Markus Kummer at the Berkman Center

We’ve had the pleasure of the past couple of days of hosting
Markus Kummer, the coordinator of the Executive Secretariat for the
Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) at the United
Nations.  Mr. Kummer has given us the chance to hear about his
plans for the WGIG over the next several months (he expects the Working
Group to be named by the end of the month and to convene first in
November).  He listened
intently to our suggestions about how legal and other academics and the
technology community be meaningfully included in the process.  We
gave him an update on some of our research as part of the Open Net Initiative,
along with researchers at the University of Toronto
and University of
Cambridge, on internet filtering, and on our Net Dialogue projects in
particular.   We were joined by Dave Clark and Hal Abelson of
MIT; Mema Roussopolous of Harvard’s computer science department; Scott
Bradner
of the Harvard Provost’s office; and Eddan Katz, executive
director of Yale’s Information Society Project, as well as many of the
Berkman faithful.

Much of the discussion hinged on the interests of developing countries
in the World Summit on the Information Society process and
beyond.  As Michael Best stressed, the WSIS and ICANN process
points are, at a minimum, proxies for other, broader inequities in the
world’s balance of power.  Overall, the WGIG promises a process that is “open, transparent and inclusive.”  (Where have we heard this before?)

Mr. Kummer and his colleagues have a
tough challenge ahead in terms of responding to the real need to
involve developing countries, as well as non-governmental stakeholders, extensively and meaningfully in whatever
process lies ahead.

For more on Markus Kummer’s thinking, our friends at the OII have a 4-page speech of Kummer’s posted here, which describes his mandate and early work of the WGIG.

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