Re: [Ianaplan] What's happening at ICANN?

"Richard Hill" <> Sun, 11 October 2015 06:28 UTC

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From: "Richard Hill" <>
To: "'Eric Brunner-Williams'" <>, <>
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Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2015 08:28:11 +0200
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Subject: Re: [Ianaplan] What's happening at ICANN?
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Please see embedded comments below.

Thanks and best,



From: Ianaplan [] On Behalf Of Eric
Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2015 00:57
Subject: Re: [Ianaplan] What's happening at ICANN?


Plus N for JCK's note, and ...


So, the topic is ICANN accountability. The claim is that as long as there
was the NTIA contract on IANA there has been a backstop on ICANN's
decisions, especially the board's.

Well, that is one of the consequences of the NTIA's delegation of rule
making authority. Another is found in references made by 3rd parties, here a
court considering some claim, which wrote "This is a perfectly logical
decision, and one that ICANN, through its contract with the DoC, had full
authority to make." [1] Absent the third clause, a perfectly logical
decision requires some other source of authority in order to be made.


>>RH: Indeed, one of the goals of the transition was to replace NTIA's
oversight role with oversight by the "global multi-stakeholder community".  


The main accountability mechanisms discussed have been spilling the
complete board, removing a board member and control/veto the ICANN budget
and bylaws changes. 

True, the "accountability mechanisms" vigorously championed by various
actors within the CCWG, for possibly divergent reasons, are removal of all
or some of the Board, and inter alia, were the Board "spilled", the NomCom
would seat a majority of the next Board, so one "mess" leads to a worse
"mess" (since when was the NomCom "accountable"? and to whom?). To further
mess things up, the potential for SO and/or AC selected members, but not
NomCom selected members, to be removed for SO and/or AC defined "cause",
would create two classes of Board member -- those who vote without risk of
removal, and those who risk removal, for SO and/or AC specific cause, and
who therefore may not act in the interests of the Corporation as a whole,
but rather as conflicts of SO and/or AC interests allow. Finally, the
meta-proposal requires some form of "membership" -- a problem we attempted
circa 2002 in the Membership Implementation Task Force and found absolutely
intractable: Who could be a "member of ICANN"? Who could not be a "member of


>RH: I don't see why this is intractable, except for the fact that any
version of the membership model would threaten the power currently exercised
by the narrow special interests that dominate the ICANN Board.  The Just Net
Coalition made a concrete proposal that was not considered, much less
seriously discussed, in the current process, see paragraph 23 of the
proposal at: 



The "work-around" is simply to recast the " group of participants that
engage in ICANN's processes to a greater extent than Internet users
generally" [2] as a "single member".

>RH: Indeed, see the comment from the Just Net Coalition at:


>RH: The current proposal does not replace NTIA with some version of the
global multi-stakeholder community, it replaces NTIA with a subset of the
organizations that select the current Board.

There is pretty much consensus that in some form or
another these are reasonable requirements. 

As the CCWG is structured as "members", selected by SO and AC bylaws
entities, the parties who might form some "consensus" need not include
"observers", contributors who are not selected by SO and AC bylaws entities.


In the IETF, we have a bit different approach to these things. I wouldn't
think we would have ever the discussion the IETF community should be able
to take the IESG or IAB to court. Interesting thought, though... ;)

What we do as individual contributors to an open standards organization
which has no "members" and no "secret handshakes" has wicked little to do
with how a California Corporation may be improved in its execution of the
notice and comment responsibilities, aka "transparency and accountability",
delegated to it by an agency of the federal government.


>RH: Correct. And if IETF screws up, the RFC won't get implemented and/or
some competing standards body will produce a standard that does get
implemented.  Whereas ICANN is, at present, a de facto monopoly, so whatever
it does goes get implemented (e.g. ".sucks").


>RH: And yes, I know about alternative roots, but they have not (at least
for now) achieved any significant market penetration, so at present ICANN is
the only game in town.

Eric Brunner-Williams
Eugene, Oregon