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  •   At Large Membership and Civil Society Participation in ICANN  
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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    Membership Issues Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee Meeting - August 13
    posted by michael on Tuesday August 14 2001, @11:33AM

    erony writes "The At Large Study Committee Outreach Meeting was attended by about 35-40 people. Take away the ALSC members and panelists, and it drew about 15 people from the community."

    It was held at the headquarters of VeriSign, a building in Mountain View formerly occupied (at different times) by Cisco, Synoptics and Netscape.

    Esther Dyson said in an interview that she was hoping the meeting would not draw the "usual suspects". The room was set up to accommodate about 45 people, so it was almost filled, but I'm certain the ALSC was disappointed in the small turnout from the heart of the hi-tech industry. What surprised me most was that, indeed, the room had the usual suspects: Joe Sims and Mike Roberts. Why were they there if this was simply an "outreach" meeting to draw new community opinions? I am certain they have private meetings with the ALSC and use their cachet to ground into dust the idea that ICANN's board can be chosen by democratic processes.

    The ALSC members are internationally diverse, bright and clearly committed to the task. I believe that they fully comprehend the great complexities of the issues and the enormous ramifications of their recommendations to ICANN. I was impressed with the caliber of questions they asked, particularly Carl Bildt (Chair) and Charles Costello (Vice-Chair).

    Stuart Lynn, ICANN's President, was there, too. In responding to a question about funding At Large, I said that domain registrants, at least, already pay ICANN indirectly. We pay because the fees the registrars charge certainly incorporate the $6 paid to the registry and the fees paid up the food chain to ICANN. During a refreshments break, Mr. Lynn quietly came up to me (I thought he was an ALSC member) and asked if I was familiar with how the ICANN budget was determined. Admitting that I was not, he explained that it is based on need, not income. ICANN determines what expenses it anticipates and then allocates out what the registrars,etc. pay into the pot. I questioned the checks on such an approach. What prevents ICANN from simply determining that it needs $X million for grandiose schemes, but he said that the budget is posted for public review, that the board must approve it based upon feedback. I asked where in the budget was accommodation for an At Large membership or an election if, on the slim chance, the board determined that one would be held this year. He said that it is not in the budget but that ICANN has "reserves" from which it can draw.

    My comments as a panelist at this meeting are posted at: http://www.domainhandbook.com/tarbaby.html. Barbara Simons, another panelist, has posted hers at: http://barbara.simons.org/ALSC.doc.

    I feel that this clean sheet study of the At Large membership diverts us from the point that the original ICANN structure, which purportedly was developed through a consensus based process (IFWP), has never been tried. I urged that ICANN be advised not to engage in any further policy -making until it has a fully representative board and fully-enpowered At Large membership. Four board members still have voting power although the are at the table by private appointment. I called At Large membership ICANN's ultimate tar baby. This process is like whack-a-mole. Each time one issue is dealt with and knocked down, a new one pops up.

    IMHO, this is ICANN's last chance to achieve legitimacy and certainly its only road to accountability. Given ICANN's opaque processes and ongoing semantic gymnastics ("The corporation shall not have members notwithstanding the use of the term 'members' in its bylaws.") I am prepared for ICANN to make the wrong choices--those which inhibit a public voice in its policy-making and board representation). If that is what ultimately comes to pass, I'll write-off the hundreds of hours I've devoted to this process and join those who expect ICANN to become just another fossil in the Internet's history.

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      Related Links  
  • http://www.domainhandbook.com/ tarbaby.html.
  • http://barbara.simons.org/ALSC .doc
  • IFWP
  • At Large Study Committee Outreach Meeting
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee Meeting - August 13 | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 17 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday August 15 2001, @03:24AM (#1833)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/

    The link in the above article doesn't work; it was entered with a space before it and a period after it. Here's the correct link:


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee
    by Mpawlo on Wednesday August 15 2001, @11:11AM (#1851)
    User #2936 Info | http://www.pawlo.com/
    The web cast did not work at all during the Outreach meeting, nor was it archived. However, according to this message Mr Pindar Wong will try to get his hands on a MiniDisc with the recording from the meeting and later publish a digital recording online.


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee
    by Mpawlo on Wednesday August 15 2001, @11:19AM (#1852)
    User #2936 Info | http://www.pawlo.com/
    I agree that there are a major risk (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it), that ICANN will become an Internet fossil. I have written some thoughts of my own on this matter.



    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday August 15 2001, @03:27AM (#1834)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/

    > People are fools to continue to watch ICANN.

    Well, actually, given their ongoing efforts to screw the "little guy", it is actually imperative that we keep them under careful watch, not foolish.

    It is true, however, that we should devote our watching efforts to finding out what they're really up to, rather than focusing on the sideshows they put on to entertain us.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Anonymous posts
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday August 15 2001, @03:28AM (#1835)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    You'd be more credible if you signed your name instead of posting anonymously.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Participant's Report: At Large Study Committee
    by Anonymous on Wednesday August 15 2001, @09:13AM (#1849)
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