[EURO-Discuss] ALAC

Kleinwächter, Wolfgang wolfgang.kleinwaechter at medienkomm.uni-halle.de
Thu May 3 10:33:41 EDT 2007



sorry for being silent for a couple of days. I was travelling (Access to Knowledge Conference at Yale University and Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference in Montreal) and had only frequently access to the net. 


Reading the discussion on the ALAC election I am both perplexed and confused. The debate is formal and buerocratic and driven by individual interests. My understanding is that the issue is a political one and should be driven by common interests.


Let me go back to some basic points, reflected in the mission and the value system both of ICANN and ISOC. ISOCs slogan within the WSIS process and elsewhere is "An Internet for All". And it is ICANNs mission to represent the Internet community as a whole. Should it not be the first task of ISOC members working within ICANN to bring people from underpivileged regions, from the edges of the net community, who need help and support, into the broader ICANN community? Should it not be our task to build bridges and to include more constituencies from regions which has not yet been included for a number (mainly economic) reasons into our process? I remember numerous statements from ISOC people in the WSIS process calling for more representation of underprivileged people and groups in the process. Is this serious or hippocarcy? 


When I proposed Veronica to represent the European internet users in the ALAC my argument was that it would be improper if the European Internet users would be represented only by three representatives coming from three founding member states of the EU (the small Europe of the Six, now we have an EU of 27 with more than 20 European countries outside the EU). To have a domination of the German and French speaking commuity in the representation of European internet users in ALAC would be a wrong message and violate the principle of geographical diversity which we have agreed in our draft of the MoU. 


If we make such a choice what would be the message to the million of Internet users in the Ukraine, in Belarus, in Russia and in the other Non-EU member states (including the Slavic speaking community within the EU)? Could you imagine that they think "they are not interested in us, this is a closed club of friends of friends networks?"


I have grown up behind the iron curtain and I understand probably better than other old EU members how painful it is to live in difficult local circumstances with no financial means and a lot of burocratical problems when leaving the country an going to a meeting. Even if you have the individual potential, the intellectual capacity and if you are dedicated to contribute to the debate, without a helping hand nothing will happen and the potential remains unused and does not become part of the process. 


I have no doubt that both Sebastian and Patrick are well qualified for ALAC as well as tghey are qualified for a lot of other positions within and outside ICANN. Patrick has made a great contribution to the community by organizing the wonderful Luxembourg ICANN meeting. Sebastian is, like me, one of the veterans of ICANN, who has participated in nearly all ICANN meetings and has naturally all the knowledge of an insider. 


But this is not the point. The point is that we as a European At Large Organisation should be clear in sending political signals both to our own European constituencies and the rest of the world. We take the challenge to bring more people to the Internet community seriously and we are looking for people who can represent also the underprivileged Internet users in our bodies.


If the main driving force for the application from Patrick and Sebastian is to serve the community I think there are numerous opportunities to do this. There is no need to have a formal position to make the voice heard and to contribute to the ICANN process. Insofar I would encourage Sebastian and Patrick to call each other and to find a way out of the situation which would enable us to move forward by consensus. My proposal would be that either Sebastian or Patrick would accept the one year term this year and next year he would be substituted by the other one.for a two year term. This would guarantee a three year representation of the French speaking Internet community in the ALAC and both would have their ALAC membership in their CV. 


Hope this will help to move forward, to go back to a positive climate in our discussion and to leave the trouble behind us so that we can concentrate now on substance.


I used the time so far to prepare a workshop on "Consumer Interests and new gTLDs" for San Juan (details later). And I am also working on an Outreach workshop during the forthcoming ICANN Studienkreis meeting in Warsaw, October 2007. More contribution for other members our community are welcome.


Best wishes



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