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Public Knowledge Comments on Proposed Stakeholder Group Charters

  • To: gnso-stakeholder-charters@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Public Knowledge Comments on Proposed Stakeholder Group Charters
  • From: Sherwin Siy <ssiy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:20:20 -0400

Public Knowledge submits these brief comments to express concern about ICANN
staff’s proposed charter for the Non-commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). In
April of this year, Public Knowledge joined over fifty different
non-commercial civil society organizations and dozens of individuals in
supporting a sensible, workable charter for the NCSG.

Of the two competing proposals, the one submitted by Robin Gross for the
Non-commercial Users Constituency held the most promise for an effective and
active NCUC that would fairly represent the interests of the vast numbers of
non-commercial uses of the domain name system. Public comments submitted to
ICANN suggest that this is not a minority view.

It is therefore troubling that the more widely-supported proposal is
apparently not being considered for adoption as the NCSG charter. In its
place, ICANN staff has evidently put forward an altered charter bearing a
strong resemblance to the one put forward by Cheryl Preston of the Proposed
CyberSafety Constituency. This proposal grants the ICANN Board a massive
amount of influence in the structure and membership of the Stakeholder
Group, and creates a system likely to result in NCSG stasis and deadlock.

Apart from the substantive merits of one structure over another, the way in
which this change has occurred raises a number of questions about the
transparency and legitimacy of the GNSO Improvements process. These
questions are particularly worrisome given the pending renewal of ICANN’s
Memorandum of Understanding with the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration, which hinges not only upon ICANN’s transparency
and accountability, but also the public perception that ICANN does in fact
demonstrate these values.

Public Knowledge urges ICANN to proceed with the charter proposed by NCUC
and supported by the majority of comments in that proceeding, providing
adequate time for public comment on the restored proposal.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherwin Siy
Deputy Legal Director
Public Knowledge

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