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Re: [Membership] Re: [IFWP] Re: Effective meetings, past and future
>Please respect the firstname.lastname@example.org prohibition on cross-posting.
>Molly Shaffer Van Houweling
Molly, I sent this to the membership list because it is about what
happened at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Berkman Center on the
issue of membership and thus is especially pertinent for the
membership mailing list.
Do I have to send it separately? It isn't a cross post. It is
a mailing to the list that is pertinent to the subject being
discussed in the post.
If you haven't posted it on the membership mailing list - please
At 11:49 AM 3/12/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Jonathan Zittrain <email@example.com> wrote:
>>I credit the earnestness of your position, and I certainly don't view your
>>position--as I roughly understand it, that the U.S. government nurtured the
>>Net, and that the White Paper's framework of turning certain key technical
>>functions from the USG over to a private, public trust entity like ICANN is
>>a betrayal of important social values and responsibilities to the avatars
>>of commerce--as out of line. I respect it.
>No you don't understand what I am saying nor do you seem to feel you
>have any interest or obligation to understand it.
>I am saying that the essential functions of the Internet were developed
>under the protection of the computer science community which U.S.
>government support and funding made possible. And that ICANN
>is *NOT* and "public trust entity" as you profess, but rather
>the stealing from the public of these essential functions which
>are not only crucial to the scaling of the Internet but also
>which give control over to the Intenet to those who can capture
>The functions include the IP numbers, root server system, domain
>name system, protocols, port numbers, etc. These are the life blood
>of the Internet, *not as you say "certain key technical functions".
>If you did feel an interest or obligation to understand what I
>am saying, you wouldn't be cutting me off from speaking and then
>making elaborate attempts at justifying your censorship activities.
>>That said, I very much supported cutting you off at the microphone after
>>you'd (to be sure, just in my and some others' view, clearly not yours!)
>>abused the privilege to speak at it. I'd like to explain why. The
>>archives are all online at <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rcs/>, so
>>others--at least those with the capacity to run the free Realplayer
>>plugin--can see how it went for themselves and come to a view on it.
>And others who don 't have the technical capacity to run the
>Realplayer plugin have no no such ability.
>And as the written transcript the Berkman Center made of the
>Nov. Cambridge ICANN meeting was seriously flawed and nonrepresentative
>of what people said as there were frequent omissions of what critics
>of ICANN said in the transcript while the ICANN folk had complete
>and accurate coverage, it is interesting that other media that
>people have no access to are being created to create what is
>to be the Berkman Center record of the activities.
>>There were two plenary panels, about an hour and a half each, in the
>>membership study workshop. As you point out, a number of panelists had
>>been invited to each one. As the meeting opened it was explained that
>>there exist people who think ICANN is just a terrible idea from the start,
>>and that without rejecting that view our own purpose was to indulge the
>>hypothetical that ICANN was going to happen--indeed, was happening--and to
>>see what membership structure would work best for it assuming that it was
>>to exist at all.
>The fact that no one who had opposing views was invited to speak
>at the first panel, but rather only people who were from organizations
>that had no parallel to what ICANN is all about were invited,
>shows the disdain that the Berkman Center people, and whatever
>U.S. Dept of Commerce people are participating behind the scenes
>in this, have for the Internet and the users of the Internet.
>To explore the issue of membership all views have to be invited,
>*not* structuring the issues in a way to censor the very views
>that are needed to figure out what kind of form is needed to
>provide the needed protection to the essential and controlling
>functions of the Internet.
>>Your view, expressed repeatedly and often, rejects that assumption,
>>consistently with what you've said all along, and across so many media--on
>>lists, in public meetings, and in your papers (one of which, after you
>>submitted it, has been placed prominently in our web site, and which we
>>photocopied and made available to all attendees at the workshop). You
>>expressed it again at the meeting, an attempt to change the agenda to the
>>threshhold question of whether ICANN should exist. You were allowed to
>>express it anyway--indeed, across multiple trips to the mic, you spent a
>>full sixteen minutes expounding that view! This is more time than any of
>>the invited panelists got, and that most of them took including answers to
>>questions, to speak.
