New study of ICANN reconsideration process
Date: Tuesday June 25 2002, @06:00PM
Topic: ICANN Staff and Structure

Ethan Katsh and Alan Gaitenby of U Mass's Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution have published a study of ICANN's dubiously named "Request for Reconsideration" -- or at least such would seem to be the conclusion of their report, "Three Years of Experience: A Report on ICANNís 'Request for Reconsideration' Policy." [Updated]

Katsh and Gaitenby's study examines these circumstances (quoting their report):

  • Thirty one requests for reconsideration have been filed. Excluding pending cases and other cases not pursued or available, ICANN responded to twenty six cases. Of these twenty six requests, only one was responded to favorably.
  • Petitioners requested stays in eleven of the twenty six requests. No stays were granted and only one was even acknowledged.
  • While the Reconsideration policy states that ICANN will attempt to respond within thirty days, that almost never happened. More disputes went unanswered for six months than were answered in one month.
  • Fifteen of the requests involved issues related to the selection of new top level domains (tlds). Most of the other eleven raised questions of significance to the ICANN community. There does not seem to be any basis for finding that the reconsideration process has suffered form frivolous complaints.
Overall, their cautiously stated conclusions conform with what one might expect when one puts the foxes in charge of the henhouse:
ICANN should be concerned about the picture we have drawn of the reconsideration experience. It may be only a coincidence that petitioners lose consistently in a process where winning and losing is determined by those who participated in the very decision being contested. Such outcomes, however, will inevitably appear to be self-serving.

[As Professor Katsh notes in his comment, my initial writeup misread his and Gaitenby's study. I've amended the rest of the article with apologies to the authors for my error and thanks for their generosity.]

Katsh and Gaitenby note the recommendations of ICANN's "Evaluation and Reform Committee"...

  • Creation of an Ombuds Office
  • Appointment of a staff member to oversee and manage public participation
  • Establishment of a non-binding arbitration process for challenging Board actions that might violate ICANN bylaws.
...but suggest that, "in both design and implementation, more attention and oversight be given to these new processes than has been given to the reconsideration request process."

Given the current trajectory of ICANN's so-called evolution and reform, it seems unlikely that these proposed options could provide effective safeguards, so it's fair to question Katsh and Gaitenby's seeming acceptance of these recommendations even as a starting point. But there's lots of room for disagreement among ICANN's critics, and the authors deserve much credit for their study -- which is a formidable contribution to the growing body of quantitative literature that supports the conclusion that ICANN's efforts are substantively and structurally biased.

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Re: New study of ICANN reconsideration process
by Ethan on Tuesday June 25 2002, @08:25PM (#7464)
User #3418 Info
A slight clarification of the above. The three suggestions listed (Ombuds office, etc.) were made by the Evaluation and Reform Committee. I would agree that the value of any of these suggestions is in the details and how they are implemented. There is a big difference, for example, with the original independent review proposal that would have been free to users, and the Evaluation and Reform Committee proposal that would require losers to pay what would be a quite substantial cost.
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Clarification of ICANN reconsideration process
by ANNODOMINI2000 (reversethis-{KU.OC.OOHAY} {ta} {D0002DA}) on Wednesday June 26 2002, @05:33AM (#7477)
User #3359 Info | http://www.ad2000d.co.uk/
Are you referring to reconsideration of UDRP and STOP Decisions or something else please?
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
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    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=02/06/25/220000