[At-Large] ACCOUNTABILITY Restart - Was Re: ICANN Accountability Mechanisms

Carlton Samuels carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Tue Jan 4 16:40:02 UTC 2022

I really don't understand why a duty of the Board delegated to staff would
inoculate it from the constraints in byelaw or shield it from constraining
counteractions envisioned by those byelaws.  The rule of agency should

An example from the edge of empire where the rules are largely from the
same root as the governance framework that corrals the ICANN board would
probably best explain my puzzle. I chair a school board. The regulations -
analogous to the bye-laws - allow the delegation of duties to which the
board is obligated by an affirmative resolution of the board to the
administration of the school. We delegated the hiring and operational
supervision of teachers to the administration. Professional misconduct is
alleged by a teacher hired by the administration. We are obliged to endorse
and/or direct any lawful countervailing action by the administration. But
for the law and oversight education ministry, it is the Board that is
accountable and is constrained to act as the regulations determine.
Everybody comes to the Board, not the hirelings.

It seems to me that all the ICANN Board needs to do is to acknowledge that
any obligation of the Board that was delegated by an affirmative resolution
is and remains an obligation of the Board and the attendant instruments are
neither unmoored or marooned by delegation. Because anything otherwise
would be a way of evading, indeed nullify, every duty and obligation to
which it is obligated.  You are alleging that it has relieved itself of
responsibility - and accountability! - by hiding behind the delegation.
That, if so, would be an example of the kind of behavior the Empowered
Community should have a stake in correcting.  I'm wondering whether you
called on the GNSO and CCNSO to take this into consideration?