>This is the statement of a demogogue. This says that there is no
>value in anything that I have said, but that only "bless ICANN"
>is allowed to be uttered by those who are involved in the Berkman
>We don't need a Hitler that tells us that dissenting is forbidden.
>This is the Internet, NOT NAZI Germany.
>You don't list how long Scott Bradner or a number of others spoke,
>and I certainly didn't speak any full sixteen minutes as you cut
>me off and left me standing without being able to speak.
>Obviously what I am staying is of great importance. Otherwise
>you wouldn't go to such lengths to cut me off and censor and
>distort what I am saying.
>And clearly ICANN is incapable of standing up to public scrutiny
>as it has to hire a Public Relations Firm to create its image
>and the Berkman Center to frame the issues so that any legitimate
>questions are to be ruled out of order and people who have
>any critical views to be shut up or to have the microphones turned
>off to prevent them from expressing their views.
>This is *not* how the Internet has been built.
>And this is *not* how any structure or entity that will provide
>for scaling the Internet can be developed.
>>I will understand you if you say that this is a form of civil protest, a
>>desire to singlehandedly take the meeting where you want it to go and to
>This is nonsense.
>This is your attempt to distort what I have to say and to discredit
>it. This is your effort to institute a Hitler like regime into
>I spoke about the Office of Inspector General's Feb. 7 1997 NSF Report
>when I first spoke at the microphone. The Inspector General seems
>to have lost her job for having had the courage to have challenged
>the givaway of public property and the essential functions of the Internet.
>That the essential functions of the Internet are at stake in this
>effort you are making to legitimate passage of public property to
>an unknown and secretly created entity is some of why you will
>go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent the real issues from
>being put on the table and to try to discredit and falsify the
>record to justify this illegitimate actity.
>>have it listen to your urgent message that the whole path is wrong. Taking
>>the meeting in one direction necessarily means taking it away from
>>another--it's a synchronous space, one which while you speak others must
>>listen and cannot themselves speak. I truly believe that if you hadn't
>>been cut off you'd have spoken for the entire rest of the meeting--indeed,
>This is again nonsense.
>The time I was cut off was after Elaine Kamarck spoke on the final
>panel. I hadn't spoken "the entire meeting" the times I had
>spoken previously and others had spoken as much or more than I had.
>So again what you say above is demogogry.
>Its the effort to falsify your real motives in preventing any criticism
>or critical views from being presented.
>Elaine had spoken to me during lunch saying that she had appreciated
>what she heard me say earlier at the microphone. She had some questions
>about what I had said.
>When you cut me off during the final panel I was resonding to what
>she had just said.
>She had said that the whole membership form for ICANN was inappropriate
>because ICANN would have the economic lives of people in its hands
>and government has ways to prevent conflict of interest in such
>situations, but a voluntary nonprofit membership organization doesn't.
>That a voluntary nonprofit membership organization is formed for
>a totally different purpose and is not able to function in the
>kind of way that a governmental entity needs to function when such
>important functions are at stake.
>You cut me off from speaking to demonstrate that you wouldn't take
>her remarks seriously and discuss them, as was appropriate.
>Instead you signaled that there would be diversionary efforts
>to change the course of the discussion, which is what Scott Bradner
>and Esther Dyson did. They introduced irrelevant digressions, rather
>than welcoming the criticism that had been presented and exploring
>This is how Hitler functioned as well. He couldn't stand any criticism,
>instead he made a victim of those who expressed any criticism,
>making it clear to others that criticism was "verbotten"
>This is the opposite of the Internet way, but it is the way
>of those who are trying to seize the essential controlling functions
>of the Internet.
>But aren't there ethical obligations that you have Jonathan?
