Monday, 5 December 2005

Statement to the ICANN Board of Directors

I'm not sure whether it was the tipping point in ICANN's agreement the next morning to allow an independent review of the lack of transparency in their decision to create a .travel top-level Internet domain name, but the following was my statement to ICANN's Board of Directors at their absurdly brief public comment forum Saturday in Vancouver, as taken from the real-time captioning of the meeting:

>>VINT CERF: THANK YOU FOR A CONCRETE RECOMMENDATION.

MR. HASBROUCK.

>>ED HASBROUCK: MY NAME IS EDWARD HASBROUCK, AND I HAVE A VERY CONCRETE RECOMMENDATION AND DEMAND THAT THIS BOARD PROMPTLY, THAT IS, AT YOUR MEETING TOMORROW, REFER MY OUTSTANDING INDEPENDENT REVIEW REQUEST TO AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL CHARGED WITH DETERMINING WHETHER ICANN'S DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ON DOT TRAVEL COMPLIED WITH ICANN'S TRANSPARENCY BYLAW , AND THAT ICANN STAY ITS DECISION ON DOT TRAVEL PENDING RECEIPT OF THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL ON MY REQUEST.

I THINK THERE'S BEEN A GREAT DEAL OF CONFUSION ABOUT THIS REQUEST.

I'M A TRAVEL JOURNALIST, AND I HAVE TRIED TO THE BEST OF MY PROFESSIONAL ABILITY TO REPORT ON ISSUES RELATED TO THE INTERNET AND TRAVEL, WHICH IS THE FOCUS OF ONE OF MY BOOKS AND A MAJOR TOPIC OF MY WRITING ONLINE.

I'VE REPORTED ON A LOT OF OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS , NOT LEAST, "WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IATA AND TRALLIANCE?", AND "WHY WAS THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE INDEPENDENT EVALUATORS OVERRULED?"

BUT [IF SOME OF THOSE] QUESTIONS REMAIN UNANSWERED AND I HAVE BEEN FORCED TO RELY ON THE SOURCES I HAVE, THAT'S LARGELY BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY THAT'S DENIED ME ACCESS TO THE PRIMARY SOURCES, DENIED ME OPPORTUNITY TO [BE AT] THE MEETINGS AT WHICH DECISIONS WERE MADE AND TO LOOK AT THE DOCUMENTS THAT WERE REVIEWED BY ICANN ITSELF.

MY -- THE SUBJECT OF THIS REQUEST IS NOT TO ASK WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH WHAT I'VE WRITTEN.

IT IS NOT TO ASK THAT ICANN RECONSIDER ANY OF THE SUBSTANTIVE GROUNDS FOR ITS DECISION ON DOT TRAVEL.

IT IS NOT TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOU BELIEVE THAT ICANN SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT MAKE DECISIONS TRANSPARENTLY.

IF YOU BELIEVE THAT ICANN SHOULDN'T MAKE DECISIONS TRANSPARENTLY, MAKE A PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE TRANSPARENCY BYLAW.

IT IS NOT ASKING WHAT IS YOUR OPINION AS TO WHETHER ICANN ACTED TRANSPARENTLY.

INDEPENDENT REVIEW IS AVAILABLE ONLY WHERE SOMEONE ALLEGES THAT ICANN HAS NOT FOLLOWED ITS BYLAWS.

IT STANDS TO REASON THAT IN MOST SUCH CASES, ICANN WILL BELIEVE THAT IT HAD ACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BYLAWS.

THAT IN NO WAY GIVES YOU THE RIGHT NOT TO REFER THE REQUEST TO AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL.

IF YOU BELIEVE THAT I'M WRONG AND THAT YOU ACTED PROPERLY, REFER THE REQUEST TO AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL.

IT WILL UPHOLD YOUR DECISION AND I'LL HAVE TO PAY FOR THE ARBITRATION.

I'M HERE AT MY OWN EXPENSE, TREMBLING WITH FEAR THAT ICANN IS GOING TO TRY TO FIND SOME WAY TO DRIVE UP THE COSTS OF THE ARBITRATION TO BANKRUPT ME.

AT THE SAME TIME, I'M FULLY AWARE OF THE RISK I'M TAKING, AND IT'S NOT FOR YOU TO DECIDE WHETHER I SHOULD TAKE THAT RISK.

AGAIN, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF OFF-TOPIC DISCUSSION.

I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS IS GOING TO COST.

I HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY ASKING SINCE MAY FOR A COPY OF ICANN'S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ON INDEPENDENT REVIEW, IF THERE ARE ANY.

THE BYLAW SAYS "ICANN SHALL HAVE IN PLACE POLICIES FOR INDEPENDENT REVIEW," CLEARLY CONTEMPLATING THE EXISTENCE OF POLICIES ADDITIONAL TO THE BYLAW ITSELF.

I HAVE NOT RECEIVED THEM.

I AM STILL WAITING FOR THEM.

THE LAST COMMUNICATION, AFTER A VERY DESULTORY EXCHANGE OF E-MAILS -- EXCERPTS OF WHICH WERE PUBLISHED BY ICANN, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM, INCLUDING BIZARRE CLAIMS TO THINK I HAD GIVEN UP MY REQUEST -- THE LAST OF THOSE WAS A MESSAGE SAYING THAT ICANN WAS RESEARCHING AND REVIEWING MY REQUESTS AND WOULD GET BACK TO ME.

I'M STILL WAITING, EIGHT MONTHS LATER.

AND IF ICANN TAKES NO ACTION ON THIS REQUEST, I THINK IT WILL BE APPARENT TO THE WORLD THAT CONTRARY TO YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AS OFFICERS OF A CORPORATION WHOSE BYLAWS PROVIDE FOR INDEPENDENT REVIEW AND CONTRARY TO YOUR CONTRACTUAL COMMITMENTS TO PROVIDE FOR IT, ICANN DOES NOT, IN FACT, HAVE AN OVERSIGHT PROCESS.

SO I URGE YOU TO PROVE THAT YOU DO BY VOTING TOMORROW TO REFER MY REQUEST TO AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL AND TO STAY THAT REQUEST TO AFFORD THE PANEL THE AUTHORITY IT IS GUARANTEED BY THE BYLAWS TO MAKE A -- A MEANINGFUL RECOMMENDATION FOR A STAY PENDING INDEPENDENT REVIEW.

THANK YOU.

>>VINT CERF: MR. HASBROUCK, GENERAL COUNSEL IS PREPARED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH THE DETAILS OF HOW TO GO ABOUT THIS PROCEDURE.

>>ED HASBROUCK: WHEN?

>>VINT CERF: JJ?

I ASSUME WITHIN THE WEEK, IF NOT TOMORROW MORNING.

>>ED HASBROUCK: I WILL BE HERE TOMORROW.

WHERE IS HE?

I'D LIKE TO MEET HIM.

LET'S GET ON WITH THIS DISCUSSION.

>>VINT CERF: OKAY.

CAN WE -- CAN WE MOVE ON, MR. HASBROUCK?

>>ED HASBROUCK: ARE YOU AGREEING THAT YOU WILL TAKE ACTION?

>>VINT CERF: MR. HASBROUCK, WHAT I HAVE JUST SAID IS THAT THE GENERAL COUNSEL WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH DETAILS OF HOW TO INITIATE YOUR ACTION.

>>ED HASBROUCK: I AM STILL WAITING.

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 5 December 2005, 20:35 ( 8:35 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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