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

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Updates: ICANN Hearings and .za | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 6 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Updates: ICANN Hearings and .za
    by KarlAuerbach on Wednesday June 12 2002, @05:07PM (#7138)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    I'm not going to comment (much) about the content of the hearings - I thought I'm mention what it's like doing one.

    It begins with an invitation to testify - and who can refuse? And it comes with minimal time to arrange travel (at full fare, ouch!) and to write the written statement (it took me several days). All the while there are deadlines (70 copies have to be delivered to the committee several days before the hearing, etc. Kinko's remote printing system is a godsend. ;-)

    So I arrive in DC, and it is hot and muggy. And of course, I'm one of these California coastal people who think "it's June, that means cold and foggy."

    The oral statement has to fit into five minutes, so putting it together is quite an exercise. I'm pleased to say that I managed to make mine short enough that I didn't even get the yellow light - more on the lights later.

    So we got ourselves down to Union Station (I think of the Federal Express [a train] crashing through the wall in 1954). Then we walk to the Russel Senate Office Building. Security is tight, but the guards were friendly and smiling - perhaps the were amused at my need to make three trips to the output bin of the scanner as I forgot, in sequence, my laptop, my cell phone, my glasses. Am I nervous? You bet'cha!

    The Russel building is huge. Fortunately we found the hearing room fairly quickly.

    It's a nice room - but it has several thousand watts of lights aimed at the speakers' table and so one begins to mentally commiserate with food cooking on a bbq.

    There are lots of people there - a lot of familiar faces - and ICANN "staff" is there in force. I wonder what that cost? None of them are smiling.

    The press is there - and it is becoming clear that they are getting more and more aware of issues of Internet governance.

    NTIA is there - Karen Rose - she always seems to be the happiest of people - introduces me to Nancy Victory, who is also looking rather cheerful. (My first impression is that she brings a constructive attitude and positive outlook.)

    The GAO is there in force. Always these folks remind me of the old movies in which the government is good and intelligent - I don't know how the GAO does it, but every person I've met from there has impressed me with their intelligence, education, knowledge, and dedication. To borrow a marketing phrase - they are a cure for the common government.

    The Senators' staff all sit in chairs behind the Senators. They are all up on a dias and we are all down in the pit. There is a significant distance beween the Senators and the witness table - the statement of who is dominant is quite clear.

    The chairman is clearly the focus. I find it interesting to compare the style of dialog within ICANN - often abusive, often deeply personel - with the stylized and polite way the Senators speak to one another. Our electronic fora would be well served to learn that kind of etiquitte.

    The Senators are clearly masters of the spoken word - they know how to make the witnesses feel comfortable or uncomfortable.

    Each Senator and each witness has a time budget - and there is an array of colored lights that tell whoever is speaking that their time is ticking away.

    The red light was on frequently today. But everyone was allowed to finish. I interepreted this as a sign of interest - that the chairman was not looking at this hearing as just something to be endured, but rather as something of substance.

    Speaking to the Senators is an art - there is a protocol. A witness does not correct a Senator, rather one extends or clarifies. And one does not interupt or speak over a Senator. Humor doesn't seem to work very well. Irony and metaphors are risky. And there is little opportunity to correct ambiguities or mistakes. I wonder how this aspect of our system of government is going to evolve as we of the printed/spoken word generation give way to "the video generation"?

    Back to the hearing - we witnesses give our five minute presentation. I know that I want to talk for hours and feel incredibly confined.

    Then the senators ask questions. In my case there are questions that are asked of others that I'm just dying to answer, but it's not quite part of the rules to engage in conspicuous body language in an attempt to say "I'd like to answer that".

    It is tense but there are moments of relaxation and humor. And it is all over far too soon.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    disappointed with Karl
    by Anonymous on Wednesday June 12 2002, @09:45PM (#7144)
    I am dissapointed that Karl Auerbach did not speak out against corrupt registrars, the .info distribution scheme (closed lists etc.) and table resolutions to introduce more extensions into the namespace. It seems that disputes with ICANN management and initiating a power struggle with other equally poor performing board members is all that Karl accomplished.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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