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This is a response to the comment from enquiries

  • To: cyber-safety-petition@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: This is a response to the comment from enquiries
  • From: earlmott@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 01:12:00 -0400

This is a response to the comment 
http://forum.icann.org/lists/cyber-safety-petition/msg00273.html from enquiries 
3/24/2009 12:03 pm.


I agree with your concern that any kind
of technological content regulation must be carefully considered in light of
unintended consequences.  However, the
CyberSafety Constituency is not an “attempt() to censor the Internet,” and
would not begin to have power to do that, even if it were within the purview of
ICANN’s capabilities.


The idea of a portal to self-defined areas is
interesting and may perhaps be practical some day.  However, such suggestions 
are outside of the
CyberSafety Constituency mission statement and is not an interest shared by
all constituency members.

Although not relevant to the work of the
CyberSafety constituency, I would like to respond to your stated concern in the
interest of promoting dialogue.  All
attempts to address Internet domain name system policies, especially those
involving technical solutions, may well have unintended consequences.  That is 
true for all of the technical and
architectural policies ICANN has adopted over the years.  However, inaction and 
a lack of regulation
can lead to similar unintended consequences. 

The Internet does not cease to work when
technologically based regulations are made.  Larry Lessig talks about the 
danger of this
mentality in his book “Code v. 2.0.” He says: 

If there was a meme that ruled talk about
cyberspace, it w
as that cyberspace was a place that could not be regulated.
That it “cannot be governed”; that its “nature” is to resist regulation. Not
that cyberspace cannot be broken, or that government cannot shut it down. But
if cyberspace exists, so first-generation thinking goes, government’s power
over behavior there is quite limited. In its essence, cyberspace is a space of
no control.

Nature. Essence. Innate. The way things are.
This kind of rhetoric should raise suspicions in any context. It should
especially raise suspicion here. If there is any place where nature has no
rule, it is in cyberspace. If there is any place that is constructed,
cyberspace is it. Yet the rhetoric of “essence” hides this constructedness. It
misleads our intuitions in dangerous ways.

This is the fallacy of “is-ism”—the mistake of
confusing how something is with how it must be. There is certainly a way that
cyberspace is. But how cyberspace is is not how cyberspace has to
be. There is no single way that the Net has to be; no single architecture that
defines the nature of the Net. The possible architectures of something that we
would call “the Net” are many, and the character of life within those different
architectures is diverse.


            We should expect—and demand—that it0Acan be made to reflect any set 
of values that we think important. The burden
should be on the technologists to show us why that demand can’t be met.


The Internet is a wonderful creation.  There have been rules about its use from 
beginning. We have no idea what the future might bring, what kinds of solutions
may emerge, and what kinds of problems may warrant responses.  

Nonetheless, these issues should have no bearing
on whether ICANN, in its attempt to reach out to broader user participation,
should have a constituency that includes groups who are concerned about fast
flux hosting, WHOIS, registrants’ rights and all kinds of issues discussed 
ICANN every day that relate to online safety.

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