Return to At Large Study Forum - Message Thread - FAQ

Username: jmgraham
Date/Time: Thu, November 30, 2000 at 3:22 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Score: 15
Subject: Answers to proposed questions

Message:
 

 
        a. Should the ICANN Board include At Large Directors?
With 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 by election.
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.