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Re: [governance] Is ICANN Accountable to the Global Public Interest? -ICANN Ignores Noncommercial Users in Internet Policy Development Process

  • To: governance@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Robin Gross <robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, DOC/NTIA ICANN Rep <aheineman@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, gnso-stakeholder-charters@xxxxxxxxx, Eric Dierker <cogitoergosum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [governance] Is ICANN Accountable to the Global Public Interest? -ICANN Ignores Noncommercial Users in Internet Policy Development Process
  • From: "Jeffrey A. Williams" <jwkckid1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 00:55:01 -0700

Robin and all,

  ICANN's Bod and executive staff knows whom they are suppose
to be working for and have known sense 1998 yet they have decidedly
to only give lip service to the vast number of stockholders in favor of
registries, registrars, the IPC, and other IP favored constituencies.
They continue to do so and as a result the vast majority stakeholders
either not represented at all within the GNSO or are grossly
underrepresented. This is of course not by accident, but by contrived 
design as repeated ICANN reform forums and the GA forum had pointed 
out time and time again as well the tenor of the decisions the ICANN 
board has very poorly made and have been repeatedly sense 2003 contested 
or otherwise objected to.

  This said yet again, I and our INEGroup members whom are all
registrants as well as users/stakeholders are demanding that open
our voices and votes be recognized and accounted and that we
have the rightful consideration on an equal basis to directly elect
our own Bod members to ICANN.  But I and our members are
not hopeful that ICANN's executive staff and/or Board will heed
our concern.

Robin Gross wrote:

