[At-Large] ICANN Accountability Mechanisms

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sun Jan 2 16:26:31 UTC 2022

On Sun, 2 Jan 2022 at 04:30, parminder via At-Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> wrote:

> Evan, since I like to look forward, that also makes me ask you -- what
> would be your conception of a publicly accountable ICANN.. No, i dont need
> the full architecture... Just what was missing and what should be, at a
> larger framework level . But it is fine if you havent thought about it yet
> in that way.. . thanks, parminder

Getting further off-topic, but now entertaining. Like Olivier, I enjoyed
Barry's Usenet history and was brought back to days of Telebit modems,
UUCP, and the nightly news dump. I myself ran some of those newsgroup
elections, and was an occasional colleague of one of those demi-gods, Henry
Spencer from the University of Toronto. I recall things being more
structured than Barry did, thanks to the loose assembly of demigods known
as the "Cabal" <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backbone_cabal>.

But... back to Parminder's question. Bashing is easy, constructive
solutions are always far tougher. I don't have a coherent and complete
architecture, but there are a few principles I would like in a
re-envisioned domain manager/regulator. I really can't separate these into
"accountability" and "non accountability" measures since there's at least
some A&T rationale baked into all of them:

   - Fuller (ie, complete) separation of ICANN's technical and political
   roles. That means that issues such as root-server coordination and security
   are better handled by groups like IETF

   - A governance model such that the public interest comprises the
   decision-makers and the industry players are advisors. This of course
   represents a 180-degree swap of the current situation in ICANN but is more
   in line with normal governance elsewhere.

   - A "use it or lose it" regime for domains similar to what exists for
   trademarks, complete with aggressive anti-squatting policy (OK, maybe this
   one doesn't have much to do with A&T but it's critical)

   - The price governments pay for a seat at this table is making domain
   use and allocation subject to a treaty that ensures interoperability and
   heavily constrains domain takedowns. That would avoid bullshit such as the
   "Universal Acceptance" initiative, which was created to beg the world to
   honour ICANN's policies because right now everything is taken in
   (diminishing) good faith. A treaty would also eliminate ICANN's coy "we're
   not a regulator" whining and enable credible enforcement.

   - Creation of a financial model such that the org that regulates domain
   names isn't dependent on their volume or rental fees for its sustainability

   - And finally, a Nominating Committee that actually *nominates*. That
   is, it creates a slate of names for consideration by electors rather than
   choosing the winners itself. I like the CIRA dual-slate model that allows
   for a Nomination Committee slate while enabling a second slate of
   "nominations from the floor" for people who are popular but shunned by the

Sorry you asked?

- Evan
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