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  • To: <cyber-safety-petition@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Oppose
  • From: "Patrick Chipman" <pchipman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 10:19:09 -0500

After reading through the petition for the "CyberSafety Constituency"
(CSC), I feel it is unlikely this organization would be beneficial in
supporting the GNSO mission. One problem that I feel is insurmountable
is the exclusion of commercial members from the group. While it is
likely true that non-commercial users are disproportionately targeted by
purveyors of spam and malware, it is unlikely that solutions proposed by
a purely non-commercial SG will truly address the problems of
"cybersafety" that affect all users of Internet. For example, a solution
that would work well for a group of non-commercial users may interfere
with the operations of ISPs or impede commercial traffic. Given that
such approaches would assuredly be declined by the GNSO, the utility of
the CSC is questionable at best. What is the purpose of having an
stakeholder group that cannot add to the discussion constructively and
will likely be ignored? If the CSC were willing to include commercial
members that fit the rubric of "organizations that study and advocate
for Internet users" (section 1.2), this concern would be addressed.


A further concern is raised by the removal of commercial members -
namely, that the goals of the CSC are not, in fact, what are claimed.
Given the potential conflict of interest of Ms. Preston and her direct
association with the CP80 organization and her indirect associations
with commercial and religious entities, I cannot help but be concerned
that not only would the CSC not provide "balanced and fair
representation of the significant, legitimate issues of safety and
protection of non-commercial Internet users" (section 1.4.5), but it
would also disproportionately promote the views of those organizations
with whom its members are entangled. Even discounting the conspiracy
theories promoted by some with regards to the CSC, it is clear that an
organization that seeks "cybersafety" through increased regulation while
excluding commercial interests is likely to attract a pro-censorship
constituency of individuals. This again raises the question of the
utility of the CSC. If the CSC consistently argues for increased
control, in opposition to the rest of the GNSO, what purpose does it
truly serve save to slow the decision making process?


Finally, I feel that the mission of the CSC is in direct opposition to
the nature of the Internet and inherently impossible. The Internet is a
world-spanning network of computers that interconnect by the mutual
agreement of network operators. It is impossible to not "unduly impair

lawful rights of governments and other organizations of authority to
take steps to protect their citizens and members from illegal activity
conducted on or through the Internet" (section 1.2), because it is
essentially impossible to determine what constitutes illegal activity
due to jurisdictional issues. Even within the United States, the viewing
of pornography is controlled by state and local laws, and what
constitutes indecent (and protected) versus obscene (and unprotected)
speech is an issue of case law and nebulous "community standards." It is
not unreasonable to say that what is illegal in one location could be
legal in another within a short walk. At the international level, the
issues are even more complicated. The serious technical and legal issues
surrounding the enforcement of laws on the Internet will not be solved
by the GNSO or by the proposed CSC. A centralized structure promulgating
ICANN policies will never succeed in balancing the needs and desired of
locales that are opposed to free speech with those that support it.
Furthermore, I would argue that the responsibility, as it has since the
inception of the Internet, falls upon the user to obey all applicable
laws in his or her jurisdiction. Likewise, it is the responsibility of
law enforcement organizations to establish how to conduct their
operations on the Internet given the applicable laws in their


In summary, I feel the proposed "CyberSafety Constituency" is of little
utility to the GNSO due to its likely lack of useful contributions and
the fact that its mission is contradictory to the nature of the
Internet. I hope that ICANN denies this petition, or at least requires
significant changes before approval. One suggestion I would make would
be to allow commercial organizations that advocate for "cybersafety"
(such as security research firms) be allowed membership, so as to
provide more useful proposals to the GNSO.


The views in this message are my own and do not represent, nor should
they be taken to represent, the views of Aerospace Products
International, any of its subsidiaries or its parent company, or any
members of its staff.



Patrick Chipman, M.Sc.

.NET Systems Architect

Aerospace Products International

pchipman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:pchipman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 



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