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Philanthropy, the Gay Community and .gay

Since the Gay Community began its coming out and formed human rights (Gay Rights are Human Rights) organizations in the 19th century, the community has known that we were responsible for our own survival.  This means that for over a century the gay community has required funding from the gay community in order to meet social service functions and human rights needs. In most of the world, for most of the global gay community, this remains the case today.

In the same way that the Gay Community needs to provide its own support in physical world, so too on the Internet. The digital freedom and safety of the gay community depends on the support, financial and otherwise, of the Gay Community.  No one is going to fund that for us.  The digital opportunities for the Gay Community are also dependent on the support of the Gay Community.  No one is going to fund that for us!

dotgay LLC has 3 standard application competitors for the .gay top level domain name.  These competitors have little or no relationship with the Gay Community. As investor based organizations, they have ho clear plans to support the gay community as part of their public interest obligations.  Nor can they be expected to serve the Gay Community as they have financial investors they must keep richly fed.

As a community registry applicant, dotgay LLC has put its guarantee in its binding application with ICANN.

Giving Back

The Gay Community is intimately familiar with struggles around funding, often excluded or delayed in accessing resources because of discrimination, non-inclusive policy or lack of statistics. The struggles are widespread in the community and the challenges vary country by country based on governmental and cultural influences. In response, the Gay Community has looked to its own community members to financially support programs and services that emerge as priorities. An example of this is the immediate response of the community to the HIV⁄AIDS crisis in the 1980’s, funding programs and services well before any external support was provided.
dotgay LLC will channel funds back into the Gay Community using two methods. The first is to compensate all Authentication Partners in the community for each confirmed name registration or renewal. Secondly, dotgay LLC has also committed to giving a minimum of 67% of the profits from domain name registrations to the dotgay Foundation for redistribution back into the Gay Community.

When compared, it is obvious that the gay community loses a lot if dotgay LLC does not get a chance to fulfill it promises to the gay community.  The other applicants want  .gay because they plan to acquire a bundle of profits from the indiscriminate sale of .gay second level names. Profits that will not fund the Gay Community. dotgay LLC will use 2/3 of its profits to fund projects in the Gay Community.

#yes2dotgay for funding of Gay Community projects.

Feminist Principles for the Internet

In April 2014 the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in collaboration with activists in Malaysia, which included a number of local  LGBTQI activists, created a set of principles for a feminist Internet.

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1. A feminist internet starts with and works towards empowering more women and queer persons – in all our diversities – to dismantle patriarchy. This includes universal, affordable, unfettered, unconditional and equal access to the internet.

2. A feminist internet is an extension, reflection and continuum of our movements and resistance in other spaces, public and private. Our agency lies in us deciding as individuals and collectives what aspects of our lives to politicize and/or publicize on the internet.

3. The internet is a transformative public and political space. It facilitates new forms of citizenship that enable individuals to claim, construct, and express our selves, genders, sexualities. This includes connecting across territories, demanding accountability and transparency, and significant opportunities for feminist movement-building.

4. Violence online and tech-related violence are part of the continuum of gender-based violence. The misogynistic attacks, threats, intimidation, and policing experienced by women and queers LGBTQI people is are real, harmful, and alarming. It is our collective responsibility as different internet stakeholders to prevent, respond to, and resist this violence.

5. There is a need to resist the religious right, along with other extremist forces, and the state, in monopolizing their claim over morality in silencing feminist voices at national and international levels. We must claim the power of the internet to amplify alternative and diverse narratives of women’s lived realities.

6. As feminist activists, we believe in challenging the patriarchal spaces that currently control the internet and putting more feminists and queers LGBTQI people at the decision-making tables. We believe in democratizing the legislation and regulation of the internet as well as diffusing ownership and power of global and local networks.

7. Feminist interrogation of the neoliberal capitalist logic that drives the internet is critical to destabilize, dismantle, and create alternative forms of economic power that are grounded on principles of the collective, solidarity, and openness.

8. As feminist activists, we are politically committed to creating and experimenting with technology utilizing open source tools and platforms. Promoting, disseminating, and sharing knowledge about the use of such tools is central to our praxis.

9. The internet’s role in enabling access to critical information – including on health, pleasure, and risks – to communities, cultural expression, and conversation is essential, and must be supported and protected.

10. Surveillance by default is the tool of patriarchy to control and restrict rights both online and offline. The right to privacy and to exercise full control over our own data is a critical principle for a safer, open internet for all. Equal attention needs to be paid to surveillance practices by individuals against each other, as well as the private sector and non-state actors, in addition to the state.

11. Everyone has the right to be forgotten on the internet. This includes being able to access all our personal data and information online, and to be able to exercise control over, including knowing who has access to them and under what conditions, and being able to delete them forever. However, this right needs to be balanced against the right to access public information, transparency and accountability.

12. It is our inalienable right to choose, express, and experiment with our diverse sexualities on the internet. Anonymity enables this.

13. We strongly object to the efforts of state and non-state actors to control, regulate and restrict the sexual lives of consenting people and how this is expressed and practiced on the internet. We recognize this as part of the larger political project of moral policing, censorship and hierarchization of citizenship and rights.