> Article with hyperlinks for further background at:
>      http://ipjustice.org/ICANN/NCSG/NCUC-ICANN-Injustices.html
> Is ICANN Accountable to the Global Public Interest?
> ICANN Ignores Non-Commercial Users in Internet Policy Development
> Process
>      By Robin D. Gross, IP Justice - 13 July 2009
> Everyone is a Noncommercial User of the Internet
> NCUC logoThe Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is the home to
> noncommercial users in ICANN's GNSO policy development process.  NCUC
> represents 109 members from more than 40 countries, and includes large
> organizations, small nonprofits and individuals committed to
> developing Internet policy that protects the rights of noncommercial
> users.  NCUC is concerned with a broad range of issues including human
> rights such as freedom of expression and privacy protections,
> educational needs such as those of libraries or academic institutions,
> and concerns from community and religious organizations, consumer
> rights groups, and other noncommercial interests related to Internet
> governance.  (All noncommercial organizations and individuals are
> invited to join NCUC).
> In today's world, everyone is a noncommercial user of the Internet at
> one point or another of our day.  This noncommercial interest, is an
> important interest which we all share, regardless of what we do for a
> living or the fact that we also use the Internet for commercial
> purposes.  We are also noncommercial users and want our ability and
> right to use the Internet for noncommercial purposes to be protected
> in ICANN policy negotiations.  This objective is in everyone's
> interest, so it should be respected throughout ICANN's policy
> development process and governance structures.
> Restructuring ICANN's GNSO Policy Development Framework
> ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organizations (GNSO) is the
> supposedly "bottom-up" process that allegedly provides ICANN with
> legitimacy to make and enforce Internet policy decisions.  ICANN's
> GNSO is responsible for making policy recommendations to ICANN's Board
> of Directors regarding policies covering all generic top-level domains
> (such as .com, .edu, .org, .net).
> Presently GNSO policy recommendations are negotiated among competing
> interests or 6 distinct "constituencies".  However, the GNSO is the
> process of restructuring and reforming its membership away from 6
> arbitrary and out-dated "constituencies" and into 4 distinct
> "stakeholder groups": i) noncommercial users; ii) commercial users;
> iii) registrar companies; and iv) registry companies.
> Board Appointed (top-down) vs. Elected (bottom-up) Represent ion on
> GNSO Council
> Noncommercial users have been fighting for years to obtain parity with
> commercial users in the GNSO policy development process at ICANN.  A
> 2006 report by the London School of Economics found ICANN undervalues
> noncommercial interests in the policy development process (5
> specialized commercial constituencies vs. 1 noncommercial constituency
> to represent all noncommercial interests).  In February 2008 the Board
> Governance Committee Report also recognized this imbalance and the
> need to address it in order to protect noncommercial interests in
> ICANN policy development.  As a result, the ICANN Board approved a
> major shift for ICANN's GNSO by deciding noncommercial users should
> finally be given parity with commercial users in the GNSO policy
> development process.
> Specifically, beginning with the Seoul ICANN Meeting in October 2009,
> noncommercial users and commercial users are each supposed to have
> elected 6 representatives to the GNSO Council.  However, as a result
> of back channel lobbying by the commercial constituencies who lost the
> advantage in numbers of councilors, the 3 new GNSO Council seats that
> should have gone up for election to noncommercial users, will instead
> become board appointments.
> Despite the lack of any support from ICANN, NCUC's membership has
> grown by more than 125% since 2008 when parity between commercial and
> noncommercial interests was established by the Board Governance
> Committee.  Yet despite the significant increase in participation from
> noncommercial users, the "parity principle" has lost support from the
> board, who now may deny the new noncommercial membership elected
> representation on the GNSO Council.
> Development of Consensus for Charter for Noncommercial Stakeholder
> Group (NCSG)
> In April 2009 noncommercial users responded to ICANN's call for public
> comment on how to design a stakeholder group charter to maximize the
> effectiveness of noncommercial users in policy development and
> encourage the broadest range of participation from the most diverse
> viewpoints.  The answer was clear: noncommercial users overwhelmingly
> supported a stakeholder group charter that encourages cooperation
> between constituencies, the charter proposed by the NCUC.
> NCUC's charter was developed by a multi-stakeholder process that
> involved months of open consultations, dozens of participants,
> numerous discussions with ICANN board and staff, At-Large members,
> existing noncommercial participants at ICANN and prospective
> noncommercial participants.   NCUC's charter went through significant
> modifications in response to public feedback, including more than half
> a dozen distinct public drafts, before reaching a consensus on the
> final charter submitted for a Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG).
> In addition to NCUC's membership, ICANN's public comment period on the
> stakeholder group charters brought additional support to the NCUC
> charter, including support from over 63 organizations and dozens of
> individuals from all corners of the globe.
> Public Comment Against a Charter that Would Stranglehold Noncommercial
> Users
> Two competing proposals, vastly different in their substance and
> effect, were submitted to ICANN to charter the new Noncommercial
> Stakeholder Group (NCSG).  In addition to the charter supported by
> civil society from NCUC, another proposal was submitted from CP80, an
> Internet pro-censorship group led by Cheryl Preston, Ralph Yarro III
> (SCO Chairman), and Debra Peck out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
> Outside from the drafters of the CP80 petition, not a single public
> comment argued in support of the CP80 proposal or its governance model
> during ICANN's Public Comment Period.  The lack of public support for
> the CP80 "constituency-based" voting model is not surprising since its
> provisions would stranglehold noncommercial users in endless
> competition among factionalized constituencies, constantly fighting
> over scarce resources and representation on ICANN's GNSO Council.
> NCUC's charter encourages noncommercial users to work together toward
> shared goals, while the CP80 model keeps noncommercial users
