ICANN to At-Large: Drop Dead
Date: Thursday March 14 2002, @05:21AM
Topic: Membership Issues

We've had no time so far to write extended analysis of the news coming out of Accra, but here is a brief report of one piece of breaking news: The ICANN Board has formally rejected the possibility of further elections for At-Large directors. In a resolution adopted Thursday morning (Ghana time), the Board stated that it had concerns about "the fairness, representativeness, validity and affordability of global online elections," and concluded that elections were not "the best means of achieving meaningful public representation or the informed participation of Internet users in the ICANN process." The Board thus rejected the key recommendation of its blue-ribbon At Large Study Committee. It indicated that while it "appreciated" the committee's work, the committee's minimalist call for a limited, scaled-back version of elections was still, well, unacceptable.

Rather, the Board pronounced, individuals, small business, and non-commercial organizations can "meaningfully participate" in the ICANN process in a different way: They can participate in local "self-organized and self-sustaining" Internet community institutions, and those organizations can provide a means by which individuals and non-commercial organizations can convey their views to the Board. All this, the Board continued, is to take place within the context of restructuring such as that described in last month's Lynn report. The gist of the Lynn report, you may recall, is that the ICANN Board should be essentially self-perpetuating, with no obligation actually to listen to any public comments it receives, and the right to implement whatever proposals it thinks best even where they are wholly unsupported by community consensus.

So the Board firmly and enthusiastically supports the right of individuals and noncommercial organizations to organize themselves into groups that have nothing to do with ICANN, and to offer advice about ICANN policies, so long as those individuals and noncommercial organizations have no role in choosing ICANN directors and the people who are chosen as ICANN directors have no obligation to listen to them. Now that's "meaningful participation."

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Re: ICANN to At-Large: Drop Dead
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday March 14 2002, @07:50AM (#5283)
User #2810 Info
Coverage from Andy Sullivan, Reuters; and Wired on USG bipartisan concerns.

I had earlier mentioned that the ICANN Public Forum of March 13 was apparently later retransmitted, and hoped the same might hold true for today's BoD meeting of March 14. It is now after 1830 hrs Accra time on March 14 and there is no mention of any rebroadcast, nor is the feed working (though the idly curious can try it here), so, like so much to do with ICANN, that appears a vain hope. The U. of Oregon Videolab does say there will be archives available when feasible, whatever that means.

As I missed much of today's meeting, I am curious what became of the proposed motion on the Redemption Grace Period here on page 8 [.pdf]. The chat log is rather unclear on this point, and ICANN's preliminary report doesn't mention it at all. Can anyone fill in the blanks?

Finally, I agree completely with Abel Wisman's sentiments. The realtime scribe that ICANN inself couldn't manage was handled most ably by GA Alt Chair Alexander Svensson and flawlessly piped to the web by GA Chair Thomas Roessler. ICANN didn't ask them to do this (given what went down in Accra it is no surprise ICANN wanted minimal coverage), they did this voluntarily, they did it on extremely short notice, and they did it well, all in the true spirit of what built the internet. And they were elected by the self-selecting GA membership, those individuals whom the ICANN BoD, staff, and lawyers want to cut out of the equation. It is clear where the real competence is with ICANN, and it is increasingly on the outside looking in. -g

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