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Q4: Public Policy Issues

ISOC has provided a variety of services and activities related to public policy. It publishes briefings on the web for the education of its members. It participated extensively in WSIS and participates now in the IGF. It coordinated other volunteers and coordinated with organizational members, chapters and other Internet Community organizations in those discussions. It has hired consultants to advise on national ICT policy. Most recently, as part of our Chapter Development Program, and in an effort to expand our local policy and education activities, ISOC opened offices in Africa and Latin America. Many of our members and chapters consider national ICT policy a primary focus, working with ICANN and the RIRs among others in various ways. Organizational members have the opportunity to use ISOC as an additional correlative voice in the relevant fora. ISOC members and chapters have also directly advised government entities on the relationship between requirements for forensic access to the Internet, individual privacy, and the impacts of both on commerce as a small example of areas where we have been active.

What public policy issues do you believe will need to be addressed during your tenure, and how would you recommend that ISOC respond to them?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 11:41 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses to “Q4: Public Policy Issues”

  1. Comment by: Desiree Miloshevic   
    March 23rd, 2007 at 11:09 am

    ISOC must pursue a pre-eminent position of leadership, setting the global agenda for Internet policy issues. ISOC should continue to actively participate and lead in the multi-stakeholder Internet governance (IG) discussions.

    Like many other critical Internet coordinating institutions, ISOC has supported and collaborated in the creation of numerous, diverse research and publications on Internet protocols, policies, and institutions. ISOC should consider moving beyond these ad hoc efforts and compiling the first comprehensive Internet development guide for regulators and policy makers. While no “one size fits all” strategy will be appropriate for all places and stages of development, the last decade of policy exploration, trial, and sometimes error, have produced a wealth of documented experience and insights on the material, commercial, and regulatory conditions that accelerate (or deter) Internet growth and diffusion. An initiative like this could help to solidify ISOC’s position as the preeminent source of neutral technical and policy expertise in Internet-related matters, and could help to further accelerate the diffusion of knowledge and understanding to new and existing Internet stakeholders.

  2. Comment by: Alejandro Pisanty   
    March 25th, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    The public-policy issues identified by the Working Group on Internet Governance provide a good starting list, and in most of them ISOC has ability of its own, or with close cooperation to closely-related organizations, to effectively address them. They include issues related to access, openness, diversity, and security, such as governance of the DNS, IP address policy, capacity-building, interconnection costs, access to knowledge, freedom of speech, and many others. Notably the WGIG did not go deep into details of “intellectual property” and ISOC might. The Net Neutrality debate which has started in the United States may be added to the list, especially as it expands to other countries, if it is not considered as a subset of the “access” issue.

    Some of these issues are particularly relevant at national levels (issues like privacy, fraud, etc. which tend to be dealt with in national laws and public policies, for example, notwithstanding the fact that the Internet takes them across borders) so Chapters are the most likely point in which discussions and action will take place. Here, access to a knowledge base of public-policy action elsewhere will be especially valuable. Fostering the growth of a task force or discussion forum environment to share this knowledge and proven practices will be useful.

    Other issues have a dominantly global nature and are best addressed on the initiative of “headquarters” and carried through by Management calling on the support of Chapters, and, more importantly, through organizations that exist or have to be reinforced or created with ISOC’s collaboration. ISOC can provide a fertile way to interact with the IETF and other organizations setting technical standards for technologies that can be tools in solving policy issues, as well, and more uniquely, discuss the problems raised by some of these technologies, such as wireless broadband access, various kinds of filters, the meaning and use of open standards themselves and their relationship to other things called “open” such as Open Access, Open Software, etc.

    Enlightening and informing the communities (national and global) and providing grounds for informed, rational debate have to be the marks of this effort.

    The effectiveness of Chapters will be measured in this kind of field, and will be strongly enhanced by active support from Board and Management. The model has already been proven and should become more systematic.

  3. Comment by: Patrick Vande Walle   
    March 29th, 2007 at 12:43 am

    I question the idea that “Organizational members have the opportunity to use ISOC as an additional correlative voice in the relevant fora.” ISOC should address the concerns of its membership at large, for fear of becoming yet another industry lobbying group. This means that the ISOC policy positions should be that of its general membership, because this broad membership legitimates our positions.

    As mentioned in another comment, net neutrality, commercial and political censorship are some issues that are already happening now and need to be addressed.
    The lack of on international consensus on critical Internet resources, like the management of the DNS root zone file are still open to debate.

    Similarily, the openness of the Internet is being questioned under the influence of both governments for political reasons and companies imposing proprietary software with closed standards.

  4. Comment by: Olivier Muron   
    March 29th, 2007 at 5:11 am

    I think ISOC has been very effective in promoting the open and decentralized architecture of the Internet and its multi-stakeholder governance.
    The WGIG/WSIS process offered a good opportunity to educate the stakeholders on the Internet model (notably concerning the technical governance of the network). A great deal has been achieved thanks to ISOC’s work in this area at this occasion.
    The work of information, explanation, in close communication with members (chapters and org), needs to be pursued, as many stakeholders in the debates still need to be better informed about key Internet public policy issues.
    This has been, is and will remain a very important mission of the ISOC in the coming years, notably in the context of the IGF (see my response to Q2 for more details on the issues involved). A very active policy program is an essential priority for ISOC, directed toward many targets: government makers, influencers, press, etc.

  5. Comment by: Amitabh Singhal   
    March 29th, 2007 at 11:03 am

    While ISOCs role in Internet Governance is exemplary and needs to continued with complete vigour and support, we need to be mindful of the conflicting and often contradictory positions that emanate depending on what side you are from ie. government backed participants tend to build a fairly long list of what public policy must contain – thereby seeking or empowering themselves to build barricades against ideas of 1) ability to use the Internet and various applications over it to the fullest extent – controls on VOIP is an example, 2) ability to express freely by restricting privacy/anonimity – an example is the requirement for ISPs to keep logs of user activity, regulating the encryption methods, etc 3) open and fair competition relating to availability of interconection resources. These are some of the very core public policy orientation of ISOC. So the need is to review how far it has been able to work inclusively with various governments in turning around excess or high handed regulation targeting Internet.
    It is well known that most countries try and showcase their forward looking, futuristic ICT policies in name of public good, but interestingly do precious little to change ground realities.
    Therefore, ISOC will need to get involved, discuss more, debate more and mostly get very very active and become a key influencer in helping shape ‘deficient’ policies and regulations at national and regional levels.

  6. Comment by: Charles Mok   
    April 28th, 2007 at 4:29 am

    There are different needs and issues for public policy issues on the local or regional and global levels. It is always the local members who best understand what are the most pressing issues facing them. ISOC may be a good source of support for the local chapters on certain occasions, and so it is beneficial if ISOC can set up a convenient way for local chapters to seek endorsement or support on certain issues when they need to lobby the local government or bring a certain message to the local communities, for example.

    Globally, issues like security, privacy, net freedom and neutrality, will continue to require the attention of ISOC. Again, when ISOC deals with these issues on a global level, it is important to engage more local chapters to coordinate actions and gain support from the grassroot level, in order to achieve the best results through broader awareness and participation.

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