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    Membership Issues More on the ALSC report
    posted by jon on Tuesday August 28 2001, @08:31AM

    Two items in the ALSC report are worth particular attention. The first is the concept, repeated several times, that the ICANN Board should be set up to reflect a three-way "balance among developers, providers and users." That's the basis for the ALSC's proposal that the ALSO should get exactly six seats on the Board: It gets one-third of the Board, because its function is to represent users, who are one of the three groups entitled to representation. It's worth thinking about what this means for the other entities that currently select ICANN Board members, though.



    If we take it seriously, then it suggests that the "developers of Internet standards" -- that is, the PSO -- get a third of the board (six seats), and that the "providers of the domain name and address system" get another third. Those "providers" presumably include the (IP address) Regional Internet Registries currently represented in the ASO, and the domain-name registries and registrars currently represented in the DNSO. But the set of "providers" doesn't appear to include the business constituency, or the IP constituency, or the ISPs, or the non-commercial organizations' constituency. None of those folks are providers of the domain-name system; rather, they're users of that system. And user representation, we're told, comes through the At-Large Supporting Organization. Their representation, under the report's three-way split, comes not through the DNSO but through their participation in ALSO elections.

    To be sure, the ALSC report doesn't say explicitly what I just said. Rather, it says: "We assume that the DNSO will reorganize to achieve a more effective structure and decision-making process, and therefore did not suggest a specific assignment of the non-At-Large seats." But I think that for better or worse, that approach (which was the explicit basis for "Option A" in the committee's options template) is implicit in at least some of the report's language. And it makes some sense: If business users get representation both through a constituency in the DNSO and by voting their domain names in the At-Large, then they're double-counted.

    (It's also worth noting, btw, the report's conspicuous silence on the demand of the ccTLDs for their own Supporting Organization.)

    The other point worth close attention in the ALSC report is its recommendation that voting be restricted to domain-name holders. The first question that leaps to mind is the practical impact of that restriction: Who are the domain-name holders of the world? What sort of directors would they select, as compared to the larger group that voted in last year's elections? It's been said that a high percentage (the number that comes to mind is 80%) of domain names are registered by businesses; on the other hand, I don't know whether that figure includes names registered by businesses such as ISPs *on behalf of* non-business users.

    [8/28 addition: I mentioned the ALSC report to a colleague of mind, and she said that the domain-name ownership requirement, along with its associated rationale, reminded her exactly of the nineteenth-century rule that a man must own land in order to be allowed to vote. Sounds right to me.]

    Then we get to the question of mechanics. There are several issues of concern here, but I'll focus on one: The report makes clear that individuals who have registered multiple domain names should get only one vote. What, though, about an company such as Proctor & Gamble that has registered hundreds of distinct SLDs? Should it be able to list a different employee as the "at-large membership contact" for each domain name, and thus cause each of them to be voted? If so, then it's hard to understand why the individual owner of multiple domain names should not be allowed similarly to parcel them out among his family members, etc. At that point, though, the system looks uncomfortably like one of simple vote buying. If every person with an email address could vote, then there would be nothing to object to in a system under which companies recruited their own employees to vote in a particular way. But the situation is different where we give the vote only to those people who have registered domain names or who have been listed as an at-large contact by a corporate employer. That approach would allow corporations to dominate the process through large stables of domain names.

    The alternative is a rule that a company -- like an individual -- may vote only one of its domain names. It's not really clear, though, how to enforce such a provision; unclear corporate boundaries (is a wholly owned subsidiary a separate voter?) and the ease with which such a rule could be evaded would make it at least somewhat problematic.

     
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    More on the ALSC report | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 8 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: More on the ALSC report
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday August 31 2001, @01:20AM (#2077)
    User #2810 Info
    There will be a press call with the committee a few hours from now. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: More on the ALSC report
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday September 04 2001, @10:13AM (#2195)
    User #2810 Info
    Carl Bildt responds to criticism from such quarters as the present one in an interview with internetnews.com. That conspicuous silence on the ccTLD question may have been replaced with a whisper that the six different regions could be a nod to the ccTLDs. As the 5 atlarge directors now were chosen regionally, I don't see how that necessarily follows. However, it isn't entirely unbelievable that ICANN would give the ccTLDs some form of control over those regional seats. For example, the problem of verifying voter identity is somewhat lessened at a national level. I don't think the jury rigging is done just yet. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: The At-Large Committee is a Sham
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday August 29 2001, @02:48AM (#2051)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I can't get any of your links to work... you're using some weirdo oddball "encrypted link" method that produces the error message:

    Your browser sent SafeWeb an encrypted URL without a key. Please make sure you have cookies enabled in your browser settings if you wish to use the Obscure History feature.

    As far as I know, I do have cookies enabled. I'm using a recent build of Mozilla, if that matters.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    Re: The At-Large Committee is a Sham
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Wednesday August 29 2001, @05:35AM (#2054)
    User #2810 Info
    I agree with your comments, and consider ICANN an experiment that failed. Given that various arms of the US Government seem to be taking a hands off approach, the only solution I can see is that sooner or later ICANN will be sued for something by someone and various incriminating facts will be disclosed. That will lead to governments (in the US and/or elsewhere) taking belated action, and as likely as not, making things worse. You read it here first. ;)

    BTW, I also got the safeweb error using Micro$oft Internet Exploder 5.5 with cookies enabled. Safeweb links provided previously here in posts did seem to work, but I fail to understand why you don't just give the actual URL. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Repost of The At-Large Committee is a Sham
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Wednesday August 29 2001, @07:45AM (#2056)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I fail to see why you have to "obscure" the links in any manner, whether it be running them through the "SafeWeb" site or by asterisking-out part of the "http" prefix. I've never had any problem with just giving a URL in its full proper form, like:

    http://domains.dantobias.com/structure/intro.html

    or as a HTML hyperlink:
    Here's a link

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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