[ALAC] Proposed Bylaws Changes Regarding the Technical Liaison Group: LACRALO Statement

Rinalia Abdul Rahim rinalia.abdulrahim at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 06:55:02 UTC 2013

Dear Fatima,

Thank you for the beautifully worded statement and substantive input from
LACRALO.  I am delighted that there is interest from the
​At-Large ​
community on the TLG issue, which I consider to be very important to ICANN.

To ensure that there is no confusion as we discuss the matter, here is a
​quick ​
review of how ICANN presents the “problem”:

A. (Extracted from

“The Technical Liaison Group (TLG), comprised of the IAB, ETSI, W3C and
​ ​
ITU –T, is chartered by the ICANN by laws to "connect the Board with
appropriate sources of technical advice on specific matters pertinent to
ICANN's activities."
​  ​
Additionally, the group appoints (in an annual rotation between ETSI, W3C
​ ​
ITU - T) a non-voting liaison to the ICANN Board, and a voting delegate to
​ ​
Nominating Committee. The TLG is, by the ICANN bylaws, prohibited from
meeting or formulating
​ ​
positions of its own.  According to ICANN ́s bylaws, there are two ways in
which the TLG can be used to
​ ​
"channel technical information and guidance to the Board and to other ICANN
entities". ICANN can
​ ​
specifically request information from the TLG, or the TLG can provide a
watchdog activity, "to advise the
​ ​
Board of the relevance and progress of technical developments in the areas
covered by each
 organization's scope that could affect Board decisions or other ICANN
actions, and to draw attention to global technical standards issues that
affect policy development within the scope of ICANN's mission."  These
mechanisms have rarely, if ever been invoked.”

B.  (Extracted from Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose in

"The Bylaws changes [of removing the TLG Liaison from the Board and the TLD
Representative from
​ ​
the composition of the Nominating Committee] do not represent any change to
the role of the TLG,
​ ​
which is to "channel technical information and guidance to the Board and
other ICANN entities." Nor is
​ ​
there any change to four entities that make up the TLG. This proposed
change is directed only towards
​ ​
simplifying how the TLG operates and delivers technical advice to the

 *Further thoughts on the situation: *

(1) Problem-Solving Time Lag

I find it curious that the final report of the Board Technical Relations
Working Group is dated 22 August 2011 and we are only requested to comment
on the proposed bylaws changes now in the final quarter of 2013.

(2) Dilemma in Removal of the TLG Liaison from the Board

In principle, one liaison from one organization per year from a group of 4
different organizations (let’s differentiate IAB and IETF for discussion)
can be viewed as a structural constraint in the provision of
​ ​
​technical advice.  While there is this constraint, there is testimony of
excellent TLG Liaison advice/input in the past that had been critical in
Board decision-making (see public comments to JAS Communications Report).  This
does not mean that the one liaison position should not be removed to break
the constraint, but it does mean that there needs to be a better mechanism
for obtaining advice from the group as a whole.  Until now, the mechanism
is not yet evident and must be made evident and subject to community
input/public comment.  In moving forward, to continue receiving excellent
​ ​
input/advice from members of the TLG, criteria to ensure that excellent
representatives are
​to interface with ICANN ​
​ ​
the sending organizations would be

(3) Relevance of Organizations in the TLG

There appears to be no objection to the relevance of the organizations in
the TLG, which
​can be viewed as reinforcing​.  And no one appears to be suggesting that
new entities should be added to the group (so far) even though the Board
Technical Relations Working Group has reviewed a wider list of

(4) Mechanism for a Fully Functional TLG

There is general agreement that the TLG has not worked in the way that it
was envisioned/intended.
​  ​
How it was intended was to have Board-issued requests for
information/advice as well as proactive “watchdog” advice provision by TLG
group members.  On the former, I believe that at times it can be difficult
for the Board to know what specific questions to ask, and timing also
matters greatly.  On the latter, the group members may not be aware that
they are expected to provide proactive advice, without being asked, and
this could be specified in organizational MOUs and Group Member Terms of
Reference, and reflected in Group Member KPIs.

*Excellent value-additions from the LACRALO Statement:*

1. Proposing the criterion of reciprocity to enhance inter-organizational

2. Thorough consultations with the entire ICANN community to find an
appropriate and effective mechanism to
the current TLG arrangement
​ -​
​(I would suggest using "improve" over "replacing" because we are not
replacing the TLG, but changing how it works).​

3. A TLG structure and mechanism for obtaining input/advice that allow for
constant access to the necessary technical competence, and not only through
distance consultation
 - (We all understand the value of face-to-face engagements and it is an
important aspect of making things work better)​

4. The reference to the ALAC and its diverse membership as also capable of
giving technical advice as well, specifically in relation to the technical
issues that are within the sphere of At-Large knowledge and interests.

5. The reference to technical constituencies that includes the ASO, which
participate the different RIRs, and the IETF, which has a permanent seat on
the Board.

*One point that needs to be clarified from the LACRALO Statement*

“...ICANN already contains within its own structure the bodies responsible
for providing this technical advice to the Board.”

Yes to some extent, but not in the coverage of entities that do not fall
under ICANN constituencies/stakeholder groups and who deal with complements
to the DNS, such as the W3C, ETSI
​and ​
​ (which are key for ICANN).​


I hope that LACRALO and the ALAC find the above input useful
​for further​
deliberations over the

Best regards,


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