpetuating Exclusive Societies
Duane Little[SMTP:aadn1@NWI.NET] wrote:
@The gTLD/POC/CORE proposal is unfortunately, itself a foray into Net
@governance which I believe violates principles likely to be a part of
@such a document. For instance, it represents a degree of exclusivity,
@and evasion of oversight and democratic influence which I find
@abhorrent, for example in its admission of registrars and the
@composition of its policy-making bodies, especially the POC.
@Hopefully, even if the gTLD plan is implemented, it will not set the
@standard for future governance movements.
It should not be surprising that the CORE movement(s) that have
developed from the IAHC plan represent a "degree of exclusivity".
That is the nature of the groups and people that developed those
plans. Those people have developed another, self-perpetuating,
exclusive society, PAB-POC-CORE. If you recall, they were
asked to provide "advice". Instead, they appointed themselves
to positions of control and have cloned a self-perpetuating monster
that was never needed, but will likely never go away.
Let's look at some of the groups that helped to develop the
PAB-POC-CORE, in particular the NSF, the ISOC and the ITU.
As you will see, they are all self-perpetuating exclusive societies.
They primarily exist to self-perpetuate themselves. They provide no
inherent value. This is like a labor union that collects dues ONLY
to pay the people that collect the dues with no concern for the
real purpose of the union.
NSF - This group is primarily composed of academics who are
given a $3.5 billion dollar per year budget to hand out to their
cronies who are distributed around the U.S. and the world. This
is an exclusive club that spends very little time doing leading
edge research, but instead traveling and politicing about which
of the "good old boys" will get the budget (this year) for some
10 year old research proposal. There is little accountability and
apparently the Congress and the U.S. Taxpayers view the
$3.5 billion as "noise" in the scheme of things. The whole thing
could be run as a random lottery and acheive about the same
results and we would not need the bloated group of NSF employees
in Washington, D.C. trying to make sure only the "right" people
get the funding in their "exclusive" club. It is ironic that the NSF
should be educating people and one would hope would be
educating the Congress who gives them their budget. This is
not the case, the NSF spins one story to the Congress and
another behind the scenes on the Internet. This will end when
Congress compares the two stories.
ISOC - This group is a very small club that recruits people who
apparently aspire to be a member of the Internet elite. RFCs are
now documents which have little engineering value but instead
are editted to be politically correct and to make sure only the
right people's views are included. Furthermore, the ISOC does
not represent all people on the Internet (as they claim) because
if one reads their various writings and testimonies they do not
even mention the activities which are not theirs. Since the Internet
is now very well understood in most developed nations, the ISOC
has to focus on the "Internet Frontier" that exists where third-world
countries are getting connected. It is natural that the ISOC will
attract people in these emerging countries by offering them the
appearance of "exclusivity". Those local ISOC "chapters" can
be portrayed as having a higher position in the social scene
than the local government. Politicos in these third-world countries
can fall for this because they see, that in the U.S., the ISOC has
tried to place itself above the law and the Congress with activities
such as the IAHC. Because of a lack of education and interest
on the part of Congress, this appearance gains credibility on
the Internet. As the Internet is hyped in the real world, people
are lead to believe that the Internet politicos have more power
than the real life politicos. This will be a short-lived phenomenon.
Education of the members of Congress will change this.
ITU - This group has historically helped third-world countries
with telecommunication policies and has helped to provide
those players with a voice. Much like the ISOC, the ITU recruits
a small minority of people who can rise above their local
governments to hold court out of Geneva, Switzerland with an
apparent United Nations sanction. The ITU offers these members
an "exclusive" way to collectively have a voice without being
concerned about whether that collective voice represents the
voice of the people in those countries. In many cases, the people
in those countries do not have a clue that they are represented
at the ITU. They are just trying to survive the hardships of life
and concerns about which hotel or restaurant to sample next
in the high-roller Geneva scene are not on their minds. The ITU
is now being used by the ISOC and the NSF to help provide
the international clout needed to confuse Congress and to make
the world think that the IAHC plan is good for the world. It is
a shame that the ITU has fallen for this. Via education, the
leaders of the ITU may see what has happened during the
Now, if we turn instead to representative government and the
much larger groups of people that should be represented in the
Internet decision-making, we see a very different situation. If we
look at the U.S. taxpayers as an "exclusive group" we see that
they collectively elect people to represent them and to allocate
their tax dollars. Those people mostly huddle around Washington,
D.C. but each state capital also has its own exclusive club that
feeds the federal club.
The big difference in the U.S. "exclusive club" and the NSF,
ISOC and ITU exclusive clubs is diversity. In the U.S. many
people from many walks of life are represented. This starts
because they pay taxes (club dues) and then they elect
officials to decide how that collective money is spent. It is
an "inclusive" system because the U.S. encourages as many
people as possible to pay taxes and to get involved in the
The NSF, ISOC and ITU do not start by collecting taxes,
they start by selecting the "right people" to be in their club
and then they obtain some taxes to fund their exclusive
plans. Where do they get that money ? Yes, U.S. taxpayers.
In order to select the "right people" they have to spend
a lot of time making sure the rules for entry favor the people
they want. If you look at the legal quagmire that the IAHC
developed, you will see how many words are needed to
create barriers to entry that would never exist if the U.S.
Congress had developed such a plan.
I am confident that the U.S. Congress and the U.S. taxpayers
will eventually see through these "societies" and clubs and
will look at the real objective which is...
...REPRESENTATIVE Internet governance...
This will only come via education. Leaders of true democracies
need to be educated about the importance of making sure
that the governance of information technology remains in the
hands of elected officials and ultimately the people. If they
are not careful, historically exclusive clubs (like the NSF, ISOC
and ITU) will attempt to control the technology to their own
exclusive advantage and will prevent people from having a voice
in Internet governance. These clubs do not elect their leaders, their
leaders are annointed and appointed. They are not representative
groups and can not be expected to develop representative
systems of governance.
I urge everyone to EDUCATE the people who already provide
representative forms of governance. Those people need to
better understand how to bring Internet Governance into their
systems. The sooner they do that, the better off ALL people
will be and not just the members of the exclusive clubs
described above who can never be expected to develop
representative movements, if they did, they would cease to
exist...they are self-perpetuating, like the PAB-POC-CORE.
IBC, Tortola, BVI