[At-Large] Fwd: Advice to the Board?

Maureen Hilyard maureen.hilyard at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 23:29:02 UTC 2022

Dear At-Large Community

If you have been following the At-Large community discussion list, you will
have noted the concern that has been raised about a waiver that ICANN is
imposing on the volunteer community to provide their signature to the
document, as a prerequisite to being granted travel sponsorship to attend
F2F ICANN Meetings.

The waiver absolves ICANN of any responsibility for an ICANN
participant'sgetting ill or is harmed in any way, even if it is ICANN's
fault.  This is the core concern for us as volunteers. It is seen as an
unreasonable ask of volunteers who have always known that they have to take
responsibility for themselves not only when attending ICANN meetings, but
also when they participate in other F2F meetings and working group
activities that occur in between ICANN meetings.  We can appreciate that
ICANN needs to protect itself, but while doing so they should not abdicate
their duty of care to all those members of the ICANN community who have
dedicated many years to providing personal inputs into ICANN's important
work - to produce policy that will help to protect the DNS. It is taken for
granted that "years" is the normal measurement in time which is required to
produce  formal outputs from ICANN.

During the At-Large community discussions, a raft of reasons developed
which related to how this waiver that has been imposed as a pre-requisite
to any travel support, impacts volunteer communities throughout ICANN.
These reasons were noted and transformed into a list of 10 reasons why the
waiver is not one of the best decisions that has come out of ICANN - more
especially because it did not adhere to one of its core principles "the
bottom-up, multistakeholder model".

I have called the ALAC members together to make a decision about the waiver
(the invitations for them to do so is below) to seek their support for "*the
waiver and the expectation that it is signed before any travel sponsorship
is provided, to be withdrawn*"  Although we have to consider that this
course of action may not be actionable before ICANN74, we would ultimately
like to return to what was the practice of the past when the community was
trusted. We have always known that we were attending ICANN meetings at our
own risk and would not have earlier contemplated taking action against
ICANN for any illness or harm that might befall us if it was the fault of
the individual during an ICANN meeting. There was also some need to address
the section that had been identified as a key sticking point "*I knowingly
and freely assume all risks related to illness and infectious diseases,
including but not limited to COVID-19, even if arising from the negligence
or fault of ICANN "*

I already have a majority of the ALAC members who have immediately added
their support to my request to submit Marita's 10 reasons why the waivers
should be removed, *as the basis of our Advice to the Board that the waiver
be withdrawn*. In case they are otherwise engaged, other ALAC members still
have a bit of time to respond (by Sunday 1 May 23.59utc) before the request
is formally submitted as ALAC advice to the Board.

*Although many of our community already participated earlier, I would hope
that others in our At-Large community will also support this request.
Please let me know if you would like to add your name to our letter of
Advice to the Board.*


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Maureen Hilyard <maureen.hilyard at gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 29, 2022 at 11:14 PM
Subject: Advice to the Board?
To: ALAC Members <ALAC-members at icann.org>

Dear ALAC members

It has been suggested that we propose Marita's email to the community as
ADVICE to the Board of the community's feelings about the waiver, so that
the Board has to officially respond.

Earlier messages of concern about other issues about volunteer support have
only been noted because they were not formal advice, even though they
reflected many discussions by the At-Large community, particularly during
the pandemic.

If you have any concerns about this summary list, please let me know before
Sunday 23.59UTC.  I think it is an important issue and that we need to make
sure that it is given the consideration that it deserves. I realise that
any change may not happen for ICANN74 but if can address these issues for
future meetings we will have achieved something at least.

I look forward to a yay or nay from members about sending this as advice.

Marita Moll via At-Large
2:32 AM (20 hours ago)
to At

With apologies to former late show host David Letterman and thanks to all
those who provided input, here are my top 10 reasons why this waiver is a
bad idea for ICANN and for the community:

10. It is insensitive to the global community as it can be interpreted as
an exportation of U.S.-based litigious culture

9. It disregards the fact that participants at ICANN meetings have always
willingly and knowingly accepted personal responsibility for health issues
that arise during meetings

8. It is a disincentive to attending ICANN meetings in person, thereby
damaging the ability of the community to work together

7. Concerns which have arisen throughout the community about the broad
scope of the waiver are not being addressed – including legal opinions
warning potential participants against signing.

6. No one is taking ownership of this waiver. The Board position on it is

5. There has been no general explanation to the community or any attempt
seek buy-in for this waiver

4. This kind of blanket waiver could be unenforceable and in that case,
serves only as intimidation

3. The waiver infringes on individual rights

2. ICANN appears to be abandoning its duty of care to the participating
community who are voluntarily contributing their time and energy to
fulfilling ICANN's mandate to operate as a bottom-up multistakeholder

*Top reason why this waiver is a really bad idea:*

*1. It leaves a lasting unpleasant taste in the mouths of participants
contributing to ICANN's multistakeholder model -- which is presented as a
source of pride and accomplishment to the internet governance community.*

Marita (now signing off on this topic -- thanks for bearing with me)
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