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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    A Public Private Partnership | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 17 comments | Search Discussion
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    Bret is Right
    by George Matrox on Thursday February 19 2004, @01:44PM (#12996)
    User #3946 Info
    The use of the phrase "public-private partnership" is, as Bret says, hardly new. Almost two years ago, when Dr. Lynn issued his paper that kicked off the ICANN reform process, here's what ICANN's announcement said:

    "What has become clear to me and others is that a purely private organization will not work," said Lynn. "The Internet has become too important to national economic and social progress. Governments, as the representatives of their populations, must participate more directly in ICANN's debates and policymaking functions. We must find the right form of global public-private partnership - one that combines the agility and strength of a private organization with the authority of governments to represent the public interest."

    Announcement of "ICANN President Recommends a Roadmap for Reform", 24 February 2002 <http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-2 4feb02.htm> [icann.org].

    Although the form of PPP Dr. Lynn originally proposed was not adopted in the reform process, another variant of public-private partnership was agreed and implemented in the 2002 ICANN bylaws.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Origin of that phrase
    by Anonymous on Thursday February 19 2004, @01:48PM (#12997)
    A true partnership implies a sharing of power. ICANN, because it is a California corporation, vests plenary power in ICANN's board of directors.

    If ICANN were a partnership that ultimate power would be shared among the partners. It is not.

    Certainly there are limitations on what ICANN can do - civil and criminal law impose some limitations - and the Dept of Commerce could withdraw the IANA franchise. But ICANN derives no more "public-private parternership" karma from its contracts with the US government than does Halliburton from its contracts with the US government.

    A better word for ICANN would be "government-business forum". That would more properly reflect the identity of the empowered participants as well as make it clear that at the end of the day all that was tendered was advisory and it's still ICANN's board (and staff) that makes the choices and calls the shots.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Origin of that phrase
    by Anonymous on Saturday February 21 2004, @03:11AM (#13012)
    I think you might be missing a point of subtlety. You and other posters have argued that Governments have a large influence on ICANN decision making. I think that is relatively uncontroversial. Perhaps you could thus say ICANN works in partnership with Governments (or indeed private sector players such as Verisign), without stretching language too far.

    But to say ICANN is a partnership between Governments and the private sector is surely to misrepresent things. A partnership implies (at least to me) a vountary association of two or more persons (in the leal sense) who jointly own and carry out business (normally for profit). And they tend to have distinct features, one of the most important being that the actions of any one partner bind the others in respect of the business, suject (normally) to a partnership agreement.

    So if ICANN is a public/private partnership, exactly who are all of these public and private partners, what have they agreed (under the partnership agreement) and what authority have they given ICANN to bind them? I'd argue the answer is ICANN isn't a partnership - it is a non-profit private company with stakeholders in both the public and private community. And with many of those stakeholders, (pick Governments, pick ccTLDs, pick the at large community), there is a distinct absence of any such agreements - there is no voluntary participation.

    Describing it as a partnership between public and private sector lends a credibility to it which it does not (yet) have.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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