[At-Large] Parminder’s assertion of Conflict of Interest / Expected Rules of Behavior

Jeff Neuman jeff at jjnsolutions.com
Tue Jan 4 06:19:46 UTC 2022



Honestly, I am trying to understand your position, but having difficulty ascertaining the specifics other than your generalized statement that you believe I have a conflict of interest in serving as the GNSO Liaison to the GAC and/or the GNSO Liaison to the SubPro ODP while at the same time doing work for an entity seeking to become a contracted party . I would like to get these issues out of the way because it is not only distracting from the actual issues presented with respect to ICANN’s Accountability Mechanisms, but it is a clear attack on my credibility and character.

I expect those that attack my credibility, character and/or actions to come forward with evidence supporting their accusations.  However, rather than provide any evidence to support your serious allegation that my conflict of interest statements are “prima facie inappropriate,” you ask the community to sift through those statements (which you admit you have not read), to find the evidence for you.  This is borderline defamatory and a violation of ICANN’s Expected Rules of Behavior. I do not wish to encourage that activity moving forward, but to be fair, I do want to provide some facts to clear the air lest anyone actually believes that there is a conflict of interest with my serving as either the GNSO Liaison to the GAC or in the role of the GNSO Liaison to the SubPro ODP.

Here are the facts that I have provided:

  1.   It is well known, and has been well known, that I started a business in July 2020 called JJN Solutions, LLC which represents a number of clients in a variety of different industries on legal and policy matters.  Some of the clients I have include domain name registries, registrars and registrants. I also represent some Brand Owners in the protection of Intellectual Property.  Further, in 2020 I was also appointed as a UDRP Panelist for The Forum and have presided over more than a dozen cases thus far.  This has ALWAYS been in my Statements of Interest and can be found on my website https://www.jjnsolutions.com.
  2.  At the time I applied for the position of GNSO Liaison to the GAC (mid 2020 I believe), I disclosed all of the above in the GNSO required application and SOI.  The Standing Selection Committee got that information and was able to weigh that against my 25+ years of service and my reputation in the community for being fair, balanced and neutral.  This has been demonstrated in my serving as in a chair or co-chair capacity on a number of Working Groups, Task Forces and other committees over the years including those where I directly worked for a domain name registry (Neustar) and then a domain name registrar (Com Laude)
  3.  The various leadership positions I held in the community included serving 3.5 terms on the GNSO Council on behalf of the Registries (2 years of which I was a Vice Chair of the Council on behalf of the contracted parties).  I served as a Chair of a Whois Task Force in the early 2000s, the chair of the PDP Planning Steering committee responsible for coming up with PDP 2.0, the sole registry representative on the Implementation Review Team responsible for recommending IP protections to the ICANN Board, and a chair of the Legal Assistance Group which worked with ICANN staff on the Base Registry New gTLD Agreement from 2010-2012.  Most recently, I served as a Co-chair with Cheryl Langdon-Orr of the SubPro PDP.  It was in this latter role that I became known by the GAC and was a vocal advocate for ensuring the GAC’s active participation in the SubPro PDP.  Despite working for a registrar that also provided consulting services for Brand TLDs, I was able to serve as the PDP Chair in a neutral manner - meaning that despite what my then-employer’s position was on a particular issue, it was my job to not advocate for that position and to ensure that the will of the Working Group was implemented.
  4.  It was also through this work that both Cheryl and I became ideal candidates to serve as the GNSO Liaison to the ODP.  We both knew the work of the PDP Working Group backwards and forwards and we could help answer questions by the GNSO and/or by ICANN about the policies.  During the selection process I again disclosed that my consulting business supported a number of clients, some of which included registries and registrars.  However, I also committed to serve in this role in a neutral manner and not on behalf of any one of my client’s.  I further disclosed that I was not being paid by any client for any work in connection with any future round of new gTLDs.  That was true then and remains true today.  I believe I have served in these roles in such a manner.
  5.  What I did not disclose until recently was the name of one of the client’s that I am working for; namely Dot Hip Hop, LLC.  This was due to the fact that Dot Hip Hop, LLC is not yet a contracted party.  Dot Hip Hop, LLC is trying to get ICANN consent on an assignment for the .hiphop TLD from UniRegistry Corp.  I knew that once ICANN approve DHH as a contracted party, it would be at that point that I needed to name the specific client because of the fact that have a small de minimus ownership stake in the company.  [NOTE - the SOI only requires that you disclose whether you work for a particular contracted party and does not require you to disclose that you do work for an entity that is trying to be a contracted party].  However, given the concern that YOU raised on this list about not having made the update, I decided I would do so (even though not required).

