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Q6: 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 in the IGF.

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?

How do you see the involvement of ISOC and of ISOC chapters and members?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Friday, March 5th, 2010 at 10:30 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.

8 Responses to “Q6: Public Policy Issues”

  1. Comment by: Eduardo Diaz   
    March 12th, 2010 at 4:46 am

    [EN] We should address restriction to information and privacy protection. ISOC should address this through public global forums and, chapters through their local governments. Also, chapters should be vigilant of their governments passing laws that restrict the use of the Internet. Chapters should seek advice from ISOC global and other chapters to help them with their specific situations.

    ISOC should educate member chapters on these topics, and provide resources and toolkits that they may use in their local communities to address them. Language barriers must be surmounted.


    [ES] Debemos abordar la restricción a la información y protección de la privacidad. ISOC debe abordar esto a través de foros públicos mundiales y, en los capítulos a través de sus gobiernos. Además, los capítulos deben ser vigilantes de sus gobiernos cuando aprueban leyes que restringen el uso de la Internet. Los capítulos deben buscar el asesoramiento de ISOC y otros capítulos para ayudarles con sus situaciones específicas.

    ISOC debe educar a los miembros de los capítulos sobre estos temas, y proporcionar recursos y kits de herramientas que pueden ser utilizados por las comunidades locales. Hay que superar las barreras del idioma.

  2. Comment by: Michael Nelson   
    March 13th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    In the twenty years that I have been working on Internet policy, I’ve been impressed with how ISOC has been able to be a trusted clearinghouse for information about Internet technology and Internet policy. It’s played a critical role in advising several national governments and in informing discussions at international bodies such as the UN. II certainly saw the impact of ISOC white papers when I was worked in the US Congress and at the White House. In many cases, the fact that the Internet Society doesn’t have a specific position on a particular issue means that it can fairly present the different sides of an issue.

    The information that ISOC provides on technical issues (such as IPv6) is particularly important. There are far more organizations working to articulate legal and regulatory issues than are groups working on the key technology and standards issues.

    In the last few years, it’s become clear that Internet policy is not only being made by agencies and organizations focused on telecommunications policy (such as the ITU, telecommunications ministries, the US Federal Communications Commission, e.g.). Consumer protection agencies, the courts, competition agencies, law enforcement, and even the military and national intelligence agencies are all playing a role–so ISOC has to develop closer links with a much wider range of policy players.

  3. Comment by: narelle clark   
    March 15th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    ISOC’s biggest challenges remain as they always have and I see these in the following terms: promoting Internet reliability, accessibility and affordability. It does this through the creation of open, effective technical standards, working to ensure good Internet governance, and working to ensure a broad participation in these systems.

    As the Internet becomes more and more important to society, more and more groups will try to reduce ISOC’s influence. We need to work with governments, as a whole as well as via our Chapters, to strengthen the Internet and strengthen people’s access to, and confidence in, it. We also need to work with other standards bodies, industry and consumer groups.

    We need to ensure that ISOC is the one governments go to when they want to legislate or regulate, or even grow the Internet, so that rights are protected and societies informed of the impact of technology, and technology choices made by governments the best they can be. We have a massive base of members and supporters to draw from. When governments want to build high speed networks or create Internet accessible medical databases we can help ensure privacy, security and reliability.

    ISOC needs to preserve its status as the pre-eminent group for Internet information and operation. To do this it needs to maintain both its organisational strength and the confidence of its membership.

    While the issues may vary across the world, the core issues of accessibility, affordability and reliability remain. ISOC is the only group that can span the technological, individual and social aspects of Internet operation, and do so competently across the globe.

    We must continue to empower Internet users to participate in the process of making the Internet work. This can only be done through empowering the membership and increasing our engagement across the community. Supporting chapters, supporting the various forums we run, and participating openly and widely in Internet debate – both on- and off-line. We want the next generation of kids – whether they come from Africa, Asia or anywhere – to know they can actually contribute to making the standards that make the Internet work!

  4. Comment by: Eva Frolich   
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Public Policy is a complicated and diverse area. There is public policy on national, regional and global levels.

    It´s natural that a chapter work with national policy as that is what is close to them, they see a possibility to influence and can get people working with.

    Some has the time to also focus on regional level and an even smaller number can spend time on global policy.

    Although – they are all connected to each other. What is developed on a global level will affect the national level and vice versa. My understanding is that many individuals don´t understand how complicated Policy development on global level is and how much time and effort it takes to reach somthing.

    To continue to become an important player it´s important that ISOC understand what the chapters think it´s important as well as getting the chapters feedback on issues discussed globally.

    It´s also important to prioritise amongst the various issues that may be raised from the chapters. What is hot topic and important for one chapter might not be of any interest to another. It might also be that the importance of an issue might not be understood everywhere and some education therefore is needed.

  5. Comment by: Eva Frolich   
    March 18th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Yesterdays pressrelease from Canon is a good example of where ISOC need to have a standpoint based on what Internet users globally wish. I don´t think most people realises all the issues that arises and need to be solved if/when gtld´s like .canon becomes reality. Education through local chapters and feedback about opinions into ISOC´s policy work would be ideal.

  6. Comment by: Leonard St-Aubin   
    March 18th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Internet governance will continue to be the main focus of policy debate. This is a broad concept with many different components. ISOC’s three strategic initiatives, trust, internetworking and access, cover the bases. Each of these issues presents distinct policy and technical challenges, but a further layer of complexity arises from the large number of actors who have a role to play and different perspectives on any given issue.

    ISOC’s focus on the “user-centric Internet” is a principled foundation upon which it can build constructive input to global debates in various forums. It is also a solid basis for its roles in education and as an authoritative and unbiased source of information.

    A difficult, but ultimately central task, is sorting out responsibility for taking action on various issues. Private sector, governments, NGOs, and international organizations (both governmental and non-governmental), will play different roles on different issues. For example, confusion about what ICANN can do, and cannot or should not do, has greatly complicated debates over Internet governance in various forums. As a former Vice-Chair of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to ICANN, I can say that even among governments there was confusion in this regard. Given its nexus of expertise in technical and policy areas, and education, ISOC can play a constructive role in helping to sort out, for the global Internet community which issues are best addressed by which authorities and targeting its input accordingly.

  7. Comment by: Lawrence Lessig   
    April 1st, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Public policy issues are going to be many and varied. But the critical objective of ISOC should be to help assure that those conversations not become captured by special interests. The Internet was born as the quintessential architecture for avoiding capture. ISOC should carry those values to every policy context within which the Internet has become central.

    This especially means that members of the board of ISOC are transparent about their own industry or government ties. Its own independence is the most important value that ISOC can preserve.

  8. Comment by: Richard Woundy   
    April 5th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    There are a number of public policiy issues that will confront ISOC as well as the Internet community in general in the next few years. Here are four to consider: (1) managing the remaining IPv4 address space and the new IPv6 address space fairly, (2) maintaining the open Internet with reasonable bounds on network management and copyright protection, (3) minimizing ‘unwanted traffic’ (eg spam) while respecting individual user preferences, and (4) balancing user privacy with stronger Internet identities (and increasing pressure for advertising revenue).

    ISOC has had a strong track record of responding to public policy issues, leveraging feedback from multiple stakeholders, obtaining guidance from IETF technical experts (including the IAB and IESG), and staying faithful to the ISOC mission of “open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world”. ISOC’s perspectives on the ‘User Centric Internet’ and on bottoms-up Internet governance are of particular interest.

    There are many variations of policy issues in different geographies. For reason of scale, ISOC should articulate global positions on public policy issues, and enable responses to specific national debates through the regional bureaus and chapters.

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