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Re: [alac] Discussions on the current model

  • To: "Roberto Gaetano" <alac_liaison@xxxxxxxxxxx>, wendy@xxxxxxxxxxx, sricciardi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Re: [alac] Discussions on the current model
  • From: Izumi AIZU <aizu@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2005 03:38:35 +0900

Roberto and all,

Thank you for bringing the focus to this direction, and what Roberto
expressed below is fairly close to what I have in mind, more vaguely perhaps.

Before making my own comment to the specific points you made, I like
to just bring one additional "external" element into the context.

I just heard, with little surprise, that there has been some proposals
to reinforce GAC position within ICANN, including strong permanent
secretariat, and possible voting seats at the Board.

I went inside the GAC room during their coffee break a few minutes
ago, and chatted with two members there. They said that some members
mentioned about the voting power, but denied that any such possibility
be discussed further.

I think it is time for ALAC to seriously consider the "next model" including
the continuation of existing ALS/RALO/ALAC model, but not limited to
that, to ensure how best to bring the users voices to ICANN process
in the post-WSIS situation where at least come governments want
to have larger share of the pie for "pubilc policy" areas.

More later,


At 14:02 05/11/30 +0000, Roberto Gaetano wrote:
Wendy, and all,
[I included Chris in copy, as he might not read the ALAC list, but has raised to me similar questions]

I think that there is little question about the fact that there is, so to speak, room for improvement.
However, I think that different ALAC members are approaching the issue with different strategies, probably because of different approaches to life (what the German philosophers call "Weltanschauung").
Let me explain what my vision is, and why I have this approach.

I do believe that there is an urgent and important need for user participation, to make the voice and the problems of the people who do not have either a commercial or technological interest or function heard by the Board and influential in ICANN's decisions. However, as Steff used to say, there's a difference between "voice" and "vote". And, may I add, the latter without the former is IMHO not useful to make things progress, while we can live with having the former without the latter for a while, building the conditions to have eventually both.
This is how historically all successful movements have built their way into systems from which they were excluded.
The direct election of Board members by individual users that had no influence in the process in between elections is, IMHO, a mediatic success, but a failure from the participation point of view. This is why I do believe that the NA region takes the wrong approach in refusing trying the present model. I would argue that if instead of 22 certified ALSes we had now 222, we would be half way to the solution. Once RALOs established, each region could organize itself in a way to have direct individual user participation (this is the model that we are currently discussing in Europe), but since our target is participation by the thousands, I do believe that a two level model would scale better. In other words, a representative democracy model rather than a direct democracy model.
In this view, I would strongly recommend EFF, ACM, CDT, and what else, to join and start working from the inside to improve the mechanism.

Now a word on the "why".
This is my third attempt to build user participation, and I am not sure I will have the energy and enthusiasm to attempt a fourth one.
The first attempt was the individual users constituency of the DNSO. A great idea, I thought, lots of people supporting it. However, as I confessed to a friend upon my retirement from the ICANN world after the Berlin meeting, I succeded in having my employer (ETSI) qualifying to join the PSO, but I failed in having the individual users constituency accepted in the DNSO. And I consider the failure having been more significant the success.
The second attempt was the GA-DNSO. When I accepted the Chairmanship, my dream was to build a voice for everybody in a context in which civil discourse would be the interiorized rule (meaning that people would have behaved that way without need for enforcement), the noise/signal ratio very low, the voting process such as to be able to present community-consensus proposals to the attention of the decision makers. We all know how it ended.
This is the third one. The point is that I would like to see some results, not to leave the task to my childrens. To abandon the attempt without having exploited its potential would, IMHO, bring us back to square one. And the clock is ticking.

My recommendation would be, therefore, to strongly advise the Board to conduct a review of the ALAC that must include an evaluation of the mechanism as soon as possible, ideally in 2006, while concentrating in Vancouver on what we can do with the present structure for making the users' voice heard.
This will mean to go ahead building the RALOs in the regions where feasible (at least AP and EU, possibly LAC and AF), a strong "last call for boarding" to potential ALSes, the commitment for the newborn RALOs to identify working mechanisms for individual (meaning non-ALS) participation, revitalization of public lists and public comment areas, and other items we might be able to identify in the next days.
I have already started in the Board, and in particular with Vint, to introduce the concept that RALOs might have a representation mechanism that would allow inclusion of individuals not related to organizations, as a short term change, and the need for a voting representation in the Board, as a medium term change. But I am strongly convinced that the order should not be reversed.

Best regards,
ICANN BoD Liaison

From: Wendy Seltzer <wendy@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Sebas Ricciardi" <sricciardi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
CC: "'ALAC - interim'" <alac@xxxxxxxxx>, <alice@xxxxxxx>, <shahshah@xxxxxxxx>, <jacqueline.morris@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [alac] Discussions on the current model
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 20:31:22 -0500

Thanks Sebastian,

I recognize the hard work that committee members have done to recruit the ALS applicants we've had, I just don't see enough results for the At-Large user-base to keep it up without a major rethinking of how ALAC can have impact within ICANN.

At 09:27 PM 11/29/2005 -0300, Sebas Ricciardi wrote:

I think it will be constructive, since you've raised this issue, if you
could provide us some practical examples of the difficulties you're
experiencing. Besides Danny Younger, Richard Henderson and Karl Auerbach,
how many organizations have turned you down? Why?

None of EFF, EPIC, ACLU, CDT, or ACM (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, American Civil Lerties Union, Center for Democracy and Technology, Association for Computing Machinery), all organizations that deal with Internet users in areas ICANN's mission touches, have shown any interest in being involved with ALSs. In large part, the ALS-RALO-Advisory Committee path sounds too remote.

Further, it does bother me that of the few who have expressed interest in the U.S. , the current structure doesn't even accommodate them all.

Thanks, I'll look forward to joining the group in Vancouver for further discussions.

Wendy Seltzer -- wendy@xxxxxxxxxxx
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Chilling Effects: http://www.chillingeffects.org

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