[At-Large] ICANN75: Mandatory Funded Traveler Registration for Roberto Gaetano

Marita Moll mmoll at ca.inter.net
Tue Jul 26 15:14:14 UTC 2022

Evan, I have spent many years tilting at windmills, working for change 
that I thought was worth my effort. Did it ever make a difference? 
Sometimes, a little bit. But never a lot and never quickly. My 
expectations are low. My hero, the late Canadian feminist and peace 
activist Ursula Franklin, had a theory that it took many years of 
preparing the ground before real change happens. We may actually no 
longer even be there when it actually happens.

And so it is with ICANN. It exists -- a unique multistakeholder 
governance system. Lots of things wrong with it. But it exists. So, for 
those who want to, they can keep working at it, keep looking for 
improvement, keep challenging the system. There is no question that it 
is at the center of a piece of worldwide infrastructure (the internet) 
which has, in a few sort years, become essential. And there actually is 
an enduser stakeholder group here. I still find that amazing. To me, at 
the moment, ICANN seems a valuable experiment and I want it to evolve, 
to get better at being what it claims to be -- a multistakeholder 
governance system.

All this idealism but I still hate the waiver. May the force be with you 
(with us) 😁


On 2022-07-25 3:01 p.m., Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> Hi Marita,
>     Does ICANN need us there, or not?
> This 'box of questions'  has been laying open in plain sight for a 
> very long time. It's just that nobody seeks it until it becomes 
> relevant -- like now -- only for it to be forgotten again as time 
> passes. Inertia is strong.
> At my first ICANN meeting a former Board member took me aside and 
> asked if I was out of my mind. That person accused me of helping give 
> oxygen to what they considered a public relations facade (ALAC), a 
> poor substitute for public Board elections which had been eliminated 
> because it was discovered that the "wrong people" might get elected. 
> (The circumstances surrounding that chain of events can be much better 
> explained by Karl than by me.)
> I had originally scoffed at that former Board member, believing that 
> ALAC could be a true force for good within ICANN, so here I was. Well, 
> during my decade or so of intense service to both NARALO and ALAC I 
> discovered that box of questions. The answers I found led me to 
> withdraw to my current status of occasionally launching spitballs from 
> the back of the virtual meeting room.
> I'll try to summarize my thoughts, which will be difficult because 
> brevity must reduce context. But in my observation ICANN hosts three 
> very distinct sets of volunteers, and its level of need/want for each 
> of them varies greatly:
>  1. The technical volunteers, those who fill the RSAC and SSAC and
>     give other feedback on the actual operations of the DNS. They are
>     cherished and ICANN cannot do without them. Whether they are
>     treated accordingly is another matter.
>  2. The self-interested volunteers. These folks are paid by their
>     employers, or they might be self-employed, because things that
>     ICANN does affects their profitability, clients' rights,
>     desirability as a consultant, or some other regulatory-ish issue
>     important to them. They tend to be self-supporting, and because of
>     the nature of their work they are very well-versed on ICANN's
>     culture and both its written and unwritten rules. ICANN may not
>     like all of these parties but also cannot do without them, because
>     they collectively make up the engine that provides both ICANN's
>     revenue and its authority. CcTLDs are a special subset; ICANN
>     doesn't _need_ them but they've really good to have onboard as
>     they may provide revenue and technical expertise.
>  3. Everyone else: GAC, ALAC, the shreds of the GNSO that aren't
>     self-interested, etc. ICANN does not want them; collectively they
>     are a nuisance that gets in the way of what staff and the
>     self-interested want to do. When they demand travel funding in
>     order to engage in such disruption they also become an expense to
>     be minimized. ICANN needs them only to the extent that they
>     publicly legitimize the cult of multistakeholderism. ICANN
>     indulges their little outreach and inclusion activities, and it
>     lets them make adjustments to the detailed minutiae of policy, so
>     long as they serve the cult, but  don't actually engage in
>     anything that challenges the authority or direction of ICANN
>     senior staff and the self-interested entities that finance them.
>     If everyone in this group disappeared tomorrow, ICANN would take a
>     credibility hit but functionally it wouldn't be disrupted at all;
>     that can't be said of the two other volunteer groups.
> The current iteration of impositions and restrictions on volunteers in 
> that third group is nothing new, ALAC and others have forever been 
> treated as a nuisance, forever having to beg for the ability to be 
> treated with basic dignity. Threat of withholding of (and restrictions 
> on) funding has long had a chilling effect on ALAC's ability to 
> advance any grand user-focused ideas that confront the Way Things Are. 
> It could not be more clear that the consequences are very much 
> intended. And it's not just travel.
> So ... Marita, welcome to the box. It's definitely not new, the 
> questions really haven't changed since I last saw them, and maybe not 
> even since that former Board member revealed them. But just be sure 
> that you really want to know the answers, many here don't.
> - Evan
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