[At-Large] CCWG Briefings - Presentation

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Sun Feb 28 06:04:52 UTC 2016

On 2/27/16 2:45 AM, parminder wrote:
> I disagree with Karl that California remains the best jurisdictional 
> bet...
That's sensible.  I'm often wrong.  ;-)

My point was less to advocate California than to reflect that there will 
be no jurisdiction that will be perfect bliss and beauty.   And that 
jumping from one frying pan to another will not really solve problems as 
much as merely shift them into new forms while, at the same time, 
causing a whole lot of effort, trouble, and risk as the jump is made.

I understand the concern about US hegemony.

But take heart, even those of us in the US feel locked out.

I am a person who is pretty close to the topmost point of that hegemony 
- I'm a California techie (been part of what would become the internet 
since about 1968), am a California attorney, have written full internet 
standards, participated in the creation of ICANN and have been a member 
of its board of directors.

So do I have influence?   No.  So I can well understand that others who 
are in less privileged positions than I would feel resentment and anger.

However, the road you are asking us to follow is a road that involves 
the creation of what is essentially a new international body.   Where is 
the legitimacy of this body going to come from?  I fear that an effort 
to come to terms over this will result in something as egregious as the TPP.

And how are the massive assets of ICANN (contracts, money, etc) going to 
be moved without the willing consent of a lot of third parties.

Moreover, your road seems to involve what has been called a competing or 
alternative DNS root.  I'm not afraid of competing roots - in fact I 
think they are a good idea.  But many people are extremely (and not 
unreasonably) fearful of what could happen if the older roots - which 
will continue to be used (there is a lot of inertia) - and the new one 
begin to develop inconsistencies.

Moreover, the root server operators are an mostly independent operators 
- they have not obligation to accept what ICANN, or anyone else, 
publishes as a root zone file.  Nor are they under any obligation to not 
alter that root zone file.  They have not done so, but that is the 
result of their desire to act with extreme caution rather than legal 
compulsion.  We owe a lot to the root server operators.  They deployed 
anycast servers on their on initiative without the consent, and even 
despite the consent, of ICANN.  Do we really want to work against a 
group who has perhaps done more to assure the stability of DNS than anyone?

The point of my notes is that we should fix ICANN and do so in a way 
that follows well known, and widely accepted, methods.   ICANN was 
intentionally designed to be distant and unaccountable - deals were 
struck (and remain secret to this day) when the law firm that created 
ICANN was pushing "newco" through the US Dep't of Commerce.

There is a lot of room to fix the existing ICANN.  We can reshape it to 
have a real membership structure, with real voters rather than 
artificial ones being proposed.  And we can change ICANN's organic 
documents - its Articles and Bylaws - to require that certain issues 
receive supermajority votes on the board, to remove the President from 
his ex-officio seat on the board (the damage that that has caused over 
the years is significant), etc.  As I mentioned previously, take a look 
at what we (Boston Working Group) proposed back in 1998 - 

The new proposals have a lot of good ideas.  I jump up and applaud 
changes to the Articles/Bylaws that better channel the decision making 
of the board of directors and require special procedures for certain 
matters.  I agree with the general notion of allowing members to have 
certain powers and rights - I just find that what is being proposed is 
redundant to, and inferior to, what is already available under 
California law.


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