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

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Thu Sep 15 08:45:31 UTC 2016

On 15 September 2016 at 08:21, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>

> I do not think we "represent" end users, as none of the people on the ALAC
> have been elected by end users worldwide,

IMO the context of this particular corner of the debate -- and why we keep
having to revisit it -- comes from the domain industry's speed at
responding any time we assert an opinion contrary to their interests, with
a loud and hearty "*who the hell are you?*". (Of course when we agree with
the industry we're a critical and valued stakeholder whose opinion matters

​The definitive answer, is within the ICANN bylaws. Article XI
<https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/governance/bylaws-en#XI>, Section
2.4a, which states unambiguously:

*The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is the primary organizational home
> within ICANN for individual Internet users.*

​That means our role is to represent the interests of, and ensure the
informed consent of, "the billions" whether or not they have bought domains.

Do we -- that is, the 15 ALAC members, the RALO leadership and the ALSs and
individuals that comprise the community -- actually represent the billions?
​Consider that a full one-third of ALAC is not elected by anyone end-users,
but picked by the ICANN Nominating Committee over who *they think* we ought
to have.

​The individial->ALS->RALO->ALAC model is one imposed by ICANN:

   - ALAC defined in XI.2.4b​,c,d
   - RALOs defined in XI.2.4g,h
   - ALSs defined in XI.2.4i

​Now, it can easily be argued that this whole infrastructure ​is
ineffective (by design and/or leadership) at being the "home for end
users"; indeed, that issue comprises (IMO) much of the scope of the
At-Large Review currently underway (hi Tim!). But the fact remains that
this is the structure under which we have had to work from the beginnings
of At-Large as a defined community within ICANN. Those who have been
involved have tried to represent end users as best we can under the
circumstances. And there is no question that -- outside of governments --
At-Large provides ICANN with its most diverse stakeholder group.

​Of **course** we're not elected by the billions; a tiny fraction of them
know ICANN exists, and an even tinier fraction knows that At-Large exists
within ICANN.

(Often, when ICANN *is* brought to public attention, whether by Ted Cruz or
the Russian government or other sources, it is not painted in a public
light and the presence of an end-user community as a source of guidance is
routinely ignored. Perhaps the fact that At-Large advice is so often
ignored is a justifiable cause of our seeming irrelevance -- but I

I like the way Alan coined it sometime back and Olivier has repeated, that
ALAC can't possibly say that we speak for the ​billions, but we can very
accurately say that we do our best, given the structural constraints, to
represent the *interests* of end users. This is why I like Garth's
description of At-Large leadership as "stewards" of the global public
interest if not its broadly-elected representatives.
It is not an untruth that At-Large represents the billions within ICANN;
that is what its bylaws say we are here to do -- and that is indeed the
proper answer to "who the hell are you". That we are a geeky elite from the
less than 1% of the world's population that knows what ICANN happens to be,
is a reality that is unlikely to change unless WE do something about it.
And that is why I am working on a re-envisioning of ALAC's stewardship that
is more outward focused than inward, spending less time reacting to every
stupid ICANN public comment and more on creating an informed public.

​- Evan​
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://atlarge-lists.icann.org/pipermail/at-large/attachments/20160915/2abd9e57/attachment.html>

More information about the At-Large mailing list