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Comments on the role of individual users in ICANN and in the GNSO

  • To: gnso-users@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Comments on the role of individual users in ICANN and in the GNSO
  • From: Vittorio Bertola <vb@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 11:06:13 +0100


The structure of ICANN designed in 2002 has a clear, neat distinction of
features and roles.

The Supporting Organizations discuss policies on a specific subset of
ICANN's range of competence, gathering the parties that are directly and
primarily affected by them.

The Advisory Committees provide the views either of experts with
specific skills (SSAC, RSSAC) or of broader sets of stakeholders that
have a general interest in the future of the Internet which goes across
the range of activity of all SOs (GAC, ALAC).

The Board collects the policy proposals from the SOs, amends them
according to the broader viewpoints of the ACs and to its own role of
watchdog, strategic direction and public interest guarantee, and
approves them.

Under this scheme, it would make no sense to have, say, a "Registrar
Advisory Committee" or a "CCTLD Operator Advisory Committee", but it
also makes no sense to have an "At Large Supporting Organization" or to
have the broader sets of stakeholders represented inside SOs (if they
were, they would have to be present inside each and every of them,
duplicating efforts).

By keeping to this scheme, the solution is clear:
- gTLD registrants should be represented in the GNSO;
- ccTLD registrants should be represented in the ccNSO (though one could
argue that, in the ccTLD field, consumer policies are discussed at the
national level, and ICANN only deals with global coordination issues
that do not really involve the final users, so there is no actual need
for this representation);
- IP address registrants should be represented in the ASO (though they
should in fact not, for the same considerations as above, and they
should participate in RIRs);
- non-registrants and the general public should be represented by an AC
(the ALAC).

In particular, it is extremely inappropriate for an AC to be represented
inside a SO. If it so wishes, then it should renounce to its AC status
and change into a SO constituency, but that would only be appropriate if
its interests were only related to the subset of policies dealt by that
specific SO.

Personally, I see no issue if the policy-shaping processes of SOs
involve the ACs directly, or if ACs send liaisons to SO councils; it
helps ensure that the policy proposals received by the Board are already
coherent with the views of the ACs as well. I also see no issue if some
participants in the At Large are also gTLD registrants and want to
contribute to the establishment of an individual gTLD registrant
constituency. Actually, both of these would be very positive developments.

However, it would be extremely wrong to have an AC represented with
voting power in a SO council, as if it were a SO constituency or a part
of it.

So the only correct option for the Board among those presented for
comment is #2, publicly encouraging the formation of an individual gTLD
registrants constituency in the GNSO.

Finally, please let me say that of course there are people with private
interests who would prefer that the entity representing the general
public changes from being a general, high-level AC role with Board
representation to being a small, low-level piece of one fourth of the
GNSO. How that would serve the public interest or the AC itself,
however, is really hard to see. Removing the instrument for direct
accountability of the Board to advocates of the general public would
deeply harm ICANN's credibility and legitimacy.

vb.                   Vittorio Bertola - vb [a] bertola.eu   <--------
-------->  finally with a new website at http://bertola.eu/  <--------

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