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Summary and analysis of public comment during Paris meeting

  • To: "iic-consultation@xxxxxxxxx" <iic-consultation@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Summary and analysis of public comment during Paris meeting
  • From: Kieren McCarthy <kieren.mccarthy@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 17:01:27 -0700


Summary and analysis of public input to the Improving Institutional Confidence 
(IIC) consultation and documents in Paris, 22-26 June 2008.

This is a summary and analysis of comments made during two sessions at ICANN's 
Paris meeting in June 2008. The first session was held on Monday 23 June, and 
was a dedicated two-hour discussion forum. The second session comprised a 
half-hour during the main public forum on Wednesday 25 June.

The full transcripts of both those sessions, as well as the full slide 
presentations, are available for review online at http://par.icann.org (links 
given below).

This document is an attempt to provide an objective summary of the comments  
made during those sessions. It will be made publicly available and posted to 
the first public comment forum specifically set up for the consultation.

If an individual or organization feels the summary does not accurately 
represent discussions, they are encouraged to make their views known on the 
public comment forum in response to this summary (email: 
iic-consulation@xxxxxxxxx). All comments made to the public comment period 
until 31 July will be carefully reviewed in preparing a separate summary and 
analysis and in the production of revised documents.


Participants in Paris were encouraged to provide their input on five main areas 
of discussion that were outlined in a set of three documents provided by the 
President's Strategy Committee (PSC), which in turn had been derived from 
feedback provided during the Midterm Review of the Joint Project Agreement in 
February 2008.

Part of that input was whether the areas of discussion themselves were 
sufficient to achieve the consultation's aims. As ICANN Chairman and PSC 
co-chair, Peter Dengate Thrush, surmised: "We have three fundamental questions 
that we ask all the time in relation to this: Have we asked the right 
questions? Have we got the right answers? And how do we consult about 

The general sense was that the five areas recognized by the PSC were the 
correct ones on which to focus and direct the IIC consultation.

Those five areas are:

·       Safeguard ICANN against capture.

·       Be accountable to the multi-stakeholder community and preserve 
bottom-up development of policies.

·       Meet the needs of the global Internet community of the future.

·       Be financially and operationally secure.

·       Focus on organizational and operational excellence.

A number of specific measures for each area were outlined, and particular 
proposals for discussion in each case were put forward in order to start the 

This summary and analysis will take those discussion proposals as its 
start-point and then divide up overall comments into the five areas outlined by 
the PSC in order to aid efficient and effective understanding of the issues and 

A full transcript of the session  has been posted separately to the public 
comment period, as well as the full slides used during the presentation. Direct 
URLs are also provided below.

Transcript of PSC session: 

Transcript of Public Forum:

Slides: https://par.icann.org/files/paris/JPA_Paris_23June08.pdf



There were two proposals for discussion:

1.     ICANN could make bylaws amendments requiring a specific prohibition 
against voting by the same individual or organizations in more than one of the 
related Advisory or Supporting Organizations. Should it do so?

2.     Participants in councils and constituencies should provide statements of 
interest to protect against conflict and make them transparent


People and organizations should be able to participate in multiple parts of the 
ICANN structure, all commenters felt [MC, JN, RH, MM, VB]. It would be wrong to 
restrict participation. Additionally, participation across groups may be a good 
thing as it encourages people to see things beyond their own narrow interests 

Participation levels, both in terms of numbers of people and their active 
involvement in discussions, need to increase within constituencies however [AP, 
RH, VB, WS, MC]. Business needed to be involved more [DA, SM, AD, MC]. More 
participants would reduce the risk of capture.


While participation should be allowed in all parts of ICANN, the issue of 
whether they should be granted or denied a vote in each was less conclusive. 
The PSC was urged to look at the reality of the situation on the ground before 
it made a decision [JN].  Others argued that ICANN needed to look forward to 
the future and possible risks of capture and that restricted voting in that 
case may make sense [MC, PT].


There was wide support for public disclosures of participants' statements of 
interest as a way of avoiding capture and providing transparency in policy 
processes [MC, JN, RH, PDT, APi]. However such statements would not provide a 
complete answer and should be just one method for achieving transparency and 
avoidance of capture [RH, APi].


·       The issue of capture at the constituency level is less important than 
looking at how decisions are made at the Council level [MM].

·       Lessening the status of non-contract parties within ICANN (re: GNSO 
review) may remove the useful protection role they play against capture [SM].

·       The risk of capture is not only from within ICANN. The organization 
needs to strike a careful balance with governments so that they participate and 
assist but do not dominate [SD].

·       Improving communications and promoting open and free discussion will 
improve transparency and reduce risk of capture [WS, APi]. This is particularly 
important for non-English speakers [WS]. Smaller groups will mean freer 
discussion [APi].

·       More independent Board members with longer tenures may help deal with 
capture [APi].


Rather than try to find mechanisms to pre-emptively tackle future efforts at 
capture, ICANN should look at mechanisms that would highlight any attempt at 
capture and provide the community with a fast and easy mechanism for undoing it 
[RH, APi].

Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees should publish their rules for 
membership and their members [RH, APi]; the Board may occasionally monitor the 
bylaws and practices of ICANN's constituent parts; the entire community should 
be able to see the makeup of a constituency [RH, PDT].


Proposal for discussion:

·       Establish additional accountability mechanisms that allow the community 
to request reconsideration of a decision from the Board, and, as an ultimate 
sanction, to remove the Board collectively and reconstitute it.


There was agreement that a high threshold would be needed to force the Board to 
reconsider a decision [MC, PDT, RH].

However because of the widely different views and interests of Supporting 
Organizations and Advisory Committees, the suggested system of having a 
percentage of all SOs and ACs vote for a reconsideration may not be possible in 
reality and so may be setting the bar too high [MM].

