A Fond Farewell

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For example, a process may develop legitimacy when it is open to any participant and utilizes consensus decision making, such as the IETF. One key benefit of multi-stakeholder processes is that they can include and engage all interested parties. These parties can include industry, civil society, government, technical and academic experts and even the general public. The Internet is a diverse, multi-layered system that thrives only through the cooperation of many different parties. Solving or even meaningfully discussing policy issues in this space requires engaging these different parties. Indeed, by encouraging the participation of all interested parties, multi-stakeholder processes can foster broader and more creative problem solving.


Another key element is consensus decision-making. For a multi-stakeholder group to succeed, its members must know that they will be the ones to make the decision -- not someone else --and that it must be a consensus decision. Some countries or organizations have run what they call multistakeholder processes that in reality are only consultations because the so-called multi-stakeholder group is not empowered to make the final decision. When groups know that they control the final decisions, they are more likely to put in the extra effort often needed to reach a true consensus. Usually, reaching consensus requires making compromises but participants are more willing to compromise when a group feels that reaching a shared decision is the most important goal. Otherwise, stakeholders who are satisfied with the status quo can be destructive to a multi-stakeholder process.


Clearly, the multi-stakeholder model has a successful record of accomplishment when it comes to technical Internet issues. All of us have watched in awe over the past two years as the global Internet community has engaged in one of the most compelling demonstrations of a multi-stakeholder process ever undertaken through the work on the IANA stewardship transition."


Shades of OFCOM again? It was also remiss of me not to point out that this Transition occurred on the same date as the Chinese Currency became part of the IMF reserve currency basket. Instead I preferred to leave this fiat acompli to the rampant paranoia of the JMB to get their heads around.

However, I should point out that the multi-stakeholder model adopted was devised by Klaus Schwab and itself is the underlying operational ethos underpinning the World Economic Forum, which gathers in Davos. [Incidentally, I note that to coincide with this years event Klaus has expanded on his Foreign Affairs article I quoted previously from by producing a book of the same title.] 

From the NTIA accompanying Fact Sheet extracts state:

* The IANA transition is the culmination of a nearly 20-year effort to privatize the Internet domain name system (DNS). This has been a goal of Democratic and Republican administrations since 1997. The U.S. Government has worked with businesses, technical experts, governments, and civil society to establish a multi-stakeholder, private-sector led system for the global coordination of the DNS.
* The transition is not a radical proposal being rushed through by President Obama. The transition has been the policy of the U.S. Government for nearly two decades spanning three administrations. The transition plan was developed through consensus during the past two years by hundreds of stakeholders around the world. Stakeholders are ready for this transition now.
* The transition will help maintain the open global Internet. The IANA transition will help maintain the global open Internet by supporting and enhancing the multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance. The multi-stakeholder approach is a key reason why the Internet has grown and thrived. It brings businesses, technical experts, civil society groups, and other stakeholders together to solve policy and technical challenges on a consensus basis.
* The transition promotes Internet freedom. The best way to preserve Internet freedom is to depend on the community of stakeholders who own and operate, transact business and exchange information over the Internet. Free expression is protected by the open, decentralized nature of the Internet, the neutral manner in which the technical aspects of the Internet are managed, and the commitment of stakeholders to maintain openness.
* The IANA transition is in the best interest of U.S. businesses and global e-commerce. American and global businesses rely on a global, interoperable, and secure Internet DNS to facilitate the free flow of goods and services online. The IANA transition will preserve a secure, stable, and resilient Internet DNS, which is why businesses of all sizes support the transition.
* The U.S. Government opposes United Nations control of the Internet. The transition plan does not replace NTIA's role with a government-led or intergovernmental solution. Corporate governance experts found the prospects for a takeover of ICANN to be extremely remote. ICANN is in no way akin to the United Nations.
* The United States does not control the Internet. No one controls or owns the Internet. It is a decentralized network of networks that has operated with the cooperation and through the consensus of a wide array of stakeholders, predominantly from the private sector. The Internet is not ours to give away. By supporting multi-stakeholder Internet governance, we make certain the Internet becomes no other nations' to take.

There you have it.


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