[NA-Discuss] Proposal to Change ICANN Compliance Oversight

Garth Bruen gbruen at knujon.com
Tue Jan 27 20:15:03 UTC 2015

Dear colleagues,

Following a multi-year analysis of the way ICANN handles its compliance
function and being directly involved in the existing process every level I
have come to the conclusion that some changes are required if ICANN is to
actually be accountable and transparent. There are some fundamental problems
within the organization which prevent compliance from operating in a truly
independent fashion which serves all parties equally. 

In short, ICANN compliance has been unable enforce the contract with
registrars in specific cases and has been unable to explain why. Testing of
the compliance process at every level has revealed technical failures,
inconsistencies and lost complaints. Compliance staff failed to recognize
violations for an extended period of time and later contradicted their own
findings in later statements. The overall issue is we have been regularly
assured that Compliance is not only fair but up to the challenges of an
expanding Internet. Multiple discoveries call fairness and ability into

Through cases presented directly by At-Large to Compliance staff we stressed
the importance of accepting patterns of abuse and not simply single
complaints. While Compliance staff agreed to this on transcript in
Singapore, they later rejected the same patterns of abuse in private. 

One of the more problematic discoveries in this analysis concerns the
oversight of compliance itself. As many of you are aware the current CEO
moved compliance from under the Legal department to his direct supervision.
This was seen by the community as a positive move. However, budget documents
show that Compliance actually receives its funding from ICANN's Business
division. Additional Compliance funds also still originate with Legal.
Having the domain-business division fund Compliance appears to be an
inherent conflict of interest and does not engender community trust. While
we were told Compliance was being made more independent, this was not the
case. It has also been revealed that the head of Compliance is the wife of a
business associate of both the CEO and the head of ICANN's Business

The main recommendation listed in the proposal is to move Compliance outside
the organization. I am also recommending that the community become directly
involved in Compliance oversight.

I have detailed the history and recommendations here:

A formal memo to be forwarded to ALAC is here:

A timeline of critical events is also posted here: 

I am looking to move this agenda through At-Large starting within NARALO. 

Please feel free to send any questions or concerns to me and discuss this on
the list. 



Garth Bruen
gbruen at knujon.com

Chair of ICANN At-Large North America (naralo.org)
Twitter: @Knujon
Skype: gobruen

"If history is deprived of the Truth, we are left with nothing but an idle,
unprofitable tale" -Polybius

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