> constantly fighting over their differences, and ultimately ineffective
> at influencing policy decisions at ICANN.
> Noncommercial Organizations Unanimous in Favor of Joint Civil Society
> Proposal
> During ICANN's April 2009 Public Comment period, a total of 23
> distinct comments from organizations and individuals were submitted on
> the topic of stakeholder group charters.  Several of these comments
> were signed by dozens of noncommercial organizations and individuals,
> increasing public participation by much more than 23 comments would
> initially imply.  However of these 23 comments, the only 2 to argue in
> favor of the CP80 proposal to hard-wire GNSO Council Seats to
> constituencies were the drafters of the proposal themselves.  No one
> else.
> As many commentators noted, CP80's proposed "constituency-based"
> structure would stranglehold noncommercial users and discourage
> consensus building and cooperation among competing constituencies.
> The "constituency-based" voting it proposes creates a constant
> zero-sum struggle between noncommercial constituencies, rendering the
> entire Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group ineffective in ICANN policy
> development.
> In stark contrast to the lack of any support for the CP80 model, more
> than 63 organizations and 55 individuals submitted comments in favor
> of the joint civil society charter that provides for a democratic vote
> of all its membership to elect representatives to serve on the GNSO
> Council.   Every single noncommercial organization who submitted a
> public comment on the topic argued against the stranglehold charter
> model proposed by CP80 and in favor of the cooperation charter
> submitted by noncommercial users and created through a consensus
> process.
> ICANN Defies Public Comment and Imposes Stranglehold Charter Model
> What did ICANN do in response to the public comment it received and
> the global consensus against the stranglehold charter model proposed
> by CP80?  ICANN adopted the stranglehold charter model for
> noncommercial users, defying the unanimous public support expressed
> for the charter drafted by noncommercial users that was created
> through a consensus process.
> Welcome to "bottom-up" policy making at ICANN: where participants are
> invited to build a "consensus" among a broad range of interests, only
> to have that consensus discarded by ICANN as a result of relentless
> insider back-channel lobbying from special interests.
> Apparently we noncommercial users wasted our time building consensus
> among global civil society and participating in a public discussion
> forum, when we should have been lobbying ICANN board members and ICANN
> executive staffers -- since that seems to be the only channel of
> public input ICANN feels accountable to.
> Obviously, noncommercial users will never be able to effectively
> participate in a policy development forum that is predicated on and
> dominated by insider lobbying from entrenched commercial interests.
> ICANN's Board of Directors has a responsibility to the global public
> interest to ensure noncommercial interests can play a meaningful role
> in ICANN policy development despite its lack of economic backing.
> Unfortunately protection for noncommercial interests is systematically
> being squeezed-out of ICANN's policy development process by commercial
> interests.
> ICANN's Sneaky Move to Keep Plans Hidden
> On 23 June 2009, when ICANN finally released its proposed charter to
> noncommercial users, in addition to the charter being an entirely
> different structure than the one created by the consensus process,
> ICANN's charter also omitted to include the most important section 5
> which deals with management of the NCSG and in particular,
> representation on the GNSO Policy Council.
> Only after explicitly requesting to see the omitted section, was NCUC
> provided section 5 from ICANN with the understanding that it is
> staff's proposal for governing the NCSG.  One will not find ICANN's
> proposed section 5 in its NCSG charter published on the ICANN website,
> but it can read be read here -- and it must be read together with the
> ICANN-drafted NCSG charter for it be clear what sneakiness is at play.
> Exactly the stranglehold governance structure that noncommercial users
> uniformly rejected in April, ICANN intends to march ahead with at full
> steam and impose on noncommercial users.  But not transparently and
> not in a manner that conveys its clear intentions to the public so
> those affected may provide feedback.
> When asked at the 23 June 2009 ICANN meeting why didn't staff listen
> to non-commercial users in the public comment period about how they
> want to elect their GNSO Council Representatives, ICANN spokesman Ken
> Bour frankly said that ICANN staff adopted the constituency-based
> charter "because it is what staff wanted all along".
> Tell ICANN to Listen to Noncommercial Users and Protect the Public
> Interest
> The message is clear.  ICANN has forgotten who it works for - us -
> Internet users - including noncommercial users.  Now is the time to
> remind ICANN that it must be accountable to the global public interest
> or it has no business in Internet governance.
> Tell ICANN to listen to noncommercial users and not to impose the
> stranglehold charter on noncommercial users against our will.  Send an
> email to gnso-stakeholder-charters@xxxxxxxxx (until 21 July 2009) and
> ask that noncommercial voices be heard in Internet policy decisions.
> Send a copy of your comment to your local Congressman or Member of
> Parliament to keep them informed about ICANN injustices to
> noncommercial users.  You can also file a complaint over ICANN
> injustices with the ombudsman, who is supposed to keep the
> organization accountable to the public.
> Thomas Jefferson noted that the exercise of political power without
> the consent of the governed is illegitimate.
> ICANN's attempt to impose a governance structure on noncommercial
> users against our will calls into question ICANN's legitimacy to
> govern; it undermines confidence in ICANN's commitment to democratic
> values; and it appears ICANN is unable to protect the broader public
> interest against commercial pressures.
> We must remind ICANN to protect the public interest and the rights of
> noncommercial users - all of us.  Send a quick email to
> gnso-stakeholder-charters@xxxxxxxxx today to remind ICANN who they
> work for.
> All noncommercial organizations and individuals are invited to join
>   http://icann-ncuc.ning.com/main/authorization/signUp
> More Background Information:
>     http://ipjustice.org/ICANN/NCSG/NCUC-ICANN-Injustices.html
>   IP JUSTICERobin Gross, Executive Director1192 Haight Street, San
> Francisco, CA  94117  USAp: +1-415-553-6261    f: +1-415-462-6451w:
> http://www.ipjustice.org     e: robin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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