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IGR Comments on the Draft New ICANN Bylaws_by Institute of Internet Governance Research (IGR)

  • To: <comments-draft-new-bylaws-21apr16@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: IGR Comments on the Draft New ICANN Bylaws_by Institute of Internet Governance Research (IGR)
  • From: "HLY" <hanliyun@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 22 May 2016 00:02:28 +0800

On behalf of Institute of Internet Governance Research (IGR), which is a
think tank sponsored by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
with its mission of doing research on the cutting-edge IG issues.  Hereby we
would like to take this opportunity to provide our comments on the Draft New
ICANN Bylaws. Our comments focus mainly on the Empowered Community,
Selection Mechanism, Root Zone Management and Geographic Diversity by which
to enhance the transparency and accountability of ICANN as a nonprofit
public-benefit corporation.

1.       Overall Comments

We welcome all the efforts made by the ICANN legal team and the external
counsels to include necessary changes proposed by ICG and
CCWG-Accountability. The draft New Bylaws plays a vital role in gaining
communities trust and the smooth transition of IANA stewardship.

We have noticed that, ICANN has added four new Articles in relation to the
IANA transition, which reflects community proposals in general. And we are
aware of ICANN's determination in supporting Multi-stakeholder model and
reiterate its initial role as a nonprofit organization to coordinate the
maintenance and procedures of Internet infrastructural resources. We also
recognized and agreed with the value of ICANN to remain open and transparent
through inclusive organizational framework. Finally, we noticed an obvious
change is that the legal basis on which the reformed ICANN is established is
expanded to the whole California Cooperation Code (CCC).

In the meantime, we suggest there are four issues need to be further
discussed and clarified interactively within the same framework.

2.       Specific Comments 

(1) Comments on "Power Distribution"

The "Empowered Community" (EC) as a nonprofit association entitled with
certain powers and rights is designed to ensure the transparency and
accountability of ICANN. Refer to the draft New Bylaws, the EC
Administration consists of 5 persons designated by the 3 Supporting
Organization and 2 Advisory Community, and has an influential veto power
over many important issues. We applaud this new mechanism, while still
concern about the lack of necessary constraints of the EC's veto power,
which might lead to potential power abuse, especially when it comes to the
decision on removing of board members. 

We suggest that it is necessary to build a constraint mechanism for the EC,
which could ensure the power balancing among the EC Administration, the PTI
Board and the ICANN Board. In addition, relevant review teams should be
established for regularly reviewing the decisions and actions made by the EC
Administration and improving the supervision and consensus decision-making
of the community forum.

(2) Comments on "Selection Mechanism"

Although some entities (such as EC, PTI, etc.) have been proposed in the
draft New Bylaws which shows the progress in the ICANN's globalization
reform, the matching Selection Mechanism and Nomination Procedure still need
to be improved. Meanwhile, the Independent Review Process (IRP) and its
Standing Panel have become essential for Reconsideration Request Process,
but the Selection Mechanism of which is subjected to the "Conflicts of
Interest" that contains rare reasonable clarification. IGR hereby concerns
about the incompatibility of the Panel Members' independency,
professionalism and consistency of the review works, which might influence
the interests and involvements of the community, since sometimes for
avoiding the Conflicts of Interest the panel experts may be selected from
the "outsiders" which perhaps finally lead the biased decisions.

In consideration of the community proposals relating to the IANA Stewardship
Transition and the many new established entities thereinto, we strongly
recommended ICANN to put high value on improving the matching Selection
Mechanism mentioned above, including formalization and transparency of
selection, term limits, geographic diversity, active involvement of
developing countries, etc. In addition, it is necessary to add more detailed
classification and illustration on the principle of "Conflicts of Interests"
and fully preserve the professionalism and consistency of the IRP on a
premise of ensuring the Panel Members' independency and the avoidance of
conflicts of interest. 

(3) Comments on "Root Zone Management"

It seems that the draft New Bylaws failed to make clear definition of the
relationship between ICANN, PTI and the root zone maintainer (Verisign) with
regard to Root Zone Management. Based on communities' consensus, it is
significant to ensure the separation of IANA policy making and functional
operations maximally. But so far, the draft New Bylaws only explained the
relationship between ICANN and PTI, while lack of the tripartite
relationship among ICANN, PTI and root zone maintainer (Verisign), hence the
division of Root zone function has not clarified accordingly. In order to
ensure the stable and secure operation of root zone (Section 1.1), the
Bylaws need to be more explicit with its management transparency,
authorities and responsibilities, so as to decrease potential risks in root
server system. 

(4) Comments on "Geographic Diversity"

In general, the draft New Bylaws stressed the significance of geographic
diversity and regional balance in its administrative structure and the
selection process of key positions. However, as mentioned in Section
1.2(b)(vii), the core value contains "Striving to achieve a reasonable
balance between the interests of different stakeholders " and in Section 4.3
(i)(iv) that "Reasonable efforts shall be taken to achieve cultural,
linguistic, gender, and legal tradition diversity, and diversity by
Geographic Region." The word "reasonable" used here may cause certain
divergence for comprehension, and potentially create negative effects in
balancing regional activities. 

Hence, we call for more contribution from ICANN in supporting geographic
diversity. For selection process, ICANN shall give adequate consideration to
the regional balance, ensure the real participation of diverse regions
through selection mechanism, especially regarding the developing countries.
Asia deserves close attention from ICANN since it has the world most
netizens and registries and shall exert more efforts and impact on ICANN's
decision making and daily operation.



About IGR

The Institution of Internet Governance Research (IGR) is an independent and
nonprofit research organization - a think tank - that mobilizes a
professional network of policy makers and specialists, dedicating to carry
out researches and practice on cutting-edge Internet Governance related
issues. Sponsored by CNNIC, the operator and administrator of China's
fundamental network resources, IGR's network contains ranges of strategic
partnership from multistakeholders' support within the country as well as
internatioanl cllaborative paterner organizations. By closely following the
updated demand from global Internet communities, IGR aims to provide clear,
independent and incisive expert analysis on vital Internet governance




Liyun HAN Ph.D. 
Institute of Internet Governance Research (IGR) 

Add: 4 South 4th Street, Zhongguancun, 
Haidian District, 100190 Beijing, China   
Tel: Fax:  <tel:+86-10-58813669> +86-10-58813669 
E-Mail:  <mailto:hanliyun@xxxxxxxx> hanliyun@xxxxxxxx 
 <http://www.cnnic.cn/> Http://www.cnnic.cn 


Attachment: Commets on Draft New ICANN bylaws_by IGR.pdf
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