[At-Large] ICANN oversight

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Sat Oct 10 22:47:20 UTC 2015


I have been otherwise occupied most of today, and so others have 
already replied and given a number of perspectives.

Although I am the ALAC Chair, what follows is being said purely on my 
own behalf.

At-Large has been far from aloof in this debate. You are correct that 
we have not contributed hundreds of posts to the mailing list over 
the last few days, but I think that speaks more to our self-control 
than anything else. We have been very clear in our formal comments, 
and we have been very active in the sub-groups refining the CCWG proposal.

You are also correct that we have not been among the "firebrands" who 
have been advocating more radical community control over the ICANN 
Board. This is not accidental, and there are several reasons for this.

1. The position we have taken is not that of a single person. There 
has been a large and active At-Large community involved. The 
positions we have arrived at have been hotly debated and refined over 
the months. This does not necessarily make them better than some 
other position, but I feel strongly that they do represent the vast 
majority of those in our community who have chosen to be involved in 
this process.

2. It is easy to identify specific cases where ICANN Boards have made 
what I believe to be poor decisions. In at lease some cases, they 
have later agreed that perhaps some other path should have been 
followed, so this is clearly a learning process. The Board can also 
be cited for being less diverse and representative of the entire 
world or Internet users than it might be. But from my perspective, 
thanks partly to the good work of recent Nominating Committees, it is 
far more diverse that some of the constituent bodies of ICANN. And it 
is the ONLY body in ICANN that is charged with protecting the core 
mission and values of ICANN as documented in its Bylaws. As such many 
of us in At-Large feel that it SHOULD have the ultimate decision on 
many issues, weighing the perspectives of the various other 
stakeholders within ICANN. It is an essential component that adds 
balance to the multistakeholder model.

3. If you look at the people and groups that have been advocating for 
complete community control over the Board, it is illuminating. The 
vast majority of those voices are from the US and, in one form or 
another, represent powerful commercial stakeholders who have much at 
stake related in the Internet Domain Name System. Is it any surprise 
that they want power and control. That does not make them evil, and 
many of these people are colleagues and friends. But it is natural 
that they will strive to do what is best for their own communities. 
Within At-Large, we have regularly taken the position that, to 
paraphrase an old (mis)quote, what is best for General Motors is not 
necessarily best for Internet users.


At 10/10/2015 07:13 AM, parminder 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
>At-Large mailing list
>At-Large at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>At-Large Official Site: http://atlarge.icann.org

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