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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    USA Goverment Relations The Big Picture
    ICANN's New Commitment to Transparency Arrives Via Secret Process
    posted by michael on Wednesday September 30 2009, @07:59AM

    ehasbrouck writes "ICANN has announced, with great fanfare, a new Affirmation of Commitments by the United States Department of Commerce and ICANN.

    This "Affirmation" was signed by the CEO on behalf of ICANN and appears to make "commitments" about actions ICANN will take which would have a major impact on ICANN's policies and procedures. the "affirmation" was announced, apparently, just minutes or seconds after a Board telephone vote this morning. The outcome had obviously been expected (and the proposal could have been included with the agenda), and the announcement -- including comments from a select few who had apparently shown the proposal -- had obviously been prepared in advance,

    But whatever deliberation occurred prior to the approval of this "affirmation of commitments" was entirely secret -- except for those favorite friends ICANN chose to invite into the smoke-filled room, or to whom the deliberations or decisions were leaked.

    Was this a bottom-up process? No.

    Was there any community consensus? No. There couldn't be, since the "community" had no idea what was being proposed or considered and there hadn't been any "consensus development" process.

    Were the proposed commitments published for community review? No.

    Was there any forum for community comment on the proposals? No.

    Were they publicly debated by the Board? No.

    Was there any notice that they were under consideration by the Board? No. (The closest the agenda for today's non-transparent closed telephone meeting of the Board comes is "JPA progress report". Report. Not new policy proposal. Not action.)

    In fact, the completely secret, nontransparent and unaccountable way in which these "commitments" were adopted is clear and compelling evidence of ICANN's continuing *lack* of any actual commitment to these principles, or indeed to any transparency or accountability; its continuing commitment to lie -- as loudly and as prominently as it can -- about its lack of accountability and transparency; and the continuing need for *real* transparency and accountability.

    As a reminder to the "community", these are the transparency and accountability rules in the Bylaws that ICANN is *supposed* to follow when considering policy proposals like these "commitments":


    Section 1. PURPOSE

    ICANN and its constituent bodies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures designed to ensure fairness.

    Section 2. WEBSITE

    ICANN shall maintain a publicly-accessible Internet World Wide Web site (the "Website"), which may include, among other things, (i) a calendar of scheduled meetings of the Board, Supporting Organizations, and Advisory Committees; (ii) a docket of all pending policy development matters, including their schedule and current status;...


    At least seven days in advance of each Board meeting (or if not practicable, as far in advance as is practicable), a notice of such meeting and, to the extent known, an agenda for the meeting shall be posted.


    1. With respect to any policies that are being considered by the Board for adoption that substantially affect the operation of the Internet or third parties, including the imposition of any fees or charges, ICANN shall:

    a. provide public notice on the Website explaining what policies are being considered for adoption and why, at least twenty-one days (and if practical, earlier) prior to any action by the Board;

    b. provide a reasonable opportunity for parties to comment on the adoption of the proposed policies, to see the comments of others, and to reply to those comments, prior to any action by the Board; and

    c. in those cases where the policy action affects public policy concerns, to request the opinion of the Governmental Advisory Committee and take duly into account any advice timely presented by the Governmental Advisory Committee on its own initiative or at the Board's request.

    2. Where both practically feasible and consistent with the relevant policy development process, an in-person public forum shall also be held for discussion of any proposed policies as described in Section 6(1)(b) of this Article, prior to any final Board action.


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      Related Links  
    · ICANN
    · ehasbrouck
    · fanfare
    · Affirmation of Commitments by the United States Department of Commerce and ICANN
    · agenda
    · More USA Goverment Relations stories
    · Also by michael
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