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[alac] [Fwd: [governance] Report ICANN Roma]

  • To: alac@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: [alac] [Fwd: [governance] Report ICANN Roma]
  • From: Vittorio Bertola <vb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 08 Mar 2004 15:09:48 +0100

FYI - this is the report that Wolfgang Kleinwaechter sent to the WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus about us and the ICANN meeting in Rome.
I have already sent some corrections.

-------- Messaggio Originale  --------
Oggetto: [governance] Report ICANN Roma
Data: Sun, 07 Mar 2004 13:44:54 +0100
Da: <wolfgang@xxxxxxxxx>
Rispondi-A: wolfgang@xxxxxxxxx
A: <governance@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear List

Here is a short report from last weeks ICANN meeting in Rome and its WSIS Round Table.

The ”WSIS Round Table” was more or less a positioning of ICANN constituencies in the process. Each speaker had three minutes. Next to the constituencies of the businesses (IPR, ISPs, Business Users, ccTLDs, gTLD, ICC) and of the technical community (Root Server, RIRs, Security and Stability Committee) there has been three speakers from constituencies close to CS: the Non-Commercial Constituency (Milton Mueller), the ALAC (Vittorio Bertola) and I myself on behalf of the CS Internet Governance Caucus. No GAC governmental representative was invited. Both Paul Twomey and Vint Cerf opened the workshop.

The main message was a support for ICANN by pointing out, that in the WSIS processs ICANN has only a limited role to play and concentrates on technical matters, while other bodies should deal with other issues. The “importance” of the new “WSIS/UN IG Working Group” was underlined, but there were no many new recommendations for Mr. Annan and the new chair of the group who will be appointed by him.

In the discussion, among others, the questions of Root Server control and the relationship between technical and political issues were raised. Milton said that it would be a mistake to reduce ICANNs role to “technical aspects”. He said that ICANN does policy. I repeated what I said in the ITU Workshop in Geneva: It is impossible to separate it, it is like “Jerusalem”, you can not really create separate areas, one for the technicians, the other one for the politicians and other ones for business people or users. The different constituencies have to learn to live together. With regard to the Root Server, Bill Manning repeated what he had said in Geneva that, after the implementation of anycast, there are more root server outside the US than inside. Paul Wilson repeated his call for “internationalization”. And I repeated that one solution could be a move from a “trust system to a treaty system”, that is that US invites other governments to an formal agreement (this could be do!
ne in the GAC or in parallel to the GAC) and that this new “treaty organisation” could overtake the DoCs role with regard to the A Root Server and enter into a MoU with ICANN.

There was no much open discussion but WSIS was everywhere. The Italian Minister Stanca labeled the WSIS Declaration - like the Swiss President Couchepin - as “the Constitution of the Information Age”. He made clear in his speech (and in the press conference) that the Italian government, which had the EU presidency until December 2003, would leave the Internet in the hands of the “private sector” and would support a governmental step in only in cases, where real issues of public policy emerge, like spam or content or crime. This was warmly applauded by Vint Cerf, who again and again reduced ICANNs role to “a small portion” of the “big issues”, governments have to face by dealing with the challenges of the Information Age and the Internet. It was a message like we will be as helpful as possible, but let us our turf, this is what we can do and we do it better. WSIS is about the Information Society and the Information Society is much more than the Internet. And even if we discu!
ss the Internet, the Internet is much more than the DNS, IP Addresses and Root Servers.

When the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) presented its report, there was no reference to WSIS and the WSIS/UN IG Working Group in the communique. I asked Sharil in the Open Forum and he answered, that the governments/GAC members discussed the issue but had no common position on it. He added, that the GAC gets more recognition among governments. The official number of GAC members has raised in the last 12 months to 92. ITU has 192 governments as members.

The At Large Advisory Committee published before Roma a WSIS Statement, which welcomes the WSIS Declaration, supports ICANN and offers its service for the WSIS/UN IG Working Group on behalf of the Internet users. The statement, which has been discussed among ALAC Council members only and not in the public forum, does not refer to the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus and its contributions from PrepCom1 to PrepCom3bis++. I asked in the ALAC meeting whether this was only “forgotton” or signals a position. Izumi apologized and said that this could have been mentioned. However when Vittorio presented the ALAC report in ICANN´s Public Forum, he again did not mention the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus and its letter to Kofi Annan and Utsumi but offered the UN Working Group ALACs separate services on behalf of the Internet users.

While I am in favour that CS speaks with as many voices as possible I think that CS as one main stakeholder, mentioned in the WSIS Declaration, could be in a stronger position, if its various constituencies coordinate their activities like the private sector does it via the BICC.

Next to WSIS the normal ICANN business went along with the VeriSign case, WSL and the Whois workshops of the GNSO.. No real discussion about new TLDs, but a good presentation from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a candidate for a new sTLD, on .post, which links postal addresses directly to e-mail addresses.

The small “big news” was the formal establishment of the CNSO, after Gibraltar joined as the needed 4th European ccTLD.. Some progress has been made in the ICANN, NRO, RIR negotiations and the MoU is on its way. The African RIR will probably be launched during the ICANN meeting in Cape Town in December 2004.

ALAC is still struggling with its structural defects. While in Asia, thanks to Izumi, there is some progress and a road map towards a A-RALO becomes visible (probably already during ICANNs July meeting in Kuala Lumpur), other regions, including Europe.and North America, are still extremely weak. Although ALAC organized a “European meeting” during this ICANN gathering in Europe (with ISOC Italy as a recognized ALAC Structure) nobody showed up. There were 20 people in the room, half of them non-Europeans, mainly ALAC members and staff. Also in the ALAC plenary there has been not more than 26 participants, which included all “officials”. On the other hand, the ICANN Board signalled a substantial financial support for the ALAC. Denis Mitchel told the meeting, that in the last year the ALAC got 136.000 US Dollar from ICANNs budget. Mike Palage, as ICANN Director chair of ICANNs financial committee, asked in the Public Forum, whether the ALAC needs more money. Vittorio replied, t!
hat it is not only a question of money but of secretarial support, referring to the new Brussels office. I proposed in the public forum
a. to adjust the bylaws again and to make it easier for individuals to join the process,
b. to make the work of the ALAC more open and transparent (there are no postings from telephone conferences or other internal business of the meeting so far and the participation of the public forum with about 5 posting per months is extremely low) and
c. to organize thematic workshops on the ground for users (using the money which is offered by the ICANN Board).. .

Two other interesting statements came from Italian politicians. A Senator from the Green Party, who addressed the WSIS workshop, called for a global “Internet Bill of Rights”. And Italians Deputy Data Commissioner declared the Whois policy as of ICANN as partly irrevelent because it contradicts national legislation and the EU directive. (see here a good piece of Milton in ICANNWatch). He also was astonished that nobody from the Italian government was officially invited to the Whois workshops. On the other hand, EUs Papapavlou addressed some ICANN constituencies about the EU Data Protection Directive, which was both helpful and enlightening.

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