[At-Large] ICANN oversight
karl at cavebear.com
Sat Oct 10 19:28:32 UTC 2015
On 10/10/15 9:49 AM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond wrote:
> Whistleblower process, yes absolutely.
> Over-ruling by an unaccountable party, no.
> Government intimidation is one thing. Corporate intimidation is a
> reality we also need to watch out for.
It is right an proper that a public-benefit/non-profit corporation, such
as ICANN, fear oversight by those for whose benefit it claims to exist.
Oversight ought range from simple inquiry into corporate actions to the
ultimate sanction of dismantling and replacement of the organization
being overseen. The choice of level and method of oversight ought to be
solely in the discretion of those exercising that oversight.
ICANN was established for one purpose - to assure the technical
stability of the upper tiers of DNS. ICANN was not established to be a
regulator of trademarks. Nor was it established to impose a tithe on
domain name purchases. Nor was it established to ensconce companies
with perpetual sources of revenue with monopoly prices.
The one great stride of improving DNS stability came when the root
server operators deployed replica servers using "anycast" routing. Those
operators did that despite ICANN; ICANN had nothing to do with it.
ICANN has become an ever-heavier, ever expanding regulatory body,
reaping rich regulatory fees from applicants; it has become a source of
trademark law; it has endowed Verisign and others with permanent streams
of income based on fiat fees that ICANN has never examined or audited.
There are many reasons why those for whose benefit ICANN was created
could feel that ICANN has failed in its essential purpose and has,
instead, become a court of self-interested courtiers who dandy about in
their worldwide array of offices and attend the traveling Versailles of
ICANN meetings, doing little but ever ramifying the "ICANN Book of
ICANN, like any public benefit corporation, does deserve to be subject
to derivative legal actions. Such actions are an effective tool of
oversight and accountability; it is not the bogyman that ICANN makes it
out to be. ICANN does deserve to have a body of people (people, not
corporations) - and more than just one - who have the power and
authority to force certain actions upon ICANN. The California rules in
this regard serve as an example - see ICANN's own listing of those
People like to laugh at the United Stated Congress as a body that has
become little more than a cauldron of fighting interests, not unlike
ICANN. Yet at least those of us for whose benefit that Congress exists
do have the ultimate power of electing our representatives and repairing
the institution. But when it comes to ICANN those of us - all of us -
who form the community of internet users have no similar power to pull
hard on the reins of oversight and mandate that the body, ICANN, that is
intended to serve us, change.
Olivier, you fear the cost of attorneys. That is a reasonable fear. I
can attest to that from my own personal legal fight to exercise but one
exceptionally clear power of a sitting ICANN board member. But it is a
fear that has been inflated because ICANN has ever operated by rules
that it makes up rather than by following well worn paths of corporate
responsibility. Were ICANN to follow, for example, the California rules
of membership organizations (rules that are not really all that
different than what is found elsewhere), costs would be constrained
because the rules have been tested and refined over years of practice.
The law firm that created the ICANN proposal, that incorporated ICANN,
that has remained one of ICANN's greatest creditors over the years, and
which derives a large revenue stream from ICANN, and has a history of
choosing the more expensive road, has no incentive to stop spreading
fear and uncertainty among ICANN board members or executive staff. And
as I have repeatedly found thought the years, even recently, many on
ICANN's board and executive staff do not have the personal experience or
training necessary to question or rebut that so-called "advice".
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