Meaningful Multistakeholder Consensus

Meaningful Multistakeholder Consensus

The concern advertised against active national participation within the mechanisms that provide accountability to Internet governance is unsubstantiated by NTIA statements on the transition. In similitude to the Second Red Scare in the US, demagoguery is a tactic that will only be favored by aspiring technocrats due to a necessity to levitate an agenda over meaningful discourse.

The NTIA has stated that it will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution. In so much as the NTIA currently has no operational role and does not initiate changes to the authoritative root zone file, assignment of protocol numbers, or allocation of Internet numbering resources, global government participation in such operations, in a manner that promotes accountability and preserves security, should be considered inconsequential to any good faith decision to reject a proposal. On the contrary, the US would, by nature, be more inclined to accept a proposal that judiciously implements checks and balances to lend stability to the proposed system of governance.

Given the assumption that a separation of powers will suffice to allow for system-based regulation in which one governing organization limits another, the primary focus of proposal coordination should be the demarcation of powers in a bipartite or even tripartite system. Thereafter, the pertinent focus would be to identify and define the organizations in which will be vested the powers necessary to hold the other reciprocally accountable. Unfortunately, to date, critical demarcation points remain unaddressed within the operations of the root zone, rights protection, and community participation.

While the former points may be addressed through the operations of the Root Zone Maintainer and Trademark Clearinghouse functions, by an organization distinct to the IANA functions operator, the latter point is riddled by the complex marriage of the growing Internet Society, privy to its own clockwork, and local communities in general. Certainly, it would be hard to argue that most of the Groups delineated to coordinate proposal development are less aligned with the interests of a single parent organization than they are with those of the global multistakeholder community they should represent.

The severe underrepresentation of the global community beyond organizations affiliated with, or influenced by, the status quo threatens meaningful multistakeholder consensus on any resulting transition proposal. Governments naturally represent the interests of their people in the greater global dialogue, as businesses tend to represent their own interests. There should be no aversion to respecting the will of such representatives at the table of discussions related to Country Code Names, Root Server Security, Rights Protection Mechanisms, Internet Governance, and Accountability. In consideration of both the debts of time and the issues surrounding privacy that we hold dear, let us not stigmatize interested parties, who may wish to sit at the table remotely or even anonymously, in order to effectuate a mutually prosperous Internet for the Future we must share.