9% Solution

In 2014, the top three people in ISOC are two Americans & one European. The top four people in ICANN are two Americans, one Brit and an Australian. IETF Chair Jeri Arkko, a Swede,has been eloquent on the need for diversity in IETF. The vast majority of leaders at leading Internet organizations are from the U.S. and Northern Europe. Those countries are about 9% of the world population and fewer than half of the Internet users. The ITU and other UN organizations are the only part of the Internet Governance scheme that remotely reflects the distribution of Internet users.     

No one involved believes this right but the data is clear that efforts by the organizations to be more broadly based have not yet succeeded. The distortion will become even more extreme as $50 smartphones connect two billion more people to the Internet. Cisco data suggests Africa will have more Internet users by 2007 than the U.S.. It looks like India alone will have more than Western Europe.    

Quotas are almost certainly politically impossible in these groups so that isn’t on the table and probably not a good idea. One response to the problem is for the organizations to reach out and attract more people whose native language isn’t English. Better ideas welcome.

It’s probably going to prove impossible to improve this without the U.S. reducing its five year effort to diminish the ITU, where most of the world attends. Ironically, a few years ago the U.S. recognized the ITU as the place for Internet discussions, looking for help on satellite rules and more. But since the Secretary-General in 2007 called for an International treaty on cybersecurity, the U.S. has worked tirelessly to discredit the ITU. We all know the U.S. led split at WCIT.

    The top ten broadband countries Q3 2013 from Point-Topic, a respected source. (below) As you can see, China has close to twice as many lines as the U.S.; Japan more than Germany; Russia more than France or England. Cisco analysis suggests the rest of the world will soon have twice as many Internet users as the Western powers.      Please do not read into this article any allegations of racism. I know many of the people involved and believe them fair-minded. I know many of the leaders to be fair-minded. 15 years ago, most of the Internet was American and Europe. The data is consistent with that group remaining in charge and/or choosing people they know and trust, especially old friends. Few organizations comfortably share power with a new group.     My personal opinion is that more of the world needs to be represented.     Data in detail. ICANN’s Chair is Steve Crocker, an American. The vice-chair is Bruce Tonkin, from trusted U.S. Five Eyes partner Australia. The other two executive committee members are Cherine Chalaby, a British citizen who worked three decades for U.S. company Andersen Consulting and ICANN CEO Fadi ChehadĂ©, an American businessman living in Los Angeles. (I believe the latter two were born in Egypt but both have spent many years in the West. Only 4 of the remaining 16 board members are based outside of the western alliance: one each in South Africa, Chile and Taiwan as well as a former U.S. FCC staffer now based in Argentina. A quick look at the executive staff shows similar.

    At ISOC, American CEO Kathy Brown appointed American Sally Wentworth and Swiss Marcus Kummer as her chief policy people. Both Kathy and Sally are from the U.S. government, with Kathy after government work becoming a top Verizon lobbyist. Marcus comes from the Swiss government. 11 of 13 ISOC Board members are from the U.S., Europe or Australia/New Zealand. 6 of 7 Executive Committee members are American.

 

   

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CountryTotal 2013Q3

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China185,807,000

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United States95,356,170

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Japan35,663,746

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Germany30,045,957

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Russian Federation24,726,877

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France23,777,971

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United Kingdom22,481,400

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Brazil20,822,598

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Korea, Republic of18,529,302

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India15,400,136

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