[NA-Discuss] Foreign Policy and the Internet

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Tue Aug 14 21:41:55 UTC 2012

On 14 August 2012 16:57, Eric Brunner-Williams <ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net>wrote:

> I'm unable to envision an *enlightened, informed* administration risking
> the consequences of making changes requested by governments unreasonably
> conditional.

Those qualifiers [emphasis mine] make all the difference IMO.

So far, evidence of enlightenment and awareness is scarce, as witnessed by
the congressional hearings latest December (to which the ALAC responded).
What is just as possible, based on observation,  is cynical manipulation of
processes to keep other would-be actors at bay, both internal and external.
The US DoC may not really prefer the multi-stakeholder model better than
any other, but cheerleading it serves as a useful tactic to quell the
aspirations of other countries who have woken up to the fact that the US is
no longer the home of a plurality of the world's Internet users.

It may be considered distasteful to have this debate enter into the realm
of foreign policy, but I think it is unrealistic to believe that three
years from now global Internet governance -- and the evaluation of ICANN's
suitability to continue in its roles -- will still be considered a purely
US domestic matter. And it is similarly unreasonable to expect that the
ALAC, as one of the most geographically balanced stakeholder entities
within ICANN, will condone -- let alone encourage -- long term continued US
monopoly control of resource governance.

I think the ALAC and At-Large have a role to play in helping ICANN becoming
more globally accountable. The AoC was merely a first step, and even that
is badly flawed in its execution. The R3 white paper, which I helped author
together with former GAC, ccNSO and ICANN Board members, helps chart out
the issues and suggest possible remedies. This paper has already been
requested by many GAC and Board members as major internal overhauls are
contemplated to address both changes within ICANN's community and external
political pressures.

- Evan

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