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RE: [alac] Statement on proposed settlement from ICANN ALAC

  • To: <forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'ALAC'" <alac@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: [alac] Statement on proposed settlement from ICANN ALAC
  • From: "Sebas Ricciardi" <sricciardi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 20:22:45 -0300


Thank you very much for your work in putting this together.


-----Mensaje original-----
De: owner-alac@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-alac@xxxxxxxxx] En nombre de John L
Enviado el: Jueves, 01 de Diciembre de 2005 07:18 p.m.
Para: settlement-comments@xxxxxxxxx; forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx; ALAC
Asunto: [alac] Statement on proposed settlement from ICANN ALAC

The ICANN At Large Advisory Committee at a meeting this morning adopted this
statement about the proposed ICANN / Verisign settlement.

John Levine, ALAC member and document scribe

Concerns on the proposed ICANN / Verisign settlement from the At-Large
Advisory Committee
1 December 2005

1. We believe that it would be more appropriate to separate the lawsuit
settlement from the contract renegotiation. If the settlement requires
changes to the contract, ICANN and Verisign can amend the current contract
to reflect settlement terms.

2.  We are concerned about the loss of accountability and oversight both of
the community over ICANN and of ICANN over Verisign.  The external oversight
of ICANN's budget currently provided by the registrars will no longer exist.
The settlement provides no meaningful checks on Verisign's behavior, unless
they misbehave so badly that ICANN  voids their contract.  As the registrars
have pointed out, the proposed "consensus process" is new and untested.

3. We are concerned about the use and misuse of personal data.  Under the
agreement, Verisign is allowed to do whatever data mining they want of COM
zone usage and access.  For example, they could sell DNS traffic data about
pepsi.com to Coca Cola, or about greenpeace.com and other political sites to
governments whose policies they oppose. As a trustee for the Internet
community, ICANN should provide appropriate protections for the community's
data. We are also concerned that such data mining would be illegal in
countries with data privacy laws.

4.  We believe that the proposed price increases for the .COM registry are
inappropriate, since the registry is no longer required to offer any
justification for them.  We are also concerned about the tripling of ICANN's
per-domain fee.  Although the incremental cost to each individual user will
be low, the aggregate cost to users will be in the tens of millions of
dollars per year.

5. We are concerned by the lack of economic and legal analysis of the
effects of the proposed settlement. To the extent that the .COM registry is
a monopoly, it requires stricter regulation than if it is not. Analysis by a
qualified economist of the price sensitivity and substitutability of .COM
and other domains, based on the extensive historic data, should help
understand the situation. Similarly, qualified legal analysis of the
likelihood of success of ICANN's and Verisign's suits would help quantify
the legal risks and costs the settlement would avoid.  Market forces can
have an effect on .COM registry prices in two ways: (a) periodic rebids, and
(b) a substitute service. The current proposal does away with the rebidding,
and we doubt that .BIZ or .INFO or ccTLDs are a substitute for current
registrants who already have branded their .COM address.

6. The proposed settlement makes Verisign the permanent source of the
majority of ICANN's revenue.  By making itself dependent on an entity not
accountable to the public, ICANN endangers its independence and hence
endangers ICANN's public trust.

7. We share ICANN's concerns with the current budget and planning process,
which depends in large part on registrar approval and quarterly financial
contributions from numerous sources. We endorse a budget and funding
mechanism that would provide ICANN greater certainty in the budget planning
process and reduce the administrative burden on ICANN of billing and
Nevertheless, we believe very strongly that ICANN should consult with the
registrant and At Large community before it fundamentally reshapes its
funding mechanism through new contracts with the registries. Ultimately,
funds paid to ICANN from registrars or registries come from us, the At Large
community. We encourage ICANN to engage the community in a larger
conversation about how it should be funded and how its budgets should be
created and approved.

8.  We are deeply concerned by the lack of transparent process.  The current
(2001) .COM contract had a specific renewal timeline that has been ignored,
since the settlement includes a new contract that would void the current
ICANN offered no timetable or process for consideration of the proposed
settlement until forced to by the CFIT lawsuit.  The community does not know
whether it has a  month or a year to collect its input and offer its advice,
nor whether it may be possible to modify the proposed settlement or it
simply has to be accepted or rejected.

9.  With these considerations in mind, the ALAC advises the board to reject
the proposed settlement, to seek qualified advice on the econmic and legal
aspects of any proposed settlement, and to seek a settlement that addresses
our concerns.

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