2014-10-15

ICANN 51: GAC Actions Show Global Internet Community Ready

ICANN 51, Los Angeles, October 14, 2014: The global internet community was given two hopeful signs for the future of internet governance today thanks to actions by member nations of the GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee):

1. The GAC elected as its next Chair, Thomas Schneider--"GAC Chair election results are in: 37 votes for Imad Hoballah of Lebanon, and 61 votes to Thomas Schneider of Switzerland"--this is great news! Mr. Schneider has impressive credentials:

Internet Governance Forum: "Thomas Schneider is the deputy head of the international affairs service and the international information society coordinator at the Swiss Federal Office of Communication (OFCOM) in the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). He is an expert in internet governance and in the governance of the information society, in particular media/new media regulation, human rights and consumer protection. He is coordinating the Swiss activities with regard to the implementation and follow-up of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and is representing Switzerland in a number of international fora (UN, ITU, ICANN/GAC, Council of Europe, OSCE, UNESCO, etc.)... He is representing Switzerland in the ITU Council Working Group on WSIS (since 2005) and has been co-chairing the ITU Council Working Group on Stakeholder Participation in ITU's activities related to WSIS (2006-2010). From 2003-2005, he was coordinating all Swiss activities in both phases of WSI (Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005) ... including the Swiss hosting of the first phase of WSIS in Geneva. He was representing Switzerland in the Bureau of the WSIS for the second phase of WSIS (Tunis 2005)...."

2. The ICANN Board of Directors also met with the GAC on Tuesday and member nations indicated that the global Internet community was not necessarily bound by the ICANN Board nor preconditions of the U.S. Government in determining the future governance of the global Internet DNS by the global Internet community:

Excerpts from the transcript of the Joint Meeting of the GAC & ICANN Board | ICANN51 | Los Angeles: Date: Tue, 14 October 2014 - 17:00 to 18:30 PDT

CHAIR DRYDEN: NEXT.
CHINA: ... I WOULD LIKE TO SAY BRAZILIAN AND INDIAN REPRESENTATIVES HAVE RAISED THE QUESTION. WE THINK THIS QUESTION IS VERY IMPORTANT. WE ARE ALSO PAYING A LOT OF ATTENTION TO IT. OUR QUESTION IS ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE OF ICANN.... 

IRAN: ....WE NEED ... TO CONCENTRATE MORE ON THE ACCOUNTABILITY PROCESS.... THE WAY THAT THE ISSUE OF ACCOUNTABILITY ALONG THE LINE OF WHAT WAS SAID BY BRAZIL AND IN PARTICULAR ALSO THE ISSUE RAISED BY PORTUGAL ...ACCOUNTABILITY WHICH IS THE ISSUE RAISED BY BRAZIL AND PARTLY BY INDONESIA AND PORTUGAL AND OTHER COLLEAGUES.... WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ACCOUNTABILITY, WHICH RELATES TO THE ACTIVITY OF THE ICANN SHOULD BE GIVEN THE ICANN. SHOULD BE ANOTHER ENTITY WHO DEALS WITH THAT AND ICANN SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE TO THAT ENTITY WHATEVER THAT ENTITY SHOULD BE. FOR THE TIME BEING THAT ISSUE IS NOT CLEAR AND WE DON'T KNOW HOW THE MATTER IS GOING TO BE DONE. THEREFORE, WE BELIEVE THAT THE REVIEW OF THE WHOLE PROCESS THAT NOW ANNOUNCED BY ICANN THREE DAYS AGO NEEDS TO BE FURTHER TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF THE COMMENTS THAT HAS BEEN MENTIONED AT THIS MEETING BY VARIOUS COLLEAGUES AND TRY TO HAVE AN APPROACH WHICH WORKS AND WHICH HAS SOME RESULTS. OTHERWISE, I DON'T THINK THAT WE WILL HAVE A PROPER ACTIVITIES ON ACCOUNTABILITY. THIS IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ACTIVITY OF THE TRANSITION OF IANA FUNCTION. ACCOUNTABILITY IS THE CORE ACTION, IS THE HEART OF THE BUSINESS AND NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED. AND UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES IT SEEMS THAT THERE IS SOME SORT OF RELUCTANCY NOT TO LISTEN TO WHAT WE ARE SAYING. NOT LISTEN TO WHAT WE EXPRESS AS A CONCERN AND WE HOPE THIS TIME THAT WE WILL BE HEARD AND WE WILL BE -- OUR POINT OF VIEW WILL BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. THANK YOU.

