[At-Large] Parminder’s assertion of Conflict of Interest / Expected Rules of Behavior

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Tue Jan 4 08:06:29 UTC 2022


1. If I find someone expecting a decision from ICANN regarding some gTLD
issues, which has direct  pecuniary implications for him, and is
simultaneously at key positions of the ICANN's policy body related to
be exactly the kind of issues that structurally plague ICANN and its
associated bodies, whereby my interest in your case is larger.

2. I said I see a conflict of interest, and you should step down. This
assertion stands whether or not your disclosed any conflict of interest.
The two are different things.

3. As for the conflict of interest disclosure being /prima facie/
inappropriate, your description in point 5 below reconfirms my belief/
assertion. You are saying that only when a TLD actually gets assigned in
a certain manner in relation to a party that you are representing (and,
I think, in which you also have direct ownership stake -- which issue
btw is not coming off too clearly) does any conflict of interest arise,
and NOT while the the application/ processes/ discussions/ negotiations
etc are underway for such assignment. This is what I find /prima facie/
inappropriate.  Conflict of interest arises right at the start of the
process -- involving a decision that could go either way -- and not only
latter, at the time of assignment etc.... If I apply for a tender, or am
hobnobbing with parties applying for a tender, for providing some
services with a gov department, and i also hold a position in the
department, the conflict of interest begins right way as one begins any
involvement in the process, that could potentially serve ones private
interests, and not after the awarding of a tender... 

4. If saying that there is a conflict of interest, and the CoI
statements look prima facie unsatisfactory or inappropriate, invites
disciplinary action by the ombudsman, then that just adds one layer to
what is fundamentally wrong with ICANN and its processes. So, please
spare me that threat.

5. Meanwhile I have no interest in dot hip hop or you, and I did already
say that individuals (meaning you in this case) are less to blame when
the structural conditions are not conducive and appropriate ones.


