[ALAC] Fwd: ALAC Response to recent letters regarding At-LargeReview

John Laprise jlaprise at gmail.com
Tue May 29 04:05:31 UTC 2018

I just sent Herb at Ombuds a heads up msg. I'm growing concerned by the
level of vitriol.


On Mon, May 28, 2018, 10:40 PM Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:

> From what is now a convenient and safe distance I want to express my
> appreciation, sympathy and solidarity to Alan and the others who have been
> dealing with the review.
> The whole review process -- I was involved in previous iterations but not
> at all this one -- is by its nature self-defeating. Rather than encourage
> self-reflection and improvements from within from the people who know most
> intimately what works and what doesn't, it blesses ignorance while inviting
> everyone with a grudge to take a swing. And obviously some have.
> In the case of the CPH, At-Large -- despite our struggles to be accounted
> for in ICANN high-level objectives -- has been one of the sole voices
> within ICANN challenging the capture of ICANN by the compact of domain
> buyers and sellers. We have uniquely doubted the bedrock of ICANN
> expansionism that everyone on earth is just a registrant that hasn't made
> up their mind "which TLD?". Long before it became a catchphrase, we were on
> the ground floor to witness the consumer-hostile excesses of
> "permissionless innovation". And we tried to push back, warning ICANN that
> industry abuse of the DNS would just hasten the rise of the search engine.
> Our often having opposing views to industry fed a belief common to many
> (based on conversations and observation too numerous to count)  that the
> industry is subsidising ALAC to oppose them -- in our first-class champagne
> junkets to ICANN meetings masquerading as policy work. To them At-Large
> comprises ICANN's welfare recipients, and no indignity or cost-cutting is
> too extreme. How DARE we oppose their march to put a domain in every corner
> regardless of need, or express concern at adding more gTLDs while old ones
> are failing, or worry at bad rules enforcement leading to real harm.
> The NCSG shares the travel jealousy but its core animus has a different
> source. ICANN is uniquely a realm of international governance in which what
> is broadly known as "civil society" does not have monopoly claim on the
> public interest. Here it has to contend with ALAC and the GAC (which from
> what I recall the NCSG hates even worse than us). Again, we run into "how
> dare you" scenarios when we sometimes agree with governments, or actually
> stop to ponder a balance between privacy and accountability for misuse.
> (For instance, what is the contribution of ICANN policy to the global
> phenomenon of 'fake news'?)
> In both cases there is a broad sense of "who the hell are *THEY* to
> fulfil ICANN's so-called public interest mandate?" Neither NCSG nor the CPH
> wants us here at all; they'd be happy with the diminished opposition and
> the travel slots re-allotted to those for whom governance is a career. The
> damn bylaws don't allow ICANN to eliminate us, so the next best thing is to
> render us even less effective and waste more volunteer time on process.
> So this is their shot, couched in ICANN-speak. At very least, waste our
> precious human resources and distract us. Burn out people just a little
> faster.
> I'm not sure I have an answer but there's no doubt where the question
> comes from. Maybe my experience is dated and things aren't the same since
> I've pulled back. but nothing I have seen or heard on the mailing lists or
> elsewhere has indicated any change. The very existence of -- and process
> taken by -- these two interventions suggests that it's still the same old
> 💩.
> I'd be far more concerned about all this if I wasn't convinced that
> ICANN's decline is well underway, the only questions left are 'how fast'
> and 'what will replace it'. No change in At-Large will make its "we tried
> to tell you" message any more palatable.
> --
> Evan Leibovitch, Toronto Canada
> @evanleibovitch or @el56
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