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

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    ICANN Bid for Independent Status Gets Cool Reception | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 25 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Thousands of Voices Get Direct Say At ICANN
    by Anonymous on Monday April 02 2007, @08:39AM (#16936)
    Quoted from the ALAC Self-Review at http://icannalac.org/content/view/148/88/

    Ongoing Dissatisfaction

    Without a strong vehicle for communication of end-user interests to ICANN, the ALAC faces a chicken-and-egg problem to gaining individuals' participation: End-users have little incentive to participate in a complex construction of structures and bureaucracies if they do not see where they will have an impact on ICANN decisions. Currently, ALAC can send liaisons to the GNSO Council and to its Task Forces, but cannot vote in those policy-development processes. Likewise, ALAC can and does call for public comment on ICANN policies, gather those comments and additional research into end-user interests, and submit reports to the Board incorporating the public comment, but has no clear indication that those reports make a difference. As a result, some on the ALAC feel that their comments to the Board regarding the interests of individual Internet users are a one-way conversation. Often ALAC submits comments without getting the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Board to understand whether the interests of individual users are being heard or whether the ALAC comments could be revised to address questions and criticisms from other sources.

    Faced with what they believe is little evidence of ALAC impact and constricted input channels, some members have found it challenging to recruit Internet users to participate in structure-formation. In North America, for example, although the region has many already-established public interest groups that address Internet-related issues for Internet users, almost none has felt that applying for recognition as an ALS is worth the effort. The recruitment pitch is not compelling: "Form a structure (or apply for recognition of an existing structure) in order jointly to form another structure, which will have the power to select two members to a committee whose chief power is to select members of a nominating committee that, finally, selects eight of 15 members of the ICANN Board." The layered indirection might not be fatal if some of the intermediate steps were also meaningful, but existing ICANN process does little to make that so.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:ICANNWatch - documenting ICANN?
    by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Tuesday April 03 2007, @06:39PM (#16939)
    User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
    I apologize -- it would have been much better to say "makes official" rather than "makes public", this being the first time (to my knowledge) it's appeared as a formal suggestion in an official report rather than a trial balloon. I had completely forgotten about the earlier drafts.

    On an only somewhat tangential point, I think one thing this points up is how useful it would be for those who don't do ICANN full time if there were a summary page -- maybe spreadsheet style -- where one could see the timeline of all ongoing ICANN consultations with a VERY brief bullet point summary of the issues they address.

    However, I totally disagree with your characterization of the RALO's which are by any ordinary definition INDIRECT representation of those thousands of voices. And I also disagree that ICANN has any obligation to listen (in the sense of giving weight as opposed to nodding politely) to what RALOs say. Contrast the position of, say, registrars' representatives. They have Board members with votes. (And the threat of lawsuits in the background.) It's that simple. Recall that the RALO's are the result of rejecting the real bottom-up suggestions for a membership structure because they were too empowering. (Remember the At-Large Study Organization's recommendations? ICANN's Membership Advisory Committee? Its Membership Implementation Task Force? The NAIS study? They all proposed rather more than what we got.)

    I also reiterate what I said about the Board meetings. All important ICANN decisions are, so far as I can tell, made in either in private phone board meetings, or in the secret pre-show meetings. ICANN's claim that it has meaningful transparency at the Board level is not credible. A number of former Board members agree. (And we'll see about Susan Crawford's treatment. ICANN has in the past routinely turned on its internal critics and been quite beastly to them when off-camera. It's not inevitable that this will repeat, but many of the same people are in the same positions of power...)

    Incidentally, even Esther Dyson now says that one of ICANN's biggest problems is lack of transparency -- said in an open meeting at the ASIL last week. Ambassador Gross said something similar. This is getting to be close to a consensus view...

    But I do take your final point above.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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