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Transparency and Accountability

  • To: psc@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Transparency and Accountability
  • From: "Edward Hasbrouck" <edward@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 20:52:10 -0700

Following are my responses to specific questions asked by the ICANN 
"President's Strategy Committee" in its request for comments at:

http://www.icann.org/announcements/psc-consultation.htm

I also have attached, incorporate by reference in this submission to the 
President's Strategy Committee, and ask that the Committee consider, my 
comments on the related questions asked by the National Telecommunications 
and Information Administration of the USA Department of Commerce in its 
current inquiry, which are also available in HTML and PDF formats at:

http://hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001078.html

http://hasbrouck.org/articles/Hasbrouck_NTIA_comments-7JUL2006.pdf

> What are some of the main challenges to ensuring continued stable and
> secure operations of the Internet's domain name and IP addressing system,
> and are there steps that could be taken to improve this?

The main challenges to ensuring continued stable and secure operations of 
the Internet's domain name and IP addressing system are (A) ICANN's lack 
of credibility or perceived legitimacy, (B) ICANN's failure to comply with 
the requirements of its Bylaws and the MOU with NTIA for transparency and 
accountability, and (C) NTIA's failure to enforce these contractual terms 
or exercise meaningful oversight over ICANN, and (D) the failure of the 
Secretary of State of California to exercise oversight over ICANN's 
failure to act in accordance with its bylaws, as required by ICANN's 
corporate charter from the State of California.

> Is the organization's ability to scale internationally affected by its
> legal personality being based in a specific jurisdiction? 

Yes, of course.  The failures of government oversight over ICANN I have 
just listed are specific failures of government entities in the USA.  
Other governments have no comparable jurisdiction over ICANN.

> Given ICANN's narrow technical coordination mission and
> responsibilities, how should ICANN respond to relevant issues or
> challenges deriving from the WSIS decisions, including those related
> to Internet governance? 

ICANN should bring its actions into compliance with the commitments to 
transparency, accountability, and oversight in ICANN's bylaws and the MOU.

> Specifically, how should ICANN further enhance cooperation of all ICANN
> stakeholders on those Internet governance issues that fall into ICANN's
> scope of activities?

Transparency, accountability, and oversight.  To begin with, ICANN should 
(A) designate a point of contact and put in place procedures for timely 
and complete responses to requests for documents and records of ICANN and 
its subsidiary bodies, (B) open its meetings and those of all of its 
subsidiary bodies, including third parties (such as sTLD sponsors) acting 
as decision-making agents, for ICANN as principal, under delegations of 
authority from ICANN, (C) begin a public policy-development process to 
designate an independent review provider and develop procedures for 
independent review, as required by ICANN's bylaws, and (D) put those 
policies and procedures into effect and clear the backlog of outstanding 
requests for documents and records and requests for independent review.

> What can ICANN do to further improve the value that the GAC and its
> individual members offer to the multi stakeholder framework and
> addressing public policy concerns?

Require the GAC, as a "subsidiary body" of ICANN, to "operate to the 
maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner", as required by 
ICANN's bylaws, instead of conducting most of its business in secret.

> What can be done to assist in the evolution of a more widely informed
> participation from all regions from all interested stakeholders,
> including governmental representatives? 

Transparency, accountability, and oversight, as discussed above.

> Are there activities or steps that would build on existing processes to
> continue to enhance global accessibility to the transparency of ICANN's
> processes and input into the decision-making processes? 

No.  ICANN's existing processes are a continuation of a long pattern of 
wilful and near-complete disregard for the plain language of ICANN's 
bylaws on openness, transparency, accountability, and oversight.  ICANN 
needs a fundamental change of direction in how it operates, from lip 
service toward actual implementation of transparency and accountability.

Sincerely,

Edward Hasbrouck


----------------
Edward Hasbrouck
<edward@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
<http://hasbrouck.org>
+1-415-824-0214


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