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

Roberto Gaetano roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 6 13:10:45 UTC 2016

Makes sense to me.

Da: at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org [mailto:at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Per conto di Evan Leibovitch
Inviato: venerdì 2 settembre 2016 11:28
A: ICANN At-Large list
Oggetto: [At-Large] On a "consumer" agenda for ICANN

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.


Evan Leibovitch
Geneva, CH
Em: evan at telly dot org
Sk: evanleibovitch
Tw: el56

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