[At-Large] Notice of Motion: update to ALAC advice on gTLDs

Antony Van Couvering avc at avc.vc
Mon Dec 19 00:42:42 UTC 2011

Dear Olivier,

If only it were that simple.  Sending me a reading list won't solve the problem, which is real.

At the ICANN meeting in Singapore, the issue of the public interest came up at the public forum.  Steve Del Bianco told the ICANN Board that the term "pubic interest" should be defined, and that set off a series of statements by the Board either pro or con for attempting a definition of "public interest."   Nobody on the floor or on the Board suggested that there was a definition, and indeed the whole argument that ensued was whether a definition should be attempted -- the clear inference being that none existed.    See http://singapore41.icann.org/meetings/singapore2011/transcript-public-forum-23jun11-en.txt (search on "delbianco" to get to the right section). 

Furthermore, the GAC claims to represent the public interest.   If ALAC and the GAC disagree, which position represents the public interest?  Is it GAC's position, which is to accept the Board's ruling that consensus exists and that we are now moving ahead with the program, or is it ALAC's, which is to reject the notion that there was consensus?

I said before that the ALAC was set up to represent the public interest.  I was wrong.  The ICANN Bylaws establishing the ALAC say nothing about it representing the public interest.  Instead, it speaks of ALAC representing the views of individual Internet users (see http://www.icann.org/en/general/bylaws.htm#XI - Article IX.2.4)

What is the public interest and who represents it?  If the suggestion is that ALAC does, what is the basis of this claim?

I appreciate that it might not be everyone's favorite idea of a fun time to examine this question, but before ALAC sends a letter claiming to represent the public interest, these issues need to be cleared up or the letter might be dismissed as illegitimate. 


On Dec 18, 2011, at 3:13 PM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond wrote:

> Dear Anthony,
> On 18/12/2011 23:45, Antony Van Couvering wrote :
>> I know that ALAC was set up to represent the public interest, but I am unaware of any evidence that it does. 
>> In order to represent the public interest, ALAC must first define what that is.  
> Thank you for your suggestion. In the interest of the ALAC not wasting
> time on re-inventing the wheel, I may recommend some reading from
> scholars who have spent time studying the subject:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_interest
> If you'd prefer more legitimate reading material for the holiday break,
> I'd suggest a search for "the public interest" @ Amazon and you'll find
> a handful of books that treat the subject with all of the magnificence
> that the subject deserves.
> I encourage other At-Large members to share their reading list too.
> Kind regards,
> Olivier
> -- 
> Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD
> http://www.gih.com/ocl.html

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