Networks

Internet Society slams online 'UN Security Council' plan, snubs permanent seat offer

So, this is all going well, isn't it?

The Internet Society has blasted efforts from some quarters to create a "UN Security Council" for the internet – which would rule over the online world.

The society (ISoc) is a non-profit organization that, among other things, helps guide the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which develops and publishes crucial internet's standards.

"Based on the information that we have to date, the Internet Society cannot agree to participate in or endorse the Coordination Council for the NETmundial Initiative," the organization's Board said in a statement on Monday, adding:

We are concerned that the way in which the NETmundial Initiative is being formed does not appear to be consistent with the Internet Society’s longstanding principles.

Revised plans for the NETmundial Initiative were announced earlier this month but baffled many in the internet governance community when, despite the claim that it would be an open platform, the only organizational efforts were put into the creation of a "Coordination Council" that would contain five "permanent seats" and another 20 members, selected by the organizers themselves.

Aside from the decision to include permanent members – made by the organizers themselves – many questioned why there needed to be a council at all. Lead organizer ICANN was also asked why it should have a seat on a body that identifies its role as being non-technical when domain-system overseer ICANN is specifically a technical body.

It seems the whole approach did not sit well with ISoc either.

"This announcement has resulted in considerable discussion and concern amongst various stakeholders regarding the purpose, scope, and nature of the proposed activity or organization," its statement read.

The very notion of the initiative was also questioned:

The Internet Society Board reiterates that the Internet Society’s longstanding position is that there is no single, global platform that can serve to coordinate, organize or govern all the Internet issues that may arise.

The motives of the organizers were also indirectly questioned by noting that the proposal was lacking in transparency, openness and accountability.

The ISoc board comprises well-respected members of the technical side of internet and broadly serves as the political arm of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). ISoc is also one of the so-called "I-star" organizations that the organizers – ICANN, the World Economic Forum (WEF), and Brazilian government-led CGI.br – offered one of the permanent seats.

The decision to not only turn down the seat but also publicly question the approach taken will be a severe embarrassment to ICANN and in particular its CEO, Fadi Chehade, who has been leading the effort since the NetMundial conference in Brazil earlier this year. ®

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