14. We recognize our role as feminists and internet rights advocates in securing a safe, healthy, and informative internet for children and young people. This includes promoting digital and social safety practices. At the same time, we acknowledge children’s rights to healthy development, which includes access to positive information about sexuality at critical times in their development. We believe in including the voices and experiences of young people in the decisions made about harmful content.

15. We recognize that the issue of pornography online is a human rights and labor issue, and has to do with agency, consent, autonomy and choice. We reject simple causal linkages made between consumption of pornographic content and violence against women. We also reject the umbrella term of pornographic content labeled to any sexuality content such as educational material, SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) content, and expression related to women’s sexuality.

ICANN and Accountability II

ICANN and Accountability II

 
It was only the other day that I wrote that ICANN Staff was in the process of initiating a process on ICANN Accountability.  And  on the 14th the released Enhancing ICANN Accountability: Process and the Next steps was released.
 
In this they offer the blueprint for what appears to be a new advisory organization with several subgroups:
  • An ICANN Accountability & Governance Cross Community Group
  • An ICANN Accountability & Governance  Public Experts Group
  • An ICANN Accountability & Governance Coordination Group

The Cross Community Group (CCG)

This group “is open to any stakeholder” in the community that is interested in discussing the issues and giving input to the Coordination group on issues and solution for ICANN Accountability and Governance .

The Cross Community Group has three tasks:
  1. Identify issues for discussion or improvement;
  2. Appoint participants to the Coordination Group 
  3. Provide ongoing community input to the Coordination Group
 
All stakeholders that wish to participate in the Cross Community Group may indicate their involvement by submitting their names to accountability-ccg-members@icann.org.
 
 
It would be good for members of the LGBTQI community to participate in the Cross Community Group.  Hope to see you there – I have already signed up.

The Public Experts Group (PEG)

ICANN is “bringing together four respected individuals with strong backgrounds in academia, governmental relations, global

insight, and the AoC, to form the Accountability & Governance Public Experts Group.  This group will be responsible for picking seven (7) experts to sit on the Coordination group.  Currently these experts will be picked to cover the following areas of expertise:

  •  Internet Technical Operations
  • International Organizational Reviews
  • Global Accountability Tools and Metrics
  • Jurisprudence / Accountability Mechanisms
  • Internet Consumer Protection (including privacy, human rights and property rights concerns
  • Economics (Marketplace and Competition)
  • Global Ethics Frameworks
  • Operational, Finance and Process
  • Board Governance
  • Transparency
  • Risk Management
  • Governmental Engagement and Relations
  • Multistakeholder Governance

It is unfortunate that they did not include experts in community and diversity, and that they subordinated Human Rights to Consumer Rights, but perhaps they can be convinced to fix this.  It is to be hoped the the members of the  PEG will be expert and diverse enough to realize that this list of criteria needs further consideration and adjustment.  As they will be the experts on expertise, this should be in their purview.  Or at least I hope so.

The Accountability & Governance Coordination Group (AGCG)

Will be composed of those appointed to it by the CCG and PEG, as well as a Staff member, an expert in the current Affirmation of Committee Accountability and Transparency process and a few liasions.   The ACCG will be responsible for:

  1. Categorizing and prioritizing issues including those identified by the Cross Community Group;
  2. Building solution requirements for issues with input from the Cross Community Group; and
  3. Issuing the final report/recommendations.

Once the recommendations are made, they will be subject to the standard process of community review and board decision prior to implementation.  It is expected that this process will last at least on

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If there is just one thing I would like readers of dotgay-community.org to take from this, it is:

All stakeholders that wish to participate in the Cross Community Group

send their names to accountability-ccg-members@icann.org.”

It would be good for members of the LGBTQI community to participate in this Cross Community Group.

It might change the face of accountability in Internet governance.

 

What an opportunity!

 

A more detailed analysis can found here.

Enhanced Cooperation in practice

Over the last few weeks I have been following the work of Enhanced Cooperation and have reported on the NETmundial and the WGEC meetings in this space.

Enhanced Cooperation is an ongoing multistakeholder and multilateral process where all stakeholders contribute according to their expertise and interests, to enable all other stakeholders to achieve full participation in order to improve and democratise the governance of the Internet at all levels

During this last week, a meeting was held by the UN Commission for Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).  The CSTD is the UN group that is responsible the WGEC and for reporting its status to the UN Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) and eventually the UN General Assembly (UNGA).  While part of this meeting was dedicated to development, the major part of the meeting was spent trying to deprecate the work of the multistakeholder models for Internet governance, so that state control over the Internet could be furthered.

One of the goals set for the CSTD by the UNGA is to

to examine the mandate of the World Summit on the Information Society regarding enhanced cooperation as contained in the Tunis Agenda, through seeking, compiling and reviewing inputs from all Member States and all other stakeholders, and to make recommendations on how to fully implement this mandate.

