February 19, 2006

IGF à la Bierce

I'm quickly reading through the transcripts from last week's IGF (Internet Governance Forum) Consultation meeting.

I thought it might be useful if there were a glossary of phrases used in these meetings.

At the risk of failing utterly and entirely, it might be fun to follow the style of Ambrose Bierce in his Devil's Dictionary.

I hope that this will evolve and expand; suggested contributions are welcome.

IGF à la Bierce:

ALAC, n. A Potomkin Village established by ICANN to create the impression that individual users of the internet are actually represented in ICANN.  See "stakeholder".

CAPACITY-BUILDING, v. The knowledgeable (and rich) undertake to train the less educated (and poor.)


CRITICAL INTERNET RESOURCES, n. Any thing that has nothing to do with the actual reliable availability of the internet but which can serve as an excuse to impose a desired form of regulation.  Usage as established by ICANN: no matter that actually pertains to the continuous, accurate, or efficient provision of internet services is a critical internet resource.

DEMOCRACY, n. Neither this word nor this concept exists in the lexicon of internet governance.

IETF, n. A chimera, The IETF, as perceived in the lexicon in internet governance is a mythical body that efficiently advances the technological arts of the internet.  The IETF, as perceived by others, is something else.

INDIVIDUAL USER OF THE INTERNET, n. Neither this word nor the concept of individual humans who might be affected by-, or who might have a voice in-, internet governance exists in the lexicon of internet governance.

INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION COSTS, n. Money spent on international telecommunication assets the cost of which is to be apportioned on the basis of the national wealth of the countries on either end.

MULTISTAKEHOLDER, adj. Anything that excludes the people who actually use, pay for, or who are affected by the internet.

NONDUPLICATIVE, adj. A quality of self-imposed blindness in which ICANN is to be preserved no matter its faults and no matter its non-existent role vis-à-vis the actual technical reliability of the internet.

OPEN AND INCLUSIVE DIALOGUE, n. 1) A discussion about a strictly defined question that occurs within a rigid framework imposed by national governments in which the only voices given weight are those of national governments.  2) A discussion characterized by a nearly total lack of comprehension of the internet technology underlying the dialogue.

OPEN, TRANSPARENT, OR ACCOUNTABLE, adj. Empty filler; meaningless terms.  Usage established by ICANN: Open means closed, transparent means secret, and accountable means arbitrary choices made on the basis of unknown criteria by unknown people using unknown materials.

STAKEHOLDER, n. Any organization or entity that makes money from the internet or any combination that lobbies on their behalf; any national government or intergovernmental organization; or any civil society organization.  Individual users of the internet are never considered stakeholders.

Posted by karl at February 19, 2006 5:13 PM