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Comments on proposal

  • To: comments-ccwg-accountability-03aug15@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on proposal
  • From: Nell Minow <nminow@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2015 18:49:36 -0400

I first want to endorse the comments from Jan Aart Scholte, which are 
thoughtful and detailed.  My own comments are more general and concern our 
process as well as the proposed structure.

My primary overall concern is that for an enterprise at the heart of the 
internet, it is disappointing that our process operates almost without any 
regard for the opportunities created by the world wide web and social media.  
The small number of comments is evident that our proposals have not been seen, 
much less reviewed by many people who are among those best situated to 
participate. It is simply not enough to make these proposals available on our 
own website.  The CCWG, ICANN itself, and all of the other constituency and 
stakeholder groups must make a concerted effort with a specific goal of page 
views and comments, making use of whatever viral systems are available to make 
sure that the vitally important issues raised by these proposals are thoroughly 
reviewed and extensively commented on.  The very system in question here is 
ideally set up for allowing constituency and stakeholder groups to comment on 
their own behalf and we should take advantage of and encourage it.

In a related point, it is the nature of governance structures that they become 
entrenched, compromised, and insulated, even with a constituency-based 
collection of advisory groups.  The groups themselves will inevitably be 
hidebound by bureaucracy and structure over substance without a robust system 
for renewal.  This is even more important given the pace of technological 
change.  The system has to provide for a regular (perhaps every five years) 
zero-based, independent outside analysis of the effectiveness of the ICANN and 
advisory group system, again with a massive social media outreach to ensure 
that as many users as possible, not just corporate or government but 
individuals can participate. 

I concur with the comments made by Google, which would refine the proposal’s 
checks and balances to make them more effective and equitable, and ALAC’s 
comments on the sole member model, which is an example of my more pervasive 
concern that in many places the current proposal is explicit where it should be 
flexible and vague where it should be specific.

I am also concerned that we are expecting too much from volunteers.  If we 
expect to get the most qualified representatives of stakeholders involved, we 
have to be willing to pay the participants.  It does not have to be a lot, but 
it does have to be enough to attract busy people who have many other 
opportunities and to let them know that we expect a significant commitment of 

We have extensive and details goals, principles, and deadlines but we do not 
have clear consequences for failure to meet them. There is a labyrinthine and 
cumbersome process for removing or replacing members of the board, but since 
the review board members are approved by the board itself, that compromises the 
independence and effectiveness of the IR.  If deadlines are not met, an 
automatic review should be triggered.  If it is more than a year late, the 
tenure of board members should be automatically put to an IR vote.  And if the 
IR does not agree with the response of the ICANN board to the nominees it 
provides, it should be able to overrule a decision not to place a proposed 
nominee on the IR by a vote of 2/3.  

The proposals as currently constituted are complicated and arcane, as is to be 
expected from so many committees and constituencies, coming from so many 
countries and cultures.  This underscores the importance of far wider 
participation and regularly scheduled reviews to make sure that ICANN keeps up 
with changing needs and technologies.

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