In other words, they are supposed to what they could to understand and to encourage Enhanced Cooperation in Internet governance. Instead of recognizing that NETmundial as an act of Enhanced Cooperation, the same states that disrupted the WGEC continued to disrupt the proceedings of the CSTD to ensure that the CSTD did not validate the progress made in Enhanced Cooperation.  These states, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia, are the same states that lead the way in repressing the gay community.  If they gain further control of the Internet, they will be able to spread their hatred for our community beyond their borders throughout the Internet.  Just as these countries and others of their ilk ban LGBTQI+ from the streets, from jobs and even from the houses they live in, they will be able spread those bans further into the Internet, removing one of the few places some people can express themselves with a measure of safety – the Internet.  The world is already dangerous for the gay community, if states gain control of the Internet, it will becomes ever more frightful.

These Internet governance discussions are somewhat esoteric and often very dry, repetitive and long using language and protocol that are foreign to most people.  But what happens in these underground windowless rooms in Geneva may affect all of our freedoms and safety on the Internet for a very long time to come.

A more detailed description of the CSTD meeting is available.

The Ugandan anti-gay repression depicted in two political cartoons

One a comic strip from the Center for Constitutional Rights explains how US religious extremists have instigated the repression in Uganda:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/aaronc13/this-comic-perfectly-explains-ugandas-anti-lgbt-legislations

The other a political cartoon from South Africa:

http://mg.co.za/cartoon/2014-02-28-anti-gay-lawsugandas-strange-fruit/

Tragic how gay right’s advances in one country are met by backlash in others!

Yet another IGF to be held in a country that does not allow free speech.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF2014) a yearly global meeting to discuss the social and political aspects of the Internet will be held in Istanbul Turkey in September of 2014.    Like the previous years’ meeting in  Bali, Indonesia and in Baku, Azerbaijan, this year’s meeting is being held in a country without the individual liberties many have grown to expect.  Once again we are bringing the global premiere Internet governance meeting to a country that governs the Internet locally in such a way as to restrict its use.

Yesterday President Gul of Turkey signed an Internet censorship law, which will let the authorities block web pages within hours and collect data such as users’ browsing histories.

The gay community should not be surprised as Turkey was reported to be blocking gay web sites in 2013. In fact as early as 2009 the Index on Censorship was reporting that gay community web sites were being blocked in Turkey.  In a world where Uganda can make laws that imprison people for being gay, we cannot just quietly accept part of our community being silenced. Internet censorship is bad for everyone, it is especially bad for endangered communities.

Lets hope that IGF2014 takes a strong position on the local Internet environment and doesn’t slink in and out of the country without making a strong statement on Internet censorship.

dotgay LLC and Human Rights

Lest anyone ever forget, Gay Rights are Human Rights.  It is important to recall that the UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared in 2012:

 “No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.”

“Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.”

“LGBT people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools – the very places that should protect them.”

“Lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They too are born free and equal. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.”

“More than 76 countries still criminalize homosexuality.”

The only thing we need to add to that is that the the gay community suffers “discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools” as well as on the Internet.

dotgay LLC is committed to defending gay rights with guidance from the gay community on governance.  As part of its application, it described the types of services and protection that it would offer.  This was one of the requirements of both the standard  application and the supplementary requirements that only community applications had to answer.  In its application dotgay LLC committed to Human Rights goals not only by contract that would be enforced by the ICANN compliance department, but also to dispute resolution by an external panel of third party grievances, that is, protest from the gay community if it does not live up to its promises as documented in Public Interest Commitments.

Over the last few months, dotgay LLC has been attacked with false claims that it would censor speech. Nothing in dotgay’s application substantiates this claim.  What the application does promise is that content that violates the International norms for “inciting violence and that incite or promote discrimination or violent behavior, including anti-gay hate speech”(20e) will be dealt with appropriately as determined by prevailing laws.  This means that dotgay LLC will strive to adhere to the best standards that have been established by various International agreements.  It does not mean that they will censor names, except for the fact that names will only be assigned to community members as defined by the Authentication Partners, that is the organizations that form the backbone of our community.

The application also states “dotgay LLC will have an established policy regarding adult content.”  This too has been taken to mean there will be content based censorship.  This is not the intent of dotgay LLC.  The intent is to work with the community to define standards and policies for the community gTLD and then to implement these in an appropriate manner.  The application is also careful to define an appeals mechanism for all issues and will engage an ombudsman to handle these in a fair and unbiased manner.

dogay LLC is committed to serving in the best interests of the gay community and is committed to adherence to the standards as defined in Human Rights.  Freedom of Expression is a critical right and is defended in the many international conventions of Human Rights as well as many constitutions and sets of  basic laws.  It is not, however the only Human Right that is pertinent to the gay community.

While all Human Rights are Gay Rights, the following list includes some of these that are most relevant to the work of dotgay LLC.  dotgay LLC will engage the community in discussions of the way in which these rights can become preserved and enhanced in the policies and operations of dotgay LLC.

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Future articles in this series will explore each of these defined Human Rights and will put them in the context of the discussions to be organized by dotgay LLC with the community once it is certain that dotgay LLC has won the gTLD .gay for the community.

dotgay-community.org is currently looking at various online discussion tools to find one that can serve such a dialogue in a dynamic fashion.