More focus should be placed on improving accountability at each step in a 
process, rather than after a decision has been made [BDC].


Possible removal ("spilling") of the entire Board found some support, but a 
number of commenters provided alternatives.

It was suggested that allowing Internet end users to choose Board members 
(rather than the Nominating Committee) would be a more effective accountability 
mechanism [MM]. The inclusion of more business-focussed individuals on the 
Board may also aid wider accountability [RA].

A further solution may be if the Board delegated decisions to individual 
Councils, forcing them to have to reach consensus [WK].

The issue of whether the whole Board or just individual members could be 
removed was debated. Some suggested that Supporting Organizations should be 
able to remove their particular Board members and so avoid the disruption of 
losing the whole Board [MM], however the wider sense appeared to be that only 
allowing for the whole Board to be replaced would remove the risk of damaging 
political battles and targeting of individuals [PT, PDT, RH, RP].

The suggestion that the community be able to remove the CEO [MP] did not find 
support as it was seen as the Board's duty to hold the CEO accountable and not 
the community's [PDT, RP].

It was suggested that ICANN may have sufficient measures already in place and 
that only a fine-tuning of the existing systems may be necessary [JJS].


Proposal for discussion:

·       ICANN should have global legal presences in addition to its 
headquarters established in the United States.

There was universal support for internationalizing/globalizing ICANN's 
operations [JJS, YL, RB, PDT, PT, BDC], however, there were some concerns about 
the legal conflicts that might cause [BG].

A clear distinction was made between meeting the global community's needs by 
having subsidiaries in countries around the world, and the legal nature of 
ICANN, which would remain a not-for-profit corporation based in the United 
States [PT]. A change in the bylaws to state that ICANN would remain 
headquartered in the United States was described as "inappropriate" however 

Globalizing ICANN will mean particular emphasis has to be given to
language - especially to issues surrounding Internationalized Domain Names 
(IDNs) - and to ensuring that regional identities are recognised and fostered 

ICANN needs to pay more attention to Latin American, Asia and Africa [YJP].


There were two proposals for discussion:

·       ICANN should adopt alternative sources of funding to lessen dependence 
on current registry and registrar funding.

·       ICANN should maintain and enhance existing operational planning and 
budgeting mechanisms.

There was no discussion of these two proposals. Instead, a wider perspective of 
ICANN's role and approach was provided by a number of respondents.

·       ICANN needs to ensure it remains stable in the face of increasing work 
demands and changes in the wider Internet [MC].

·       ICANN's mission is currently too narrow and technical, and is rooted in 
the past. It should consider its role as making the Internet a safe place for 
all users to communicate and conduct business, and as a "guardian of public 
trust" [PS]. [2]

·       ICANN may need to look at a change in its architecture [BDC]. One 
suggestion was the creation of a Business Advisory Group [AD]. However, it was 
suggested that a focus on increasing participation and interaction might be 
better than creating a new advisory group [MC].

·       The stability and security of ICANN is closely linked to the Capture 
issue [APi].

·       ICANN's great strength is in multistakeholder representation. More 
efforts should be made to ensure parity between stakeholders [AD, VB].


·       What actual impact does ending the JPA / transitioning to the private 
sector have on ICANN's relationship with the United States government? [EN, MS].

·       The discussions and consultation process should extend beyond December 
(when the PSC will deliver its report to the Board) [BDC].

·        Providing greater transparency surrounding discussion in the 
Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), particularly on public policy issues, 
would help increase confidence in ICANN as an institution [RG].


AD          Avri Doria, Luleå University of Technology, GNSO Chair
AP          Adam Peake, Glocom
APi         Alejandro Pisanty, University of Mexico
BDC       Bertrand de la Chapelle, Special Representative to the French 
BG          Bill Graham, ISOC
DA          David Appasamy, Sify
DJ           Dennis Jennings, ICANN Board
EN          Elliot Noss, Tucows
KF           Khaled Fattal, MINC
JJS          Jean-Jaques Subrenat, Member of President's Strategy Committee, 
JN           Jeff Neuman, NeuStar
MC         Marilyn Cade, Member of President's Strategy Committee
MM        Milton Mueller, Syracuse University
MP         Michael Palage, [IP attorney]
MS         Mike Sachs, [software developer]
PDT        Peter Dengate Thrush, co-chair of President's Strategy Committee, 
ICANN Chairman
PS           Phillip Sheppard, GNSO Council member (business constituency)
PT           Paul Twomey, co-chair of President's Strategy Committee, ICANN 
President and CEO
RA          Ron Andruff, RNA Partners
RB          Raimundo Beca, Member of President's Strategy Committee, ICANN Board
RG          Robin Gross, GNSO Council member (non-commercial users constituency)
RH          Rob Hall, Momentous
RP          Ray Plzak, ARIN
SD          Steve Delbianco, Net Choice Coalition
SM         Steve Metalitz, President, GNSO Intellectual Property Constituency
VB          Vittorio Bertola, ISOC Italy
WK         Wolfgang Kleinwachter, University of Aarhus
WS         Werner Staub, CORE
YJP         Y.J. Park, NIDA
YL           Yrjö Länsipuro, Member of President's Strategy Committee, GAC 
representative for Finland


[1] The full questions, as listed in the Transition Action Plan are as follows: 
"A. Have the key elements required for an un-capturable, accountable, 
internationalized, stable and secure ICANN post-JPA been accurately and 
sufficiently identified?

B. Are the initiatives described sufficient to meet the objectives?

C. Is the timeline set out sufficient to allow sufficient community 
consultation, and bylaw changes and other implementation steps to occur?"

[2] Commenter would like to add that the suggested public trust role should 
only occur within the competence of ICANN's bi-lateral contracts.

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