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

Dev Anand Teelucksingh devtee at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 19:16:17 UTC 2013

Re: "(1) Problem-Solving Time Lag"

What is puzzling is that the Final Report
4 recommendations (emphasis mine):

* "Recommendation: ICANN should consult with the TLG's constituent bodies
individually about what relationship and involvement in governance
mechanisms is appropriate for the respective organization. This
consultation should be undertaken by the ICANN Board or senior staff.
* Recommendation: ICANN should not disband the TLG before it has
substantially concluded these consultations. We believe that a time frame
of six months should be sufficient to substantially conclude these
* Recommendation: ICANN should work to strengthen and better
institutionalize the mechanisms for obtaining technical advice and input,
including at the Board level. It is the recommendation of this Working
Group that, given the ICANN Board’s current mode of operation, the
organization continues to need technical advice and expertise within the
Board's deliberations, *such as the expertise and advice that has been
provided by liaisons appointed by the TLG*. A decision to disband the TLG
should be made only in conjunction with simultaneously addressing this
Recommendation: The Nominating Committee is designed for broad
participation. *The TLG provides for participants in the Nominating
Committee who are connected to the broader technical community. ICANN
should maintain this connection, and should continue the TLG’s role of
fulfilling it*"

SO, were there consultations done by ICANN Staff with the TLG
organisations? What were the outcomes? And how did we reach from that Final
report recommendations in 2011 that seems to suggest maintaining the status
quo (while calling on ways to strengthen and better institutionalize the
mechanisms for obtaining technical advice) to the proposed bylaw changes in
2013 to remove the TLG liasion to the Board AND the removal of the delegate
to the Nominating Committee?

Given the concerns of having persons on the Board with sufficient technical
expertise, this change regarding the removal of the delegate from the TLG
to the nominating committee should NOT be supported and the TLG should
continue to be able to select a delegate to serve on the Nominating

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

The TLG seems to be very constrained by the ICANN bylaws for obtaining
advice from the group as a whole, advice is obtained only from the
organisation(s) when directly asked by the Board.

Under Article X1, Section 2 (bolded key phrases for emphasis):

"4. TLG Procedures. *The TLG shall not have officers or hold meetings, nor
shall it provide policy advice to the Board as a committee* (although TLG
organizations may
individually be asked by the Board to do so as the need arises in areas
relevant to their individual charters). Neither shall the TLG debate or
otherwise coordinate technical issues across the TLG organizations;
establish or attempt to establish unified positions; or create or attempt
to create additional layers or structures within the TLG for the
development of technical standards or for any other purpose.

"6. Individual Technical Experts. Each TLG organization shall designate two
individual technical experts who are familiar with the technical standards
issues that are relevant to ICANN's activities. *These 8 experts shall be
available as necessary to determine, through an exchange of e-mail
messages, where to direct a technical question from ICANN when ICANN does
not ask a specific TLG organization directly*."

The "watchdog" role of the TLG is NOT to watch and comment on the ICANN
activities but rather 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" and to draw attention to global
technical standards issues that affect policy development within the scope
of ICANN's mission."

Re: (3) Relevance of Organizations in the TLG

I was surprised from my research of the other 4 organisations in the TLG
that ICANN isn't formally listed/registered as a member or observer/liaison
in these organisations. I fully agree that ICANN should be present in these
organisations given the efforts of ensuring technical advice from these
organisations in ICANN. Indeed, the presence of representatives from ICANN
in these organisations could minimise the need for a TLG construct and the
current issues with the TLG.
I note that ICANN has yet to join the Unicode Consortium
http://www.unicode.org/consortium/consort.html). Given the issue of IDNs,
should this be a candidate for the TLG?

Re: (4) Mechanism for a Fully Functional TLG


Kind Regards,

Dev Anand

On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 2:55 AM, Rinalia Abdul Rahim <
rinalia.abdulrahim at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> http://www.icann.org/en/groups/reviews/tlg/board-technical-relations-wg-final-report-22aug11-en.pdf
> )
> “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
> and
> ​ ​
> ITU - T) a non-voting liaison to the ICANN Board, and a voting delegate to
> the ICANN
> ​ ​
> 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
> https://community.icann.org/display/alacpolicyde/At-Large+Proposed+Bylaws+Changes+Regarding+the+Technical+Liaison+Group+Workspace
> <
> https://community.icann.org/display/alacpolicydev/At-Large+Proposed+Bylaws+Changes+Regarding+the+Technical+Liaison+Group+Workspace
> >
> )
> "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
> Board."
>  *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
> ​​
> selected
> ​to interface with ICANN ​
> by
> ​ ​
> the sending organizations would be
> ​crucial​
> .
> (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
> organizations.
> (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
> cooperation.
> 2. Thorough consultations with the entire ICANN community to find an
> appropriate and effective mechanism to
> ​"​improve"
> ​​
> 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
> ​ALAC ​
> statement.
> Best regards,
> Rinalia
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