Friday, 21 July 2006

Questions for the ICANN President's Strategy Committee

Both ICANN and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the USA Department of Commerce are holding public discusssions this week and next as to whether ICANN should be released from any oversight by NTIA over ICANN’s decision-making as the privatized governing body of the Internet.

Unfortunately, no one has yet proposed any meaningful alternative or successor to NTIA as an oversight body to ensure procedural due process in Internet governance.

The ICANN President’s Strategy Committee consultation is being Webcast today, and is supposed to resume at 3 p.m. (15:00) PST today; a schedule and agenda was posted less than 12 hours before the start of the meeting.

I was one of only nine people to respond to the Commitee’s request for public comments, and one of only three within the original deadline, but I wasn’t among those invited to speak to the Committee today.

You can see my comments for my responses to the Committee’s questions. But the more important questions aren’t even being asked, as I pointed out in an e-mail message today. My message, as below, was read (by whom I couldn’t tell — many of the voices were unrecognizable or entirely unintelligible on the Webcast), but so far as I could tell, no one has responded to it:

From: Edward Hasbrouck
Subject: Government oversight of ICANN process
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 10:13:29 -0700

I’ve been listening to the Webcast, and all of the discussion about government oversight thus far today has been about oversight of the substance of ICANN decisions, if the MOU were to expire or be replaced.

What, if any, government oversight of ICANN procedures do you propose?

There have been at least as many comments and criticisms related to ICANN’s procedures as to the substance of ICANN’s decisions, partiuclarly in the areas of (lack of) transparency and (lack of) oversight.

For example, there have been many complaints about closed meetings, documents and records that have not been made public, and failure to implement any mechanism for independent review of ICANN decisions.

In the absence of the MOU — which provides, at least in theory, for oversight by the government of the USA — what, if any, recourse would people have who have complaints regarding a lack of procedural due process or a lack of adherence by ICANN to its rules, bylaws, and commitments?

I urge the President’s Strategy Commitee to ask anyone advocating an end to, or an alternative to, the MOU to address this question.

Thus far, the discussion today has not addressed these issues, as raised in my comments to the President’s Strategy Committee at:


Edward Hasbrouck

NTIA’s public meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, 26 July 2006, and will be Webcast. The agenda was supposed to be posted a week in advance, but wasn’t. A preliminary agenda was posted yesterday, but the membership of the panels invited to speak has not yet been disclosed. I’ve sent written comments to NTIA as previously posted.

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 21 July 2006, 11:39 (11:39 AM)
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