a. Should the ICANN Board include At Large Directors?|
any organization that makes decisions that have wide ranging effects, there needs
to be elected officials rather than appointed ones to ensure that all viewpoints
are respected and taken into account. ICANN has made decisions that are akin
to laws -- without a democratic process. For example, the UDRP was never created
via a democratic process and because of this, many people feel alienated and have
great animosity and mistrust of ICANN. This perception has made the ICANN board a
target in the media and damaged itís reputation.
Because of the political nature
of the decisions made in ICANN, more input is needed from diverse sources. With an
appointed board there is little risk of losing one's position if one makes a bad
decision. An elected board puts checks and balances in place to insure that people
who serve their own political agendas rather than the agenda of the internet community
will not remain long. Since most decisions are political in nature, technical experts
are often called in to steer decision-making. For example, ICANN used experts to
analyze the technical and organizational feasibility of all the companies that applied
to be registrars for the new top-level domain names. In this example ICANN didn't
need a technical expert on the board. Since technical experts are not needed, average
people representing the internet community at large will suffice.
b. If so, how
many such At Large Directors should there be?
The entire board should be composed
of elected members (15 members). It should be representative of the internet community
and not predefined by countries, markets, occupations, industry, borders, or race.
c. How should any such At Large Directors be selected?
They should be selected
d. If selection by an At Large membership is recommended, what processes
and procedures should be used to create that At Large membership? What minimum criteria,
if any, should be required for membership? Precisely how should an At Large membership
select At Large Directors?
Since virtually everyone in the world is affected by
the decisions made by ICANN then everyone who is using the internet should be eligible
for an at large membership. The at large community should elect board members - it's
the only fair way to do it. Why? Consider these examples. For example: board
members in the high tech industry might tend to manipulate ICANN decisions to favor
high tech business. Board members in the legal profession could try to create policies
that are akin to laws without consulting the internet community and may try to install
loopholes in policies. Board members from the political professions could try to
over-regulate the internet and use it as a platform to legislate their own political
agendas and moral codes. Board members from the scientific community could tend to
ignore what is popular or needed in business or by individual users. Board members
from fortune 500 companies may decide that trademark holders rights should be above
all others and might manipulate the decisions to favor that outcome. There needs
to be diversity.
e. If an At Large membership is to exist, what should its structure,
role and functions be?
The membership can be a great tool to ICANN. The membership
can provide input about possible bad decisions and policies and the consequences
of those decisions. Instead of ICANN reacting to the media after a bad decision,
the at large membership can cut off a bad decision or policy before it is made public
by telling the board what people really think. ICANN should have a suggestion board
where members can suggest policy, report perceived abuse, and keep the board informed
with diverse viewpoints. ICANN should poll itís members about the content of policies,
decisions made, and confidence in the board. For example, if ICANN had a suggestion
board, I would suggest that it review the document entitled "Staff Recommendation
on Implementation of Article II, Section 5 of ICANN Bylaws, calling for an At Large
Study". The manner in which the document is worded shows clever arrogance and subtly
suggests a personal intolerance of At Large members. One would tend to believe the
author didn't approve of the At Large membership.