Bottom line:
(A) what is the conflict that you believe was not disclosed or that the Standing Selection Committee did not know at the time they selected me for the position?
(B). What I activities in serving as these liaisons can you point to that were in contrast to serving in an independent neutral capacity?

If you cannot provide any back-up to these allegations and attacks, I ask nicely that you refrain from continued violations of ICANN’s Expected Rules of Behavior. I have not included the Ombudsman on this thread because I am optimistic that we can turn these discussions into productive ones on Accountability.


Jeffrey J. Neuman
Founder & CEO
JJN Solutions, LLC
Jeff at JJNSolutions.com

From: At-Large <at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org> on behalf of parminder via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
Sent: Monday, January 3, 2022 9:23 PM
To: at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org
Subject: Re: [At-Large] Not my circus, not my monkeys (Was Re: ACCOUNTABILITY Restart)

On 04/01/22 7:19 am, Jeff Neuman via At-Large wrote:
With all due respect Evan, I am not sure that the comments of a few people on the list during a time period when many are on vacation demonstrates the views of the  the At-Large or the ALAC at all.  There is likely a formal process to introduce the issue (as opposed to just on a mailing list).  And I would like to use the process to raise the issue.

If, as you contend, there is little interest, then so be it.  Then it never gets addressed.  But you never know until you start the process.

And again with all due respect, one should never give up on making the organization better even if you are frustrated by our lack of success in the past.

Yes, Jeff, Evan is trying to make the organization better --- by, instead of focusing on a particular grievance (whatever its merit), being concerned over larger, structural issues, like conflict of interest -- in which issue btw you seem to have little interest, and you present banal arguments for, like  I work in these ICANN positions voluntarily without any personal gain (when whether this is true or the opposite is true is precisely under the scanner)

As for your response to my email expressing non confidence in your continuing with your ICANN positions owing to clear conflict of interest, i havent responded bec a response will require considerable time to dig into the documents you shared, and others,  and present a fool-proof case. I think it is the job of others here, the regular 'community' to sift and see through your conflict of interest statements, that are  prima facie so inappropriate, That is why public CoI statements are made, for the public, esp the closely involved community to inspect it, and if needed comment on it . But if people in these communities are more interested in mutual back-patting, and taking precaution that when the time comes it is not they who are 'exposed', then good luck to all. The organization cannot become better -- it is doomed ...


 Giving up just doesn’t seem like the right option.


Jeffrey J. Neuman
Founder & CEO
JJN Solutions, LLC
Jeff at JJNSolutions.com<mailto:Jeff at JJNSolutions.com>

From: Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org><mailto:evan at telly.org>
Sent: Monday, January 3, 2022 6:42:02 PM
To: Jeff Neuman <jeff at jjnsolutions.com><mailto:jeff at jjnsolutions.com>
Cc: Javier Rua <javrua at gmail.com><mailto:javrua at gmail.com>; Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org><mailto:at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
Subject: Not my circus, not my monkeys (Was Re: ACCOUNTABILITY Restart)

Hi Jeff,

You've asked. Nobody's shown interest. OTOH, people have been having a much better time with the tangents this topic has grown. However ... While I can't speak for any other readers here, my response to your repeated demand for attention is one of enthusiastic indifference.

You don't appear to have convinced anyone that ALAC ought to fight your battles. Accountability issues have plagued ICANN for decades, yet you only come here when they impact one of your clients.

IMO, if ALAC is to address accountability, it needs to be systemic and also address ICANN's massive conflict-of-interest problem. I had a lot more to say about why this request bears ignoring, but I deleted it. Just not worth the effort.

- Evan

On Mon, 3 Jan 2022 at 17:28, Jeff Neuman <jeff at jjnsolutions.com<mailto:jeff at jjnsolutions.com>> wrote:
Ok, all this has been a great discussion on Internet Governance theory, but can we bring this back to the subject at hand with respect to accountability and what practical steps we can take to address the accountability issues.

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