On 04/01/22 11:49 am, Jeff Neuman wrote:
> Parminder, 
> Honestly, I am trying to understand your position, but having
> difficulty ascertaining the specifics other than your generalized
> statement that you believe I have a conflict of interest in serving as
> the GNSO Liaison to the GAC and/or the GNSO Liaison to the SubPro ODP
> while at the same time doing work for an entity seeking to become a
> contracted party . I would like to get these issues out of the way
> because it is not only distracting from the actual issues presented
> with respect to ICANN’s Accountability Mechanisms, but it is a clear
> attack on my credibility and character.
> I expect those that attack my credibility, character and/or actions to
> come forward with evidence supporting their accusations.  However,
> rather than provide any evidence to support your serious allegation
> that my conflict of interest statements are “prima facie
> inappropriate,” you ask the community to sift through those statements
> (which you admit you have not read), to find the evidence for you.
>  This is borderline defamatory and a violation of ICANN’s Expected
> Rules of Behavior. I do not wish to encourage that activity moving
> forward, but to be fair, I do want to provide some facts to clear the
> air lest anyone actually believes that there is a conflict of interest
> with my serving as either the GNSO Liaison to the GAC or in the role
> of the GNSO Liaison to the SubPro ODP.
> Here are the facts that I have provided:
>  1.  It is well known, and has been well known, that I started a
>     business in July 2020 called JJN Solutions, LLC which represents a
>     number of clients in a variety of different industries on legal
>     and policy matters.  Some of the clients I have include domain
>     name registries, registrars and registrants. I also represent some
>     Brand Owners in the protection of Intellectual Property.  Further,
>     in 2020 I was also appointed as a UDRP Panelist for The Forum and
>     have presided over more than a dozen cases thus far.  This has
>     ALWAYS been in my Statements of Interest and can be found on my
>     website https://www.jjnsolutions.com.
>  2. At the time I applied for the position of GNSO Liaison to the GAC
>     (mid 2020 I believe), I disclosed all of the above in the GNSO
>     required application and SOI.  The Standing Selection Committee
>     got that information and was able to weigh that against my 25+
>     years of service and my reputation in the community for being
>     fair, balanced and neutral.  This has been demonstrated in my
>     serving as in a chair or co-chair capacity on a number of Working
>     Groups, Task Forces and other committees over the years including
>     those where I directly worked for a domain name registry (Neustar)
>     and then a domain name registrar (Com Laude)  
>  3. The various leadership positions I held in the community included
>     serving 3.5 terms on the GNSO Council on behalf of the Registries
>     (2 years of which I was a Vice Chair of the Council on behalf of
>     the contracted parties).  I served as a Chair of a Whois Task
>     Force in the early 2000s, the chair of the PDP Planning Steering
>     committee responsible for coming up with PDP 2.0, the sole
>     registry representative on the Implementation Review Team
>     responsible for recommending IP protections to the ICANN Board,
>     and a chair of the Legal Assistance Group which worked with ICANN
>     staff on the Base Registry New gTLD Agreement from 2010-2012.
>      Most recently, I served as a Co-chair with Cheryl Langdon-Orr of
>     the SubPro PDP.  It was in this latter role that I became known by
>     the GAC and was a vocal advocate for ensuring the GAC’s active
>     participation in the SubPro PDP.  Despite working for a registrar
>     that also provided consulting services for Brand TLDs, I was able
>     to serve as the PDP Chair in a neutral manner - meaning that
>     despite what my then-employer’s position was on a particular
>     issue, it was my job to not advocate for that position and to
>     ensure that the will of the Working Group was implemented.
>  4. It was also through this work that both Cheryl and I became ideal
>     candidates to serve as the GNSO Liaison to the ODP.  We both knew
>     the work of the PDP Working Group backwards and forwards and we
>     could help answer questions by the GNSO and/or by ICANN about the
>     policies.  During the selection process I again disclosed that my
>     consulting business supported a number of clients, some of which
>     included registries and registrars.  However, I also committed to
>     serve in this role in a neutral manner and not on behalf of any
>     one of my client’s.  I further disclosed that I was not being paid
>     by any client for any work in connection with any future round of
>     new gTLDs.  That was true then and remains true today.  I believe
>     I have served in these roles in such a manner.
>  5. What I did not disclose until recently was the name of one of the
>     client’s that I am working for; namely Dot Hip Hop, LLC.  This was
>     due to the fact that Dot Hip Hop, LLC is not yet a contracted
>     party.  Dot Hip Hop, LLC is trying to get ICANN consent on an
>     assignment for the .hiphop TLD from UniRegistry Corp.  I knew that
>     once ICANN approve DHH as a contracted party, it would be at that
>     point that I needed to name the specific client because of the
>     fact that have a small de minimus ownership stake in the company.
>      [NOTE - the SOI only requires that you disclose whether you work
>     for a particular contracted party and does not require you to
>     disclose that you do work for an entity that is trying to be a
>     contracted party].  However, given the concern that YOU raised on
>     this list about not having made the update, I decided I would do
>     so (even though not required).
> Bottom line: 
> (A) what is the conflict that you believe was not disclosed or that
> the Standing Selection Committee did not know at the time they
> selected me for the position?
> (B). What I activities in serving as these liaisons can you point to
> that were in contrast to serving in an independent neutral capacity?
> If you cannot provide any back-up to these allegations and attacks, I
> ask nicely that you refrain from continued violations of ICANN’s
> Expected Rules of Behavior. I have not included the Ombudsman on this
> thread because I am optimistic that we can turn these discussions into
> productive ones on Accountability.
> Sincerely.
> Jeffrey J. Neuman
> Founder & CEO
> JJN Solutions, LLC
> Jeff at JJNSolutions.com
> +1.202.549.5079
> Http://www.jjnsolutions.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* At-Large <at-large-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org> on behalf
> of parminder via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
> *Sent:* Monday, January 3, 2022 9:23 PM
> *To:* at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org
> *Subject:* Re: [At-Large] Not my circus, not my monkeys (Was Re:
> On 04/01/22 7:19 am, Jeff Neuman via At-Large wrote:
>> With all due respect Evan, I am not sure that the comments of a few
>> people on the list during a time period when many are on vacation
>> demonstrates the views of the  the At-Large or the ALAC at all.
>>  There is likely a formal process to introduce the issue (as opposed
>> to just on a mailing list).  And I would like to use the process to
>> raise the issue.
>> If, as you contend, there is little interest, then so be it.  Then it
>> never gets addressed.  But you never know until you start the process.
>> And again with all due respect, one should never give up on making
>> the organization better even if you are frustrated by our lack of
>> success in the past.
> Yes, Jeff, Evan is trying to make the organization better --- by,
> instead of focusing on a particular grievance (whatever its merit),
> being concerned over larger, structural issues, like conflict of
> interest -- in which issue btw you seem to have little interest, and
> you present banal arguments for, like  I work in these ICANN positions
> voluntarily without any personal gain (when whether this is true or
> the opposite is true is precisely under the scanner)
> As for your response to my email expressing non confidence in your
> continuing with your ICANN positions owing to clear conflict of
> interest, i havent responded bec a response will require considerable
> time to dig into the documents you shared, and others,  and present a
> fool-proof case. I think it is the job of others here, the regular
> 'community' to sift and see through your conflict of interest
> statements, that are  prima facie so inappropriate, That is why public
> CoI statements are made, for the public, esp the closely involved
> community to inspect it, and if needed comment on it . But if people
> in these communities are more interested in mutual back-patting, and
> taking precaution that when the time comes it is not they who are
> 'exposed', then good luck to all. The organization cannot become
> better -- it is doomed ...
> parminder
>>  Giving up just doesn’t seem like the right option.
>> Sincerely,
>> Jeffrey J. Neuman
>> Founder & CEO
>> JJN Solutions, LLC
>> Jeff at JJNSolutions.com
>> +1.202.549.5079
>> Http://www.jjnsolutions.com
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *From:* Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org>
>> *Sent:* Monday, January 3, 2022 6:42:02 PM
>> *To:* Jeff Neuman <jeff at jjnsolutions.com>
>> *Cc:* Javier Rua <javrua at gmail.com>; Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond via
>> At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
>> *Subject:* Not my circus, not my monkeys (Was Re: ACCOUNTABILITY
>> Restart)
>> Hi Jeff,
>> You've asked. Nobody's shown interest. OTOH, people have been having
>> a much better time with the tangents this topic has grown. However
>> ... While I can't speak for any other readers here, my response to
>> your repeated demand for attention is one of enthusiastic indifference.
>> You don't appear to have convinced anyone that ALAC ought to fight
>> your battles. Accountability issues have plagued ICANN for decades,
>> yet you only come here when they impact one of your clients.
>> IMO, if ALAC is to address accountability, it needs to be systemic
>> and also address ICANN's massive conflict-of-interest problem. I had
>> a lot more to say about why this request bears ignoring, but I
>> deleted it. Just not worth the effort.
>> - Evan
>> On Mon, 3 Jan 2022 at 17:28, Jeff Neuman <jeff at jjnsolutions.com
>> <mailto:jeff at jjnsolutions.com>> wrote:
>>     Ok, all this has been a great discussion on Internet Governance
>>     theory, but can we bring this back to the subject at hand with
>>     respect to accountability and what practical steps we can take to
>>     address the accountability issues.  
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