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Comments of the ISPCP Constituency on the ALAC Review

  • To: <alac-final-2008@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Comments of the ISPCP Constituency on the ALAC Review
  • From: <mark.h.mcfadden@xxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 18:39:55 +0100

ISPCP Comments to the ALAC Review

In the main, the ISPCP constituency believes that the At-Large Advisory
Committee (ALAC) can serve a useful and important role in ICANN to
"consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN, insofar as they
relate to the interests of individual Internet users."  [from the
Bylaws]  We believe that, although the ALAC initially had an ineffectual
beginning, it has seen significant improvement in the past year.
Nevertheless, it has a long way to go before it can truly be said to
represent the interests of the general Internet user community.
Therefore, the ISPCP constituency welcomes the ALAC Review as a valuable
starting point for strengthening the ALAC and improving its efficacy.
Toward that end we offer the following comments to the main
recommendations of the BCG report.

1.1 Recommendations
Recommendation 1
That the number of NomCom appointees to the ALAC should be increased
from five to seven, and that this structure should specifically be
revisited at the next triennial review taking account of the then
existing Geographic Regional Structure of ICANN.
                We see no reason to change the number of appointees to
the ALAC.  This would run counter to the concept of ALAC representing
the 5 ICANN regions.  Each region has its own particular interests and
concerns; population is not an overriding factor.

Recommendation 2
That all members of the ALAC (and, ideally, of the RALOs) should be
given clear position descriptions.
                We fully support this recommendation.

Recommendation 3
That the current distribution of the RALOs be left unaltered until at
least the next ALAC review.
                This a reasonable approach.  The implementation of the
RALO concept is still in its early days.  It should be more mature
before considering an alteration of its structure.

Recommendation 4
That ICANN should implement an activity-based costing system in order to
improve resource management.
                We fully endorse this recommendation.  This is
indispensable to improving ALAC's effectiveness.

Recommendation 5
That ICANN should provide further resourcing to support the ALAC, to the
extent of (up to) one new employee per region.
                We agree that ICANN should provide further resourcing
if, as and when necessary to support the ALAC.  The amount and type of
support should be based on the Annual Statement of Intent and ALAC
Strategic Plan (see Rec. 10).  Until a clear and persuasive case is
made, though, it is premature to suggest increased support.

Recommendation 6
That the ALAC Chair negotiate an annual support agreement with ICANN
staff, setting out agreed expectations and performance indicators.

Recommendation 7
The ALAC position on the Board should remain that of a Liaison, with
rights to full participation and information, but no voting rights.
                Agreed.  This is an effective and appropriate way for
ALAC to contribute to the deliberations of the ICANN Board.

Recommendation 8
That the term of appointment of the Board and other Liaisons be extended
to two years, subject to the ALAC retaining the 'right of recall' under
the Rules of Procedure, Rule 11 - Recall Votes.
                Acceptable.  This is a reasonable modification of the
current arrangement.

Recommendation 9
That ICANN staff should create a brief and multi-lingual guide to ICANN
and the ALAC, aimed at individual Internet users and ALSs.
                We fully support this.

Recommendation 10
That the ALAC should develop:
*  A simple annual Statement of Intent which specifies the current
issues and priorities, objectives and activities for the next 12 months,
and defines measures of success for each of the activities and
objectives. This document should be strongly aligned to ICANN's
Strategic and Operational Plans and be published on the ALAC website;
*  Before the next ICANN annual planning cycle, the ALAC should develop
a Strategic Plan of its own (complementing the broader ICANN Strategic
*  Following the development of this Strategic Plan, the ALAC should
then generate an annual Operating Plan which cites the activities and
resources required to support the Strategic Plan during that year (also
complementing the corresponding broader ICANN Strategic and Operating
Plans and fitting the same planning cycle).
                We believe these documents are necessary to improve the
focus and effectiveness of the ALAC.  Considerable emphasis should be
place on outreach activities; today ALAC engages an unacceptably
miniscule fraction of the billion+ Internet users.
                If regional focus is expanded, additional staff support
should be implemented step by step as warranted (see comments on Rec.

Recommendation 11
That the term of appointment of the ALAC Chair should be extended to two
                This is an acceptable modification of the current
arrangement.  As with Rec. 8, we believe the 'right of recall' under the
Rules of Procedure, Rule 11 - Recall Votes should be retained.

Recommendation 12
That the ALAC should explore ways to differentiate between organizations
that genuinely represent individual Internet users, and are therefore
ALS candidates, as opposed to those which may be a better fit with the
                We fully support this.  Additionally we recommend that
both ALAC and NCUC should be urged to clarify the status of

Recommendation 13
That the ALAC should publish on its website trends in the average time
taken from receipt of an ALS application to decision.

Recommendation 14
That regular ALS compliance reviews be conducted and the non-compliance
provisions be applied as appropriate.

Recommendation 15
That ICANN should develop clear sanctions for non-compliance. These
might include: ineligibility for ICANN travel funding; loss of voting
rights; or being suspended until the matter is remedied.

Recommendation 16
That any outstanding issues relating to Ombudsman reports 05-1090 and
06-317, should be dealt with as soon as possible by the ICANN Board or
the ALAC (as appropriate).

Recommendation 17
That the ALAC should develop a clearly defined process for the
engagement of the At-Large community in developing policy positions.
                We fully support this.  A uniform process and increased
outreach are called for.

Recommendation 18
That the ALAC should use multi-lingual wikis rather than the current
email lists to allow the At-Large community to more easily observe and
participate in the development of policy positions.

Recommendation 19
That ICANN should increase the public comment period to 45 calendar days
in order to allow a greater time period for At-Large community
consultation in all regions.
                This should not be necessary if ALAC succeeds in
improving its effectiveness in reaching its target community.  45 days
is unacceptably long.

Recommendation 20
That the ICANN Board should amend the Travel Policy to pay for
accommodation expenses (including breakfast and internet access fees)
and where practicable accommodate At-large members at or very near the
main conference venue. The per diem amount (to cover other appropriate
daily expenses) should also be available as a cash advance for those
that require it.
                No special provisions should be formulated for ALAC
participation in ICANN.  Any ALAC travel policy should be discussed and
developed in the context of the general ICANN travel policy and subject
to the same financial reviews.

Recommendation 21
That private email lists should be used only for appropriate non-public

Recommendation 22
That ICANN should continue to work on its language policy, including
translation and other services.
                Generally supported, but ICANN should determine the
impact on its financial budget implications and transparently make their
findings known to the public. 

Recommendation 23
That ICANN staff should manage and maintain content of the various ALAC
                As with Rec. 22 we generally support this concept, but
with the proviso that the specific budget implications are calculated
and made transparent.

Recommendation 24
That the ALAC should replace email lists with wikis for policy
discussions in particular and continue the evaluation of Web-based tools
to facilitate discussion and collaborative working.
                Agreed.  This should help improve ALAC's effectiveness.

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