mpawlo writes "Here is an interesting twist on the At large study committee report.
From: toshimaru ogura
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 17:45:19 +0900
Subject: [ALSC-Forum] OPEN LETTER TO ICANN AND ALSC
OPEN LETTER TO ICANN AND ALSC
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey CA 90292-6601
Dear At Large Study Committee and ICANN board members,
Your organization recently issued a Final Report on ICANN At-Large
Membership. When I read the report, I was very astonished to find that
quoted me in a way that completely ignored my actual opinions. Instead,
document used my comments to justify various voting restrictions. I am
writing to tell you that I find this to be really unfair.
The portion of the report that particularly concerns me reads as
"The ALSC is concerned by some evidence that the very low entrance
in last year's At-Large election may have resulted in a large enrollment
people who were not actively interested in ICANN, but who enrolled only
because it was easy, or who were 'encouraged' to do so simply because of
"For example, Toshimaru Ogura, author of 'Japanese Experience about
Election Campaign,' states, 'It was clear they disregarded the intent of
ICANN's election, and that JIF [Japan Internet Forum] was set-up at the
direction of MPT [Ministry of Postal and Telecommunications] to get a
(not Asia) Board Member. Private sector was involved in the JIF at the
direction of the MPT. The private sector and the government are not
in Japan; only excluding government is not enough. Several ISP's in
developed a campaign for ICANN elections. A special web page was created
promote Japanese votes. Several companies directed their employees to
register. For example, according to an internal document from Hitachi
it was assigned to produce 1500 registrations, and management assigned
registrations for each office and section, and required a registration
report to meet quota.'
"Domain name ownership, cost and verification, and membership fees may
deter problems such as nationalistic competition and involvement of
disinterested individuals, as well as the establishment of election
and consequences for breaking the rules."
In fact, I am against further voting restrictions. But because of the
comments were cited, your report may deceive people who do not know my
background regarding ICANN At Large issues.
More specifically, in my view, ICANN should not place any further
restrictions on its terms of membership, even if, during the last
the Japanese government mobilized people who had little interest in the
ICANN process. Rather, I propose that ICANN should resolve the issues
by such top down election campaigning and do a better job educating
users. Also I strongly insist that global democracy is necessary for
Internet governance and that all users should have the right to
in this decision making process.
Unfortunately, ICANN and the ALSC have ignored these ideas and used only
portion of my comments that are in their favor.
So I would like you to answer the following questions.
1. Why did you cite my arguments without mentioning my main contentions?
2. What do you think about my assertion that more participatory
(based on global democracy ideals) are necessary for the ICANN At Large
membership structure? I am sending my formal suggestions to you once
(as an appendix to this letter). If you want to quote me, you should at
least critique my ideas and explain why your more restrictive proposal
3. I fear that the people who read the portion of the ALSC report that
quotes me may misinterpret my views. Therefore I fear other civil
groups may lose confidence in me. What do you think about this?
NaST (NCDNHC member organization)
JCA-Net Board member (Japan)
Excerpt from Report for At Large Study Committee Outreach Meeting
Originally submitted June 5, 2001
3 How to avoid top-down/nationalistic election campaign?
3-1 Enough information
I think that given the enough information, most of the above issues will
disappeared. Therefore ICANN should give enough information for
speaking people. "Enough information" should include not only official
announces and documents but also various opinions and discussion from
over the world. It seems very difficult to realize in short time. But
should make effort for this as possible as they can. ICANN should not be
ICANN issues are not belong to technical specialists even if it contains
"technical management" because another important mission of ICANN is
development" based on democracy and transparent procedure by various
Internet communities including civil society groups. The policy making
ICANN should be possible by ordinary users who has not so much
technical knowledge but should have a proper knowledge about what the
democratic policy making of the Internet governance is and what the
of users are. ICANN should educate the users from above point of view on
whom democracy of the Internet governance is be based.
3-3 Important role of civil society
3-3-1 Civil society NGOs
I feel responsibility as an activist of NGOs in Japan for above top-down
election issues in Japan because we could not take an action as enough
could because of lack of our experiences about ICANN issues. I think we
to do a lot of things for promoting more democratic procedure in not
global but also local level.
Activities of NGOs do not belong to ICANN directly, but they may be
into a kind of user communities. Internet users of civil society
NGOs can have a very important position for promoting above missions
outside of ICANN organization.
3-3-2 Outreach to individual users beyond professional NGOs
Population of the Internet users increases rapidly. The Internet does
belong to specialists of computer technology and communication any more.
Though the role of NGOs is still very important, NGOs cannot catch up
rapid growth of the Internet. The scheme that NGOs as civil society
representatives lobby to International organizations will become not so
effective as before. On the other hand, individual users will become to
a responsibility for the Internet governance directly. ICANN At Large
election in 2000 was very useful and important experiences for more
participation based on individual users.
Therefore At Large election should be direct participation by individual
users. Internet users will not need any assistance for policy making of
Internet in near future. The idea that any intermediate organization
represents At Large members and At Large board members should be elected
the intermediate organization must be recognized completely as unclear,
opaque and exclusive procedure for users. Each NGO as activists
or specialists for technology and politics will become the civil society
organization which has limited missions and interests. They may become
legitimate representative for At Large members but just a navigator with
various directions within the civil society.
3-4 Democratic procedure for the Internet governance in local
Top-down campaign might end in failure if local Internet governance
organization had a democratic body and civil society groups had more
concerning the Internet governance issues in local level. ICANN issues
also applicable to local governance organization such as JPNIC. If so,
should approach democratization both of ICANN itself and local
I know that there is an opinion that the At Large election should be
restricted more in oder to avoid top-down/nationalistic election. I
this opinion does not stem from civil society groups, rather this is a
of conspiracy pretending democracy. The necessary measures exist in the
contrary direction. I believe we can promote more bottom-up and more
society oriented At Large election process if ICANN has proper measures
were so minded.
Individual users in the Internet including Japanese people are not
absolutely stupid, rather the information system of ICANN makes
users ignoramus. Therefore people should not accept the responsibility
the one who insists on more restricted election without any effort or
one who completely disregards the interest of global Internet community
intend to introduce national or business interest should take
for top-down/nationalistic election process.
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