[At-Large] On a "consumer" agenda for ICANN

Carlton Samuels carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Fri Sep 2 13:36:46 UTC 2016

I totally agree with everything you say.  Even the classical solution
represented; a better informed end user.  My own doubts stem from what I
consider the end user billions responses to more and better consumable
information; so now we know, what?

They could vote with their feet and coin, by withdrawal from interaction
and use of the DNS. I should think none of us consider that a viable

Undoubtedly,  the answers they seek would demand restraining one or other
of the DNS stakeholder interests vexing them; ICANN the corporation itself,
the registrants/registry/registrars combo in the DNS marketplace - singly
or severally -  and, governments.

What approach would work best?  Well, the current model we're all slaving
on is supplication via their representatives to these worlds. We back with
the ALAC.  Or, their political representatives.

Therein lies the major challenge as I see it.  We must be frank about the
real limits to exact change in the ecosystem thru the DNS policy and
implementation structures.


*Carlton A Samuels*

*Mobile: 876-818-1799Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment &

On Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 4:27 AM, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org> wrote:

> Hi all.
> On yesterday's briefing on the topic of ALAC's setting a "consumer" agenda
> I made a number of points which I felt were either not well received or
> well-understood. Having the opportunity to reflect I would like to try to
> express them here in a way I hope may be better accepted.
>    - The issue of whether to call this a "consumer" effort or not appears
>    contentious. My own view is that the term "consumer" is already used within
>    ICANN and has a meaning understood as registrants and end-users. As
>    At-Large has a bylaw mandate to address the interests of end-users, I
>    personally believe that we will have our hands full just advancing
>    end-users; there are other constituencies within ICANN expressly to
>    represent the interests of registrants.
>    - We are significantly constrained in what we can do in the area of
>    compliance because there are so little end-user relevant facets upon which
>    ICANN can act. The RAA limits what ICANN can enforce, and we already know
>    that the main end-user-relevant component of the RAA -- Public Interest
>    Commitments -- are weak and in many cases optional. There is some useful
>    work to be done here -- notably in WHOIS accuracy -- but it is a fraction
>    of all the possible end-user complaints end-users may have.
>    - In the absence of broadly useful enforcement, we have the role of
>    education; and it is here where the most can be done and most needs to be
>    done. My main point is that ICANN's voluminous communications are
>    focused on readers who are at least moderately sophisticated in the
>    technical, economic and/or political components of the organization. ICANN
>    does NOTHING of value for what I would call the unsophisticated audience --
>    people who don't know that (and why) ICANN has nothing to do with
>    two-letter top-level domains. In the absence of such general-public-facing
>    information, ICANN leaves itself unable to counter untruths and conspiracy
>    theories that may be fact-free but are presented in a way anyone can
>    understand,
>    As an example of the level I am talking about, there is no
>    dead-simple, fourth-grade language that explains
>       - That ICANN does not control "the Internet", just its directory
>       - That ICANN can't do ANYTHING help people with problems with
>       two-letter TLDs (and won't easily help people figure that out)
>       - What action to take -- and the limits of what ICANN can do -- if
>       you are getting abuse from a domain
>       - Who runs ICANN (hint: it's not the United Natiions)
> To write simply or do infographics about ICANN -- and I almost
> mean children's book levels, in a dozen or more languages -- takes a
> specific skill, one which volunteers should not be called upon to provide.
> If there is to be an advancement of a "consumer agenda" it must begin with
> an informed public. So far ICANN has spent all its communications resources
> speaking to those interested (and skilled) enough to want to buy, sell or
> regulate domains. But it has done little to inform the BILLIONS who likely
> will never in their lives have or need a domain of their own. In
> the absence of such straightforward information, demagogues and
> agenda-based media are able to create their own narratives without credible
> rebuttal. And the growth of such narratives -- without accessible answers
> -- is hurtful to our advocacy efforts and generally to the organization a s
> a whole.
> ​Cheers,​
> --
> Evan Leibovitch
> Geneva, CH
> Em: evan at telly dot org
> Sk: evanleibovitch
> Tw: el56
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