>I realize you don't express any thought you do, but it seems
>that lawyers are supposed to have some reagard for the law.
>>that there was no amount of time sufficient for you to feel properly heard,
>>unless people at the meeting were to come around to your view. I'd then
>>hope you'd understand why an infinite amount of time for one person at the
>>meeting--no matter what she came to say--is a stealing of time from
>>everyone else at the meeting who wishes to speak.
>Certainly when anyone who has a critical view wishes to speak it
>is in your viewpoint "stealing time".
>I had been encouraged to speak by folks in the audience, but I
>recognize that that is foreign to the view of someone in
>your position who is there to make sure that there is no
>real discussion or examination of what should be happening, but
>rather an unthinking implementation of an illegal activity is
>Can you say why there were *no* U.S. government folks at the
>Berkman Center meeting in January that I was at? The Memorandum
>of Understanding that ICANN has with the U.S. Dept of Commerce
>requires a 50% participation of both entities in a design and
>There is *no* design and *test* situation going on. If there
>were critical views and open discussion would be supported
>and encouraged. Instead while the contract of ICANN with
>the U.S. government is for a "design and test" entity, what
>is going on is a ramming through of illegal processes and
>grabbing of public property and processes.
>This is contrary to what ICANN has authority to do. But the
>absence of U.S. government officials at functions like
>the Jan. 23 Berkman Center meeting shows that the U.S.
>Dept of Commerce is also not carrying out its obligations
>under a design and test memorandum of understanding.
>Thus there is the privatizing of the public property and
>public policy and maybe that is why the U.S. government
>officials are staying away. That is the recognition on
>their part that what ICANN is doing is unauthorized
>>ICANN is an experiment. It may fail. If it does, the US government will
>>be first in line to pick up the pieces. I don't blame you--given your
>>view--for wanting to hasten that day. I don't see why your agenda, and
>>your willingness to stake out a position at a mic and not cede it to anyone
>>else in line or elsewhere in a room, should trump everything else.
>ICANN is not, as you say, "an experiment". Its supposedly
>the effort to design and test a prototype. That is the
>recognition that this is a situation that needs "prototypes"
>because the forms needed have to be figured out.
>Such figuring out requires open discussion of all views.
>And such figuring out cannot be done when the U.S. government
>is giving away property and policy making processes that
>are public --
>So in fact ICANN is *not* experimental, but the effort to
>do what is illegimate and illegal and that is why it
>can't allow open discussion and expression of views.
>When I was at the microphone I was about to say that
>the Internet has been created based on the essential
>agreement "to communicate" and contribute to making
>That is what ICANN is opposed to. There is *not* to
>be *communication* but instead foisting of the
>illegal seizure of public property and processes.
>So your efforts to cut off discussion only help to
>clarify the reality of ICANN and of the Berkman
>>In the meantime, we've been developing means of electronic
>>participation--both tuning in to events at a physical meeting, and
>>contributing comments to it--that don't expect internet users to have the
>>latest and greatest PCs and fastest internet links.
>And in the meantime you do all you can to censor the contributions
>of critics and those who are needed to figure out the real
>>P.S. For what it's worth, I saw several people with your paper in hand,
>Why do you even say this? The paper demonstrates that there
>is a significant viewpoint that needs to be considered. Did you
>bother to look at the paper?
>If so why don't you take on to discuss the issues involved rather
>than to justify your censorship of the discussion?
>The issue is that there is a need to continue the computer science
>oversight and protection of the essential functions of the Internet
>and nothing in the ICANN model allows for that recognition.
>That there has been a false framing of the issues of how to
>create a structure or form to provide the needed support
>of the essential functions and the scaling they are the focrume
>And the very fact of your trying to discredit any real discussion
>of what is needed and why shows that you are not trying to
>solve any problem, but rather to carry out the bidding of
>those hostile to the Internet and its development.
> Netizens: On the History and Impact
> of Usenet and the Internet
> in print edition ISBN 0-8186-7706-6