Workshop on Fundamentals: Internet's Core Values

17 November 2009 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


What is the Internet? What makes it what it is? What are its architectural principles? What are the core values? And what is happening to the core values in the process of its evolution? What is it that needs to be preserved and what changes are inevitable? The Internet has evolved as a free and open medium. Principles such as openness, user choice and control, and edge based intelligence, among others, are central to a thriving Internet. “The Internet's open, neutral architecture has proven to be an enormous engine for market
innovation, economic growth, social discourse, and the free flow of ideas. The remarkable success of the Internet can be traced to a few simple network principles - end-to-end design, layered architecture, and open standards -- which together give consumers choice and control over their online activities” - Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Google. These values are threatened when new policies are proposed with inadequate understanding of the core values. Some times policy makers are overwhelmed by highly exaggerated expressions of concern for cyber-security. This inclines the policy makes towards disproportionate responses in the form of new legislation inspired by the misleading argument that an uncontrolled Internet is dangerous, so needs to controlled or re-architectured. What is beyond what is apparent in some of these proposals to "fix" problems is a serious threat to the core values and the danger of making Internet what it is not. What is it that must be preserved in the process of policy changes by legislators who seek to regulate the Internet and in the process of design changes by the Business sector in pursuit of business friendly models? What does the Internet Community say as what can't be changed? How could changes and improvements be brought about without compromising on the core values? How would the different positions between stakeholders be reconciled to commit to the core Internet values? A fair 'list' of principles and values and a definition of each of the values would emerge from this workshop. As a sub-topic under the theme, the workshop would examine how the Internet as a free and open medium could enable innovative solutions for development, by exploring the idea of open and universally accessible classrooms to bridge the fundamental divide in education, as outlined in the proposed topic No 311: “Alexandria Everywhere: Open and Accessible Classrooms on the Internet to bridge the fundamental divide in Education”


1) Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center by video link - Accepted
2) Daniel Dardailler, Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) - Accepted
3) Patrick Falstrom , Internet Engineering Task Force - Accepted
4) Ambassador Yrjo Lansipuro, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs – formal acceptance awaited.
5) Rt. Hon' Alun Michael, MP., United Kingdom - conveyed acceptance
6) Nathaniel James, OneWebDay – Accepted, travel schedule to be confirmed.
7) Ian Peter , Ian Peter Associates and Coordinator of the Internet Governance Caucus- Accepted
8) Lynn St Amour, President and CEO, Internet Society – Accepted
9) Issac Mao, Associate of the Berkmen Center - Accepted
10) Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, President, Internet Society India Chennai - Accepted
11) Millton Mueller, Scientific Committee Member, Syracuse, NY, USA – Invited.
12) Markus Kummer, Executive Director of the Internet Governance Forum – Invited.