Yes It Should !
The end user of the internet is the public, hence, the public must have input on the internet, its operations, standards and governance. Access to the internet is almost at the stage of a Human Right and serious discussion must take place to ensure its position as a human right.
However, not every person has all the knowledge and skills equally and hence a multi-stakeholder discussion is critical so as to identify all the issues, risks, commonalities, gaps and so forth that the internet throws up.
An approach, would be to have a multi-stakeholder group such as IGF identify a policy or standard that needs "treatment" and then bring together a multi-stakeholder group that is very transparent in its discussion in to action. This process really has been in place with UN WSIS and before that with organizations such as the Internet Society. We should not underestimate the influence of the existing IGF process and we should probably strive to increase the inclusiveness ( including mind set) of the existing process as an immediate first action item that re-invent the wheel as it were.
For any standard development there are multiple layers of influencers. The public, the technical, the operational, the legal, financial, the user, the tester, etc. All these parties should be consulted if the end standard is to be robust in terms of its operations, uptake and usage etc. There is no point having a standard that only a few were party to and that then nobody wants to comply with. The buy-in starts bottom-up! Perhaps something like a pure democracy approach to public decision making should be tested for standard setting. However, the veto could be held by the technocrats for technical standards and the veto with the public policy makers for operational standards, for instance based on the main skills that each group has that is relevant to the standard.
As an accountant I am in a field that also establishes standards for the public and that mandates the public to conduct themselves in a defined manner. This is enshrined in the legal and policy framework of the country. I see in it the parallels to developing internet standards including standards for AI, IoT and other emerging technologies. Perhaps the professional bodies should be requested for some feedback on our current topic of conversation and asked to also detail as to how they approach standard setting within their bodies while ensuring an interest for the public. The internet family is a multi-disciplinary group, so this is what makes it unique vis-a-vis other standard setters such as lawyers, accountants, engineers etc.
Ethics is key for all standard setters and I think that we should all start with developing a core course on ethics that all multi-stakeholder discussions participants should take. Not an exam but a course that open's our minds to receiving multiple view points, provides us with a set of principles or values to make judgements and recognizes that there are multiple value systems on the globe that impact the internet..
+ Very interesting discussion... thank you.
Amali De Silva - Mitchell
(member of organization team)