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Comments from European Commission on the ICANN Accountability Process

  • To: <comments-enhancing-accountability-06sep14@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Comments from European Commission on the ICANN Accountability Process
  • From: GACSEC <gacsec@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 17:57:17 -0700

Sent on behalf of the GAC secretariat.

Below please find comments from the European Commission.
The European Commission welcomes the opportunity to submit its comments on
Enhancing ICANN Accountability Process. At the same time, as a general
comment we would like to highlight that the European Commission in its
Communication "Internet Policy and Governance Europe's role in shaping the
future of Internet Governance" (COM/2014/072) identified accountability
mechanisms for actors in the Internet space, including organisations
responsible for key Internet tasks, as essential elements of the
multistakeholder model of Internet governance. Therefore, we consider that
genuine improvements in ICANN's accountability need to be openly discussed
in a truly-multistakeholder discussion in order to be subsequently
implemented as a matter of high priority.
Our first comment relates to the ICANN Accountability & Governance
Coordination Group.  According to our understanding, the recently modified
the ICANN Accountability & Governance Coordination Group has been modified
in such a manner that it is understood that GAC will only have one
representative. This differs from the 5 GAC members that were requested by
GAC in London.  We strongly urge ICANN to recogniser this issue as a
necessary multistakeholder debate requires a proper involvement of
Furthermore, unlike the set up for the IANA stewardship transition, where
the Coordination Group now seems to focus on precisely on the coordination,
it seems that the gravity of responsibility, decision making and right to
suggest solutions remain with the ICANN Accountability & Governance
Coordination Group in the ICANN accountability exercise and that the ICANN
Accountability & Governance Cross Community Group main purpose is merely to
"identify issues" and "provide ongoing community input".
In general, the establishment of different processes in relation to IANA
stewardship transition and ICANN's accountability creates a considerable
confusion for different stakeholders interested in Internet governance.
Therefore, as a matter of priority we urge ICANN to align both processes to
the extent possible and to provide for effective means to explain their
details to a broad Internet community. Also, it would be important that
ICANN provides explanations for the link between two groups working on
ICANN's Accountability & Governance, especially in relation to the way in
which the ideas and suggestions for solutions from the Cross Community Group
can feed further discussion in the Coordination Group.
We would like to point our certain issues which require immediate
clarifications. It is important for an Internet community to have a clear
overview of the scope of the process in order to know what issues can be
discussed. We urge ICANN to adopt a broad understanding of the
accountability and transparency issues to be discussed to allow an open
debate on the introduction of genuine improvements.
In particular, it would be crucial to conduct an open discussion on
accountability mechanisms to ensure that ICANN respects the applicable
legislation, for instance in relation to law enforcement, competition,
consumer protection and data protection. Different solutions should be
explored, including the establishment of independent and effective and
mechanisms for dispute settlement in case ICANN does not respect its
We would also point out the need to provide explanations on the role of the
advisors appointed by the "public expert group". ICANN mentions that the
"public experts group" will "remain available as a resource to review ". It
would important to have more details on such function. Additionally, ICANN
should provide explanations on safeguards to ensure the independence of
those advisors.
Other clarifications are also necessary in longer perspective. For the time
being, the Coordination Group will submit its final report to the ICANN
Board. The Internet community should be informed as soon as possible on how
ICANN intends to ensure that improvements are effectively introduced in its
functioning. At least basic information in this respect should be provided
already before the discussion in relevant groups starts.
Finally, in relation to the ATRTs, ICANN considers that the work of the
Coordination Group should not reopen recommendations adopted for
implementation by the ATRT processes but rather complement those and other
initiatives underway. However, the current process cannot be conducted in a
way to ignore a considerable work done during previous reflections on
ICANN's transparency and accountability. Therefore, the current process
should allow the assessment of the implementation of the already existing
recommendations in the ATRT process.
Policy officer ­ International

European Commission
Unit D1

BU25 4/64
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 229 52 440
maciej.tomaszewski@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:maciej.tomaszewski@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Twitter: www.twitter.com/maciejtom <http://www.twitter.com/maciejtom>

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