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A very pertinent example of this is found in the IETF, which like the IGF, doesn't have a defined membership. If you are affected by the specifications that the IETF is discussing, then you are welcome to join in those discussions, and if you provide compelling input, you have as much right as anyone else to influence the outcome. David Clark, who is in Athens I believe, coined the IETF credo, “We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code.”

One of the reasons why the IETF process works so well for the standards side of Internet governance, being far more successful than the ITU's hierarchical process, is that the values encapsulated in the IETF credo have become embedded in the Internet's architecture. Both the technical architecture, or “code” as Larry Lessig puts it, and the social architecture or culture of the Internet, embody values such as decentralisation, openness, egalitarianism, anonymity, and cosmopolitanism.

In objection to the comparison between the IGF and the IETF, it might be argued that open membership and consensus are all very well for a standards body, but that it is not involved in governing public policy issues. In fact that's not true; it is often impossible to separate the public policy and the technical issues that the IETF discusses. I've given as examples on this slide just three RFCs in which the IETF deals with whether its protocols should facilitate interception requests from security agencies, defines the standard for internationalised domain names which are central to the IGF's discussions, and discusses intellectual property rights in IETF standards. As these are all clearly public policy issues, the IETF is not inherently a different animal to the IGF.