[At-Large] ICANN oversight

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sat Oct 10 14:38:37 UTC 2015

Speaking for myself only...

The ALAC has a number of people on the CCWG itself, so in that that sense
At-Large has been central to that very confrontation with the Board which
you note.

But beyond that, what are your expectations? Fiery protest? An avalanche of
advice statements? Caustic op-ed pieces in DomainIncite?

Speaking for nobody but myself ... an example of the complacency that
bothers you ... I think there's some war-weariness settling in.

On the ground, very little that ALAC does seems to policy-wise have much
real consequence. On an issue that (by name!) impacted our community the
most in the TLD expansion -- Public Interest Commitments -- we were ignored
before it was invented, and rebuffed after we complained that it did not
serve its claimed purpose. This was serious enough that we called for a
freeze of new gTLD deliveries, which led to a series of high-level
discussions that .... burned a lot of volunteer time before being shut down
with no change.

In essence we were powerless to affect even the facet of ICANN that most
directly impacted end-users. What chance does it have elsewhere?

(In other words, from the PoV of end-user influence in ICANN policy, you
can't get worse than powerless and we're already there.)

Compound this with the time demanded to understand the complex CCWG issues.
But At-Large, almost by definition, is not comprised of policy wonks, but
rather of casual participants to whom ICANN is just one small corridor
inside the Internet Governance labyrinth. Very few At-Largers would call
Internet Governance a profession, and have the time to completely follow a
really archaic process such as the IANA handoff.

Meanwhile, there are other components of the labyrinth -- traffic blocking,
site takedowns, zero-rating, RTBF -- that can make the fussing over domain
names look trivial by comparison. ICANN attracts its level of attention
because of the money floating around, not because its issues are the most
critical to Internet users.

So... combine a sense that the public interest will continue to be ignored
regardless of who oversees ICANN, together with these other factors, and
perhaps the result is the seeming complacency that appears to irritate.

- Evan

On 10 October 2015 at 13:13, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net> wrote:

> I cannot but note with considerable surprise and disappoinment that when
> everyone with any thing ever to do with ICANN is currently hotly
> debating the issue of the stand off between the ICANN board and CCWG on
> ICANN accountability, ALAC remains so aloof from the issue.... When this
> should prima facie be the one part of the ICANN structure, as
> representing the peripheries, that should be most bothered by efforts at
> concentration of power, or of holding on it,  vis a vis the rights of
> the public.
> I have not been able to follow the process closely, but if I am right
> -and please correct me if I am not - even in the earlier discussions
> ALAC has been most lukewarm to any kind of structural changes that could
> indeed place an effective oversight of the 'community' over the ICANN
> board, when as said ALAC is the one group that should be most keen on
> institutionalising such checks over centralisation of power with the
> ICANN board. Can anyone explain me why it is so. It really intrigues me,
> and I am sure I am missing something here.
> Thanks, parminder
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Evan Leibovitch
Geneva, CH

Em: evan at telly dot org
Sk: evanleibovitch
Tw: el56
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