To: Ira Magaziner
Date: 4/6/98 2:30pm
Subject: [gis-asia 33] My Comments on Green Paper
[I apologize for multiple posting/receiving]
Below is my personal comments on the US Green Paper on Internet Governance,
open for your comments and suggestions and criticisms for improvement.
I think it is very important for people from Asia to try to express the
comments and opinions now. The deadline is March 23. Soon.
My overall position is to look for consensus, rather than confrontation.
It is solely of my personal opinion and not reflect any view of the
organizations I work with or belong to.
Thank you for your attention.
My Comments on Green Paper <draft, Mar 18, 1998>
by Izumi Aizu <email@example.com>
Principal, Asia Network Research
As a founder of a private, independent research institute dedicated to the
growth of Internet and its use in Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I
would like to submit the following comments to the Green Paper on Internet
First, I would like to appreciate and support the overall efforts and
framework proposed by the Green Paper. I view that there is a good
recognition for the conventional approach and wisdom that Internet
community exercised over the years, that of open, bottom-up, self-governing
approaches. While it is not stated explicitly for various reasons, I think
the Green Paper team did incorporate as much as possible of the substance
from the Internet Community, such as ISOC, IAB, IETF and IAHC/POC works
so far done.
I think it will enhance the IAHC/POC gTLD structure, and it will NOT
contradict to it, but generate wider responsible participation in the
governance process than the original gTLD proposal which is an improvement.
I also appreciate the very open attitude that US government undertook,
including the open meetings with Mr. Magaziner's recent visit to APRICOT
meeting in Manila as well as his visits to Tokyo to listen and accommodate
as much as possible from wide-ranging voices of the Internet community,
especially from Asia Pacific. I strongly urge that the US administration
keep this attitude more and listen to more voices from the region before
making the final decision.
I also appreciate the inclusion of user group participation to the new
governing body which has not been that explicitly expressed in the gTLD
My overall position is to support the general direction this Green Paper
Remaining concerns and issues
Now I would like to point out some of the remaining concerns and issues,
especially seen from Asia-Pacific region's perspective to be further
incorporated for future improvement.
Ensure true 'global' participation
One of the primary objectives of the Green Paper, as I understand, is to
gain true global participation for the governance of Internet. There seems
to be some rooms to be improved for that to happen, however.
Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions from outside US may be:
"Why is the New International Organization proposed to be under US
If US Government believes, as Mr. Magaziner explained to us, that US
non-profit law actually offers better support for international non-profit
activities required for the new organization than the laws of most other
countries, then the supporting evidences should be presented. It would be
more convincing to carry out an objective survey that compares different
locale and jurisdictions before making the conclusion to bring it to US.
That will gain more global support and participation.
At least, since IAHC gTLD decided to form CoRE under Switzerland law, a
comparative study between the two jurisdiction system should be presented
for better judgement.
I assume that another factor affecting this decision of making it an US
entity is the political pressure from the US Congress. While significant
amount of US taxpayer's money was spent for the development and maintenance
of the Internet's technical protocols and its operation, we must not forget
that other resources from other parts of the world have also been
contributed to the same cause. Let me illustrate only two examples:
APNIC was created by the collective efforts of Asia-Pacific Internet
community, a private membership funded organization, delegated to manage
Internet resources for the region from IANA. After DoD has officially
decided not to continue the funding for IANA, significant amount of money
was actually transferred from APNIC and RIPE-NCC, the European counterpart
to IANA to sustain its activities.
One of the most significant contributing factors of gaining the global
popularity of Internet, including that of business interests, was the
invention and propagation of WWW protocol which was originally conceived by
a British physics researcher, Tim-Berners Lee, while he was working for a
European research institute, CERN.
Therefore, it is too early to conclude that global Internet is solely or
mostly developed and managed by US taxpayers money. In this sense,
Internet grew not because US government single-handedly provided the
financial resources and supporting frameworks, it is these global
collaborative works including that of US government support that nurtured
the explosive growth.
Having said that, while I do not deny the critical roles that US government
and its financial support played, US government and congress should try to
find mutual solution to further promote the healthy growth of Internet
rather than claiming its solo role as if it is the only decisive factor.
Then I think the Green Paper will be able to achieve the original goal, to
gain true global participation more easily.
Balance governmental, commercial and non-profit societal forces.
Creation of new international non-profit organization seems to be a good
start. However, how to make it a truly global body remains to be seen
US government can 'exit' from operational areas of Internet governance, but
broader areas of social concerns may still require the proper participation
of governmental activities globally. These are, promotion of Internet,
building infrastructure, especially for the developing countries, fostering
good information policies, protection of privacy, children and other human
rights, ensuring the security.
In this regard, a need for broader Internet governance, consist of
governmental, commercial and non-profit civic sectors including NPOs and
NGOs should be addressed.
Need more balanced geographic participation
While making the DNS registration process into a more competitive, market
oriented process, evident in both Green Paper and gTLD MoU, have certain
advantages, one should not forget its possible drawbacks. That market
forces tend to provide uneven distribution of services and opportunities to
commercial entities thus potential leaving out the entities in the weaker
side of the economy, the developing countries.
Green Paper does not address these issues explicitly. Nor the gTLD MoU
For example, the vast majority of registrars applied and selected under
gTLD MoU so far are mostly located in developed part of the world. Out of
87 registrars, only less than 10 are from developing countries such as
China (2), South Africa (1), Mauritius (1), Singapore (1). Or of the 11
members of the POC under gTLD MoU, 5 are from Europe, and 4 are from USA,
and remaining 2 were nominated by international organizations but are from
either US or Europe. That means no one is representing Asia Pacific or any
other developing countries/economies such as Latin and South America,
Middle East, Central Asia or Africa.
While I admit that the majority of the users of Internet today exist in the
developed part of the world, some compensating approach in order to further
promote the wider distribution and participation of the global Internet is
more desirable for both developed and developing countries.
Need for a long-term global legal framework
What is absent in the Green Paper is the recognition of the need for
long-term task to establish new global legal framework that properly
addresses the new world reality made possible by the Internet and related
technologies. It cannot be simply achieved by US government, or any other
government alone, but we all know that the fundamental problem is that the
pace of changes driven by technologies is much greater than that of
social/legal systems thus a concerted effort is inevitable.
As an ad hoc solution, the general direction of Green Paper is acceptable.
Otherwise, US congress will not allow the 'hand-over' of Internet
governance smoothly. Yet the many details of new governance structure
should be left open as much as possible to the new governing body.
I also hope that the Green Paper framework be merged with the gTLD MoU
effort and the people who support it to achieve a good mutual consensus.
* * * * Izumi Aizu (firstname.lastname@example.org) * * * *
Principal, ASIA NETWORK RESEARCH (ANR) Sdn. Bhd.
Tel: +60-3-780-8738 Fax: +60-3-781-0590
No. 20B, Taman Desa Business Centre, Jalan Desa Jaya,
Taman Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
also working for:
Institute for HyperNetwork Society, Oita & Tokyo
GLOCOM, Center for Global Communications, Tokyo
* * * WRITING THE HISTORY OF THE FUTURE * * *