*Carlton A Samuels*

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

On Mon, Jan 3, 2022 at 5:28 PM Jeff Neuman via At-Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> 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.
> What steps do we need to do to formally introduce this issue into the
> At-large and get addressed by the ALAC?
> ________________________________________
> The two issues are as follows:
>    1.  Urgent Requests for Reconsideration and closing unintended
>    loopholes; and
>    2. Extending Whistleblowing Claims to allow community members to file
>    claims (not just employees).
>    - With respect to #1, as Reconsideration Request 21-3 has shown,
>       although there is a process for the Urgent Consideration of Reconsideration
>       Requests in the Bylaws, that provision, which was not changed as a result
>       of the IANA transition, is no longer fit for purpose.
> Let me explain:
> A)  The ICANN Bylaws allow the filing of Reconsideration Requests as a
> result of either board action or inaction, or for Staff action or
> inaction.  Prior to the transition, the Bylaws states that Reconsideration
> requests could be filed for ICANN action or inaction.  The CCWG and
> Accountability teams in 2014-2016 believed that “ICANN action or inaction”
> meant either ICANN Board or ICANN staff action or inaction.
> B). However, Although most of Reconsideration Request section in the
> Bylaws was heavily modified during the CCWG process, the community
> inadvertently never amended the process for Urgent Reconsideration
> Requests. Not sure why that was.
> C). The CCWG wanted to make sure it was clear that Reconsideration
> Requests in general was not just for ICANN Board action or inaction, but
> also for ICANN Org’s action or inaction.
> D). So although Reconsideration Requests now apply to staff
> actions/inactions, the Urgent Requests section (because the wording was not
> changed - or because ICANN staff deliberately did not want urgent requests
> to apply to it), Urgent Reconsideration requests now has been interpreted
> to apply only to Board Action or Inaction.  I do NOT believe this was
> intended.  But even if it were, it is time to change that.
> WHY?
> So, in order to file an Urgent Request for Reconsideration, the Bylaws
> state that it must be filed within 2 days after a Board Resolution.
>    1.  Because Staff action (or inaction) is generally not in response to
>    an ICANN Board Resolution, because there is no ICANN Board resolution, you
>    you cannot file an urgent request. [This is why Reconsideration Request
>    21-3 failed to be treated as “Urgent”]
>    2. In addition, it is also likely that Urgent Requests for
>    Reconsideration for Board inaction will also not succeed.  Think of the
>    most common case where the community needed the Board to pass a resolution
>    on something, but they failed to do so.  If you wanted to challenge that on
>    an urgent basis, you could not because the Board inaction is the failure to
>    pass a resolution.  And since there was no resolution, you cannot file an
>    urgent request.
> After the transition was approved, in late 2016, the ICANN Board passed a
> resolution to approve a new delegation of authority policy (See
> https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/delegation-of-authority-guidelines-08nov16-en.pdf).
>  That policy allows the ICANN Board to delegate certain responsibilities
> that it has to ICANN staff without the need for the Board to pass a
> resolution.
> ICANN Org legitimately stated this was needed especially where now you
> have 1200+ TLDs, Registry Services requests, amendments, etc.  If every
> modification required a Board Resolution this would be too much of a burden
> for the ICANN Board.
> But under the law of unintended consequences, any decision the ICANN Board
> delegates to the ICANN staff may now never be the subject of an Urgent
> Request for Reconsideration.   What if, for example, the ICANN Board states
> that once it passes the new gTLD Program for subsequent rounds, ICANN staff
> had the sole discretion (without Board approval) to implement every aspect
> of the program including setting the fees, and resolving any and all
> remaining items.  And lets say ICANN staff (without a Board Resolution)
> states a few days before opening the window, that no entity may apply for a
> gTLD if it already has 10,000 names under management combined with respect
> to any TLDs for which it is a registry operator, back-end registry operator
> or DNS provider.
> If this doers not require a Board Resolution, you cannot oppose this new
> policy via an Urgent Reconsideration Request because there was no
> resolution.
> Between the inability to challenge staff action or inaction urgently, or
> even Board inaction urgently, combined with the ability of the Board to
> delegate important items to staff without a resolution, the Urgent
> Reconsideration Request has been gutted.
>    - *Whisteblowing and Retaliation.* My article in CircleID (
>    https://circleid.com/posts/20211230-icannas-accountability-mechanisms-in-name-only
>    ) goes into some more detail on this, but in 2016 ICANN hired an
>    outside firm to review its Whisteblower policies.  That firm made a
>    recommendation to ICANN that it consider revising its Whistleblowing policies
>    to allow the filing of complaints by parties other than employees because
>    they were worried about community members filing complaints against ICANN
>    and having no protection from retaliation.  This would of course
>    disincentive anyone from raising issues if they saw that ICANN were
>    violating its bylaws.
> ICANN responded to that report by stating that the community would
> consider it as part of Work Stream 2….but somehow that never happened.
> And now we have an example of a party filing a complaint against ICANN and
> being retaliated against for having done so. The community needs to take
> this issue up as was recommended by the outside group to reviewed ICANN’s
> Whistleblower policies
> These are what need to be addressed.
> 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
> Evan Leibovitch via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
> *Sent:* Monday, January 3, 2022 11:08:25 AM
> *To:* Javier Rua <javrua at gmail.com>
> *Cc:* Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond via At-Large <
> at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
> *Subject:* Re: [At-Large] ICANN Accountability Mechanisms
> On Mon, 3 Jan 2022 at 07:15, Javier Rua via At-Large <
> at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> wrote:
> Thx @OCL.  I resolve to stop using the word “multistakeholderism”!
> I will defend the term, and continue to use it based on my personal
> understanding which I believe is sensible and easily understandable.
> To me, multistakeholderism ("m17m"*) is a political philosophy that all
> parties affected by a governance process ought to have a voice in that
> process, distinct from democracy in that it seeks a balance between
> populism and technical expertise.
> There are multiple implementations of m17m, many here have experienced a
> few, I offer some examples:
>    - ICANN's of course
>    - American political town halls
>    - The Netmundial conference in São Paulo
>    - IETF, complete with humming-based decision-making
>    - ISO and many standards-making bodies
> Some are better than others, and some (most?) only present a facade of
> broad participation layered over a real process controlled by insiders. But
> as an aspirational approach to governance, to me true m17m is worth
> pursuing.
> - Evan
> (*) - I use m17m for "multistakeholderism" much like i18n
> <https://lingoport.com/what-is-i18n/> is used as an abbreviation for
> "internationalisation", and I'm lazy when I type. The abbreviation MSM
> (MultiStakeholder Model) to me means something different, the specific form
> of m17m used by ICANN which has essentially appropriated the term.
> _______________________________________________
> At-Large mailing list
> At-Large at atlarge-lists.icann.org
> https://atlarge-lists.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/at-large
> At-Large Official Site: http://atlarge.icann.org
> _______________________________________________
> By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your
> personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance
> with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and
> the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can
> visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or
> configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or
> disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://atlarge-lists.icann.org/pipermail/at-large/attachments/20220104/32b5e7e8/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the At-Large mailing list