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Reiteration of comments made during the Improving Institutional Confidence Consultation

  • To: stratplan-2010@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Reiteration of comments made during the Improving Institutional Confidence Consultation
  • From: Eric Brunner-Williams <ebw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 05 Jan 2010 09:56:49 -0500

I would like to make the same point I made during the Improving Institutional Confidence Consultation session on September 15th, 2008, to President's Strategy Committee members Marilyn Cade and Yrjö Länsipuro, as well as staff members Theresa Swinehart, Massimiliano Minisci and Kieren McCarthy.

The original three legged stool, names, addresses, and protocols, has failed. While we still have liaisons from the IETF and the W3C, who have been effective on the Board, they do not vote, and therefore do not count in the political calculus of issue advocacy. Further, the ASO, while not formally abandoned as the PSO was, is reactive and does not bring issues to the seat of the stool, where the legs nominally still join.

We are left with a name supporting organization as the sole supporting organization contributing generally to affirmative policy development, and the fiction that the ccNSO and the GAC make up the re-formed three legged stool.

Additionally, we are left with the NOMCOM being the sole means by which technical informed and highly committed persons may become members of the Board, and while that is working, the commitment to a technically competent (not merely technically informed) Board is not institutional, as it was when the PSO held seats on the Board.

This presents two problems.

The first is that the Board and the GNSO Council are redundant, as sources of policy, reform nuance, aka "working groups", intentionally ignored. ICANN could shed ten to twenty persons from its per-meeting cost by consolidating the replicated function. I don't recommend this, but I can see any management consultant without a lick of clue, which is the kind of consultancy services ICANN seems condemned to buy, recommending liquidating one or the other of the Board, down to the minimum required under California law for 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations, or the GNSO Council, given the "reform" removal of policy from the GNSO C to work groups.

The second is that we can't see the name, address, protocol interdependency, and therefore we can't make sensible policy.

For instance, we have, on the G side, a lot of heat energy about domain name speculation, and we have, on the A side, a lot of heat energy about address exhaustion. The AGP exploit, allowed for a staggering long time by the GNSO/BoD, injected some 35 million domains into the C/N/O namespaces, consuming at least one, if not two /8 address block equivalents. Viewing domain name speculation merely through the lens of trademark policy is insufficient, and the same is true for viewing address depletion merely through the lens of address managment.

Both ignore the reality that quarterly internet ad revenues have increased linearly (slope == 1), from $7,267 (million) in 2004 to 21,206 (million) in 2007 (source: Interactive Advertising Bureau).

Both ignore the reality that in 2004 thousands of ASNs contributed 50% of all internet, and in 2009 only 150 ASNs contribute 50% of all internet traffic.

The economic transformations of the internet are on a very large scale and are invisible to ICANN as a policy making body.

We, as a body, are not merely not going to make sensible policy on complex, interdependent name, address and protocol issues, through the elimination of a PSO, and the hibernation of the ASO, but we as a body are also going to prevent any other body from attempting to make sensible policy on complex, interdependent name, address and protocol issues until the expectation of ICANN as being a useful construct generally fails. Neither of these are desirable outcomes.

There are more examples than just how the AGP exploit transfered money from advertisers to domainers through some, not all, of the registrars and registries, and increased costs to some, not all trademark holders, while forcing increased consumption of a very scarce resource, mostly where that resource is relatively over-abundant.

I recommend that the Strategic Plan address the failure of the three legged stool, composed of name, address and protocol organizations, and propose a remedy, and the remedy address the specific competency areas, for which the substitution of the ccNSO and the GAC are inadequate, though of merit in their own right.

My comment is made in a personal capacity, as someone employed in DNS policy and technology related activities since 1986, and I am currently employed by CORE as its CTO.

Eric Brunner-Williams
Ithaca New York and Geneva Switzerland

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