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Q2: ISOC and the WSIS process

What do you feel was the significance of the WSIS process to date (as it relates to ISOC) and do you think ISOC should be more or less involved in the coming Internet Governance Forum? What is your sense of the method in which ISOC has participated in recent Internet governance events, and how successful do you think it has been. Do you think that we should change our positioning and if so, how?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Tuesday, March 28th, 2006 at 3:33 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Q2: ISOC and the WSIS process”

  1. Comment by: Artur Serra   
    March 30th, 2006 at 6:40 am

    My impression is that the term Internet Governance Forum as, the same WSIS initiative, comes from the hierarchical, top down tradition of the national burocracies, not from the Internet culture. But ISOC cannot ignore the world we live.
    My position is that ISOC should participate in this forum to explain with lot of patience and didactic skills how really Internet works and how goverments and companies should adapt the Internet global distributed model, instead the other way around.

  2. Comment by: Bill St.Arnaud   
    March 30th, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    I think this is the most important issue facing ISOC today. The Internet community needs an organization that can speak on their behalf which has a large constitutency. I agree with Artur that ISOC needs to participate in IGF – not because it subscribes to the views of the various participants of the IGF (or WSIS) but to patiently explain the complex issues.

    Also there are many, many stakeholders at IGF and WSIS who claim to speak on behalf of various constitutences – but provide no evidence that they actually do so. ISOC is one of the few non-government organizations that has a large Internet grass roots membership

    Therefore I think it is also important that ISOC expand its direct membership to further substantiate its legtimacy.

  3. Comment by: Franck   
    March 30th, 2006 at 9:25 pm

    The WSIS process came too early and too late. Usually policies issues are discussed at the local, national, regional level and then moved at the international level for coordination and standardisation. Many developping countries did not have an idea on the Information Society but the WSIS got them to develop policies and action plans. Been at such gathering could be frustrating as time for speech is short, however preparation and information documents are important. ISOC did a great job in having information documents to explain to government officials and NGOs how the Internet works. The creation of ISOC ambassadors was a great initiative and it should be encouraged, as I highlighted in the past. We often wear our organisation/company hat but could be easily wearing the ISOC hat if properly briefed. May be not exactly as an ISOC representative but more as an ISOC rapporteur.
    ISOC missed its role in the societal area (cf ISTF). The IGF is here, driven by governments but with broad participation, I think the role of ISOC and its chapter is to encourage communication between all stakeholders at various levels, to provide information on all Internet related issues. ISOC needs to be present at the IGF, but also needs to encourage its chapters to brief the people in the chapters region that will attend the IGF.

  4. Comment by: Richard Bell   
    April 6th, 2006 at 7:51 am

    The challenge with the whole WSIS/IGF process is that (as allways) the same issues mean different things to different people. When different stakeholder groups have totally diverse (and often opposing) sets of aims and ambitions a degree of confrontation is inevitable.

    ISOC has a valuable role to play in ensuring that the debate between these diverse groups is an informed one and that the views of stakeholder groups who might not otherwise get heard are listened to during the process.

    Bottom line – ISOC must be involved, not necessarily as the “bringer of the perfect solution” but rather as the “voice of those who might no otherwise get heard or listened to or both”.

  5. Comment by: David Isenberg   
    April 16th, 2006 at 8:11 am

    WSIS needs clueful input from people who actually understand the Internet, and ISOC should be very active here to ensure that the telcos and governments of the world understand that a heavy hand will destroy the very properties that make the the Internet the success that it is today. I think the best that ISOC can do is (a) forestall WSIS attempts at command-and-control governance and (b) keep the discussion going.

  6. Comment by: Spencer Dawkins   
    April 24th, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    The WSIS process started out trying to solve a really important problem (bridging the “digital divide”), but got sidetracked along the way. Prepcom meeting discussion turned out to be just a little too light on technology, and a little too heavy on politics. ISOC needs to speak for end users who aren’t interested in who knows who owns the root zone.

    The result of upcoming Internet Governance Forum meetings could certainly be an increase in digital protectionism that decays into an even more fragmented Internet.

    ISOC participation in WSIS is one of its most important activities today (the only one that comes close is ISOC support of Internet Standards), and ISOC definitely needs to stay engaged in continued discussions on Internet Governance. There is just too little understanding of how the Internet works for ISOC to disengage from IGF.

  7. Comment by: Yan Baoping   
    April 27th, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    It is no doubt that WSIS is very important. ISOC should encourage its chapters actively participate in the IGF discussion through varied channels. ISOC itself should act as an organizer or a coordinator, ensures the smoothness of information exchange and sharing between chapters. It is suggested that at the beginning of IGF, ISOC should not act as a whole.
    Since there are a wide range of issues being discussed in IGF, ISOC should establish its accountability in IGF gradually. ISOC should demonstrate its support to IGF and participate in issues relate to its chapters and the Internet community. However, I don’t anticipate ISOC involve deeply in international politics.