[NA-Discuss] Inclusion of Individual Internet Users within the City-TLD Multistakeholder Governance Environment

Thomas Lowenhaupt toml at communisphere.com
Tue Jun 14 18:33:38 UTC 2016


There are two issues that are getting merged and perhaps confused here: 
ICANN's role in issuing TLDs to cities and the ALAC's role. I'm talking 
about the latter. Let me explain.

With ICANN: It seems reasonable that when issuing additional TLDs ICANN 
should approve their allocation after receiving some form of "Informed 
Consent" from the city identified by the TLD sought. The intention of 
this consent would be to assure, as much as practicable, that the 
governance structure of the city for which the TLD is sought is aware of 
the potential and uses of a city-TLD. If the mayor and council of Las 
Vegas agree to use the .vegas TLD to promote gambling and to hell with 
the public interest, that's up to them and the voters. In the instance 
of .nyc, the city has signed a contract with ICANN to operate the .nyc 
TLD for 10 years without what I consider to be informed consent. And the 
people of New York will deal with that. Hopefully we'll convince the 
city to set up an advisory board for .nyc similar to the dozens they 
have for police, sanitation, schools, transport, air quality...

With ALAC: Today the individual Internet users in New York City have no 
official entity through which they can effectively and efficiently voice 
their concerns about the operation of the .nyc TLD. Perhaps one day they 
will. In the interim, ICANN is agreeing to changes to the registry 
agreement without consulting the city's individual Internet users. 
ICANN's by laws (Article XI, Section 2, 4, j, 10) detail the ALAC's 
responsibility to include:

    "Establishing mechanisms and processes that enable two-way
    communication between members of At-Large Structures and those
    involved in ICANN decision-making, so interested individuals can
    share their views on pending ICANN issues."

What I'm asking is that the ALAC work to assure that we, as an At Large 
Structure, are informed when changes to the registry agreement are 
proposed. I'm asking that ALAC start a formal process to establish a 
mechanism and process that enables two-way communication between members 
of our At-Large Structure and those involved in ICANN decision-making, 
so interested individuals can share their views on pending ICANN issues.

We'll deal with the informed consent issue at another time.


Tom Lowenhaupt

On 6/13/2016 10:55 PM, Alan Greenberg wrote:
> Tom,
> If there were a ground swell of support for the concept that a 
> geographic TLD must consult (or listen to) citizens on its geographic 
> region, then the ALAC could certainly advise that this would be 
> included if and when there are any new geographic TLDs are allocated. 
> I have little confidence that this is something that would be accepted 
> by ICANN, as it only allocates the TLD and according to its mission 
> has little to do with how it is run. One exception is that if a 
> commitment to do something (or not do something) is in the TLD 
> contract, then ICANN may be in a position to ensure that the contract 
> is honoured.
> Even if ICANN would accept such a requirement to specify how 
> geographic TLDs are managed, it would not change .nyc as the contracts 
> are already signed and the only changes in this area that could alter 
> the contract would be those voluntarily added by the City of New York.
> If you want to accomplish that, it is in New York that you need to be 
> convincing people that there is a problem that you can help fix.
> Alan
> At 13/06/2016 05:44 PM, Thomas Lowenhaupt wrote:
>> Alan,
>> While I've not completed my research, your conclusion seems to 
>> conform to the city's belief here in New York - that it need not 
>> provide a process for participation by individual Internet users in 
>> shaping the use of the .nyc TLD. Assuming that's the case, that 
>> there's no clear responsibility on the part of ICANN or the registry, 
>> what responsibility does the At-Large have with regard to the needs 
>> of individual Internet users?
>> To me, it would seem ALAC's role is to advise ICANN, politely, that 
>> it botched things with regard to city-TLDs, and to suggest a roadmap 
>> for reengaging individual Internet users with the governance process.
>> Are you in agreement or have I missed something?
>> Best,
>> Tom Lowenhaupt
>> On 6/13/2016 3:59 PM, Alan Greenberg wrote:
>>> .paris is a community TLD, and thus subject to the control of the 
>>> designated community. However, according to the TLD application, the 
>>> "City of Paris" is deemed to be the representative of that 
>>> community. So it is completely internal to the City of Paris how it 
>>> implements any control or other input from Paris residents and 
>>> businesses.
>>> This, for all practical purposes, puts it in the same status as .nyc 
>>> (which did not apply as a "Community" TLD. Any rules it puts in 
>>> place, or does not put in place, which gives some level of control 
>>> or review to NYC residents or businesses is solely up to the city 
>>> administration.
>>> Alan
>>> At 12/06/2016 06:07 PM, Louis Houle wrote:
>>>> Hi Tom and Alan,
>>>> I read the Registry agreement - Paris and didn't find real relevant 
>>>> info:
>>>> «7.8 No Third-Party Beneficiaries.  This Agreement will not be 
>>>> construed to create any obligation by either ICANN or Registry 
>>>> Operator to any non-party to this Agreement, including any 
>>>> registrar or registered name holder.
>>>> Community Registration Policies
>>>> Registry Operator shall implement and comply with all community 
>>>> registration policies described below and/or attached to this 
>>>> Specification 12.  In the event Specification 12 conflicts with the 
>>>> requirements of any other provision of the Registry Agreement, such 
>>>> other provision shall govern.
>>>> Two types of conditions must be fulfilled for the right to register 
>>>> a TLD name. These are:  (A) community membership (bona fide 
>>>> presence in the Paris area) and  (B) the additional requirements that:
>>>> The presence in Paris area and use of domain are generally accepted 
>>>> as legitimate.
>>>> The presence in Paris area and use of domain are conducive to 
>>>> welfare of the Paris area.»
>>>> Goog evening
>>>> Louis Houle
>>>> President
>>>> ISOC Quebec
>>>> Louis.Houle at isoc.quebec <mailto:Louis.Houle at isoc.quebec>
>>>> Le 2016-05-13 à 16:40, Alan Greenberg a écrit :
>>>>> As a first step, perhaps you should look at all of the application 
>>>>> forms and registry agreements, particularly for those that are 
>>>>> Community TLDs, and see what they committed to.
>>>>> -- 
>>>>> Sent from my mobile. Please excuse brevity and typos.
>>>>> On May 13, 2016 4:16:47 PM EDT, Thomas Lowenhaupt 
>>>>> <toml at communisphere.com> <mailto:toml at communisphere.com> wrote:
>>>>>     Louis,
>>>>>     It certainly would be good to know the level of engagement for
>>>>>     IIUs in Paris and the other newly TLD'd cities. Perhaps the
>>>>>     At-Large could craft a questionnaire to gather the state of
>>>>>     affairs, to be distributed as widely as practicable. Certainly
>>>>>     one might imagine excellent penetration in those cities with
>>>>>     ALSes. From there we might develop a report of use to many.
>>>>>     What's the best tool for creating a questionnaire these days?
>>>>>     Surveymonkey <https://www.surveymonkey.com/> seems to be
>>>>>     priced right? Anyone with experience in this area? Is there a
>>>>>     better alternative? Are there others in the ICANN community
>>>>>     that might be interested in a project of this sort?
>>>>>     Best,
>>>>>     Tom Lowenhaupt
>>>>>     On 5/13/2016 2:51 PM, Louis Houle wrote:
>>>>>>         Hi Tom,
>>>>>>         Why is the situation rather opaque in .NYC. Because
>>>>>>         inclusiveness is not promoted ? Because transparency is
>>>>>>         not an integrated process in the pratices of the
>>>>>>         management team (the meetings are held behind closed doors? )
>>>>>>         Governments obey to a set of rules and processes that
>>>>>>         they control. This includes the input or contribution
>>>>>>         from third parties regarding the direction to follow the
>>>>>>         management approach, etc. I understand that this the
>>>>>>         situation that you're cought with.
>>>>>>         Your suggestion to get ICANN on board is certainly
>>>>>>         appropriate. Is it the only approach for you to advocate
>>>>>>         for a governance process for NYC? I don't know if other
>>>>>>         city TLD are facing a similar situation as the one you
>>>>>>         described. For instance, Dot-Paris is managed by the city
>>>>>>         under the authority of the mayer. Would it be useful to
>>>>>>         document how they address governance issues including the
>>>>>>         multistakeholder model ? Would it be useful to get the
>>>>>>         GeoTLD Interest Group on board also?
>>>>>>         At Dot-Quebec, the Board adopted a very openned
>>>>>>         governance approach. Anybody who can contribute is
>>>>>>         welcome, but it's a not-for-profit organisation. It's not
>>>>>>         lead by the government even though we received a
>>>>>>         financial and political support for the project. We
>>>>>>         support the multistakeholder model but for the new
>>>>>>         members of the Board, it needs to be explained. We have
>>>>>>         people with various and strong CV, but mostly no ICANN
>>>>>>         experience for some of them. Knowledge sharing is useful
>>>>>>         then, but it is still necessary to have a partner who is
>>>>>>         willing to listen.
>>>>>>         Regards 
>>>>>>         Louis Houle
>>>>>>             President 
>>>>>>             ISOC Quebec 
>>>>>>             Louis.Houle at isoc.quebec <mailto:Louis.Houle at isoc.quebec> 
>>>>>>         Le 2016-05-12 12:49, Thomas Lowenhaupt a écrit :
>>>>>>>             Joly,
>>>>>>>             In response to my post contending that the
>>>>>>>             multistakeholder model was not effectively meeting
>>>>>>>             the needs of individual Internet users (IIUs) in New
>>>>>>>             York City you said:
>>>>>>>                   o "​But are we? ALS's and individuals can
>>>>>>>                     join RALOs, who in turn can influence the
>>>>>>>                     ALAC, who advise the ICANN board."
>>>>>     That's correct. And that's what I'm doing right now.
>>>>>           o "Or do you mean locally? Well, we elect our
>>>>>             representatives on the NYC City Council, who are
>>>>>             subject to their constituents, at least in theory."
>>>>>             Following that line of thought we really don't need a
>>>>>             city council or mayor at all. After all, we also have
>>>>>             a democratically elected congress and president. Why
>>>>>             bother with city government? Just call your congress
>>>>>             member about the pothole, garbage pickup, or idea for
>>>>>             a park improvement. And indeed you can. But my
>>>>>             congress member represents about 700,000 people and
>>>>>             avers to the local council member who represents
>>>>>             160,000 residents. He has close ties, that include
>>>>>             budgetary control,  with the local service providers -
>>>>>             the pothole fillers, sanitation and parks departments.
>>>>>             So for local service delivery issues it's better to go
>>>>>             local. And in this instance, with .nyc, I think we
>>>>>             have agreed to go down one more layer and engage the
>>>>>             stakeholders in the process. And indeed, ICANN talks
>>>>>             bottom-up and multistakeholder. Minimally, minimally,
>>>>>             ICANN could send a notification to the local ALSs when
>>>>>             a city registry agreement change is proposed. And it
>>>>>             would seem reasonable to provide the opportunity for
>>>>>             that ALS to respond, and for that response to be
>>>>>             considered. One might argue that it is the ALS's
>>>>>             responsibility to keep an eye on ICANN's activities.
>>>>>             And that's a good idea. And I support and look forward
>>>>>             to the day when we're provided by ICANN with a budget
>>>>>             to hire a staff member for that task. But for now it
>>>>>             seems ICANN's generating a letter about proposed
>>>>>             changes to the registry agreement is the simpler way
>>>>>             to go.
>>>>>                   # "There was an advisory board for .nyc. It
>>>>>                     hardly met, and the meetings it had were
>>>>>                     closed. You were on it. It could've done
>>>>>                     something to break its chains if the will was
>>>>>                     there, surely.​" As I recall the situation,
>>>>>                     the city created the advisory board under
>>>>>                     duress - there was a challenge to their .nyc
>>>>>                     application from Connecting.nyc Inc. After the
>>>>>                     .NYC Community Advisory Board's creation the
>>>>>                     city retained tight control over its
>>>>>                     operation. It appointed members, scheduled the
>>>>>                     meetings, and set the agenda. I informed
>>>>>                     media-types about the meetings, but they were
>>>>>                     excluded by the representatives of the mayor.
>>>>>                     Additionally, even city officials were
>>>>>                     excluded. Council member Gale Brewer's
>>>>>                     representative, whom I invited, was told to
>>>>>                     leave the room when he showed up. And as I
>>>>>                     mentioned previously, when they abolished it
>>>>>                     on December 31, 2014 they wiped out any sign
>>>>>                     of its existence from its website. But you're
>>>>>                     right, those chains probably could have been
>>>>>                     broken short of self-immolation. I just never
>>>>>                     figured out how. Where are we now? While we've
>>>>>                     taken a hit with the abolition of the .NYC
>>>>>                     Community Advisory Board, I'm still trying to
>>>>>                     get a governance process started where IIUs
>>>>>                     can meaningfully participate in a governance
>>>>>                     process. My latest thought is to get ICANN,
>>>>>                     via the ALSs, on board and advocating for a
>>>>>                     multistakeholder governance process, one that
>>>>>                     includes IIUs. Any thoughts on how to achieve
>>>>>                     this are most welcomed.
>>>>>                     Best,
>>>>>                     Tom Lowenhaupt
>>>>>                     On 5/12/2016 1:19 AM, Joly MacFie wrote:
>>>>>>                     On Thu, May 12, 2016 at 12:09 AM, Thomas
>>>>>>                     Lowenhaupt <toml at communisphere.com
>>>>>>                     <mailto:toml at communisphere.com> > wrote: 
>>>>>                     The point I'm trying to make is: If we've all
>>>>>                     accepted the multistakeholder model, how is it
>>>>>                     that the local ALSes and individual Internet
>>>>>                     users (residents and organizations as well)
>>>>>                     are left out of the decision making process? 
>>>>>                     Tom 
>>>>>                     ​But are we? ALS's and individuals can join
>>>>>                     RALOs, who inturn can influence the ALAC, who
>>>>>                     advise the ICANN board.
>>>>>                     Or do you mean locally? Well, we elect our
>>>>>                     representatives on the NYC City Council, who
>>>>>                     are subject to their constituents, at least in
>>>>>                     theory.
>>>>>                     There was an advisory board for .nyc. It
>>>>>                     hardly met, and the meetings it had were
>>>>>                     closed. You were on it. It could've done
>>>>>                     something to break its chains if the will was
>>>>>                     there, surely.​
>>>>>                     ​j​
>>>>>                     -- 
>>>>>                     ---------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>                     Joly MacFie  218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
>>>>>                     --------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>                     - 
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