CHAIR DRYDEN: THANK YOU, IRAN. IN RESPONSE TO CHINA'S INTERVENTION, I BELIEVE [ICANN CEO] FADI CHEHADE WOULD LIKE TO PROVIDE A REPLY.

FADI CHEHADE: ...LET ME START WITH THE ACCOUNTABILITY... I THINK IT'S EXTREMELY CLEAR FROM THE NEW DOCUMENT THAT WE ISSUED A FEW DAYS AGO ON THE ACCOUNTABILITY THAT EVERYTHING IS IN SCOPE. SO LET'S BE VERY CLEAR. THERE IS NOTHING OUT OF SCOPE... IN ISTANBUL ASSISTANT SECRETARY STRICKLING WAS ONCE AGAIN CRYSTAL CLEAR. HE WILL NOT ACCEPT A PROPOSAL OF TRANSITION WITHOUT COMMUNITY CONSENSUS ON ACCOUNTABILITY RELATING TO THE TRANSITION. HE LINKED THEM COMPLETELY... INDONESIA, I THINK YOU MEANT THEIR [Verisign's] ROLE AS THE ROOT ZONE MAINTAINER....WE'RE NOT GOING TO MOVE UNTIL THE COMMUNITY TELLS US WHAT IS THE MODEL OF THE FUTURE.... CHINA ASKED ABOUT NETmundial. WHAT IS NEXT... THE COMMUNITY IS STILL DISCUSSING THESE THINGS.... TO IRAN... THE GENTLEMAN WAS SAYING, WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO ANOTHER ENTITY. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WAS VERY CLEAR THAT OUR ACCOUNTABILITY IS TO THE MULTISTAKEHOLDER COMMUNITY. IT IS NOT GOING TO BE TO A GOVERNMENT. IT IS NOT GOING TO BE TO AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT. THESE ARE THE CONDITIONS THAT THE AMERICANS HAVE SET. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. SO IF WE'RE GOING TO CREATE ANOTHER ENTITY, IT CANNOT BE AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL ENTITY. AND AS SOME PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED ...

BRAZIL: THANK YOU, CHAIR. AND I'D LIKE TO THANK FADI FOR HIS COMMENTS. BUT I THINK IN HIS COMMENTS HE HAS JUST MADE CLEAR THE DIFFERENCES WE HAVE IN APPROACH TO THIS BECAUSE WE CAN SEE AND UNDERSTAND THIS TRANSITION PROCESS AS YOU HAVE SPELLED OUT THAT THE PROPOSAL BY SEPTEMBER 15 WILL INCLUDE ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES IN REGARD TO THE IANA TRANSITION. AND YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS THE APPROACH WE WILL TAKE AND SECRETARY STRICKLING HAS PROPOSED, BUT WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO YOUR APPROACH AND TO THE U.S. APPROACH, THE APPROACH THAT MY GOVERNMENT WANTS TO TAKE BEGS TO DIFFER AND TO SAY THAT WE THINK ACCOUNTABILITY SHOULD BE MORE ENCOMPASSING THAN THAT. THAT SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE OTHER MEASURES THAT WOULD ALSO CHANGE THE NATURE OF THIS EXERCISE... SO WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT THOSE PROCESSES CONVERGE... WE, IN PRINCIPLE, DO NOT THINK IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO HAVE A VERY NARROWLY FOCUSED UNDERSTANDING THAT ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES WILL BE INCLUDED BY SEPTEMBER 15 WILL BE LIMITED TO THE IANA FUNCTIONS. WE THINK THAT WOULD BE -- INSUFFICIENT. INSUFFICIENT. AND IN REGARD TO THE SEPTEMBER 2015 DEADLINE, WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED TO THIS. WE -- SOMETIMES WE SAY WE SET ARTIFICIAL DEADLINE BUT I DON'T THINK THIS IS AN ARTIFICIAL DEADLINE. IT IS SOMETHING LINKED TO A VERY CONCRETE THING. BUT WE WOULD PREFER TO HAVE A GOOD AGREEMENT THAN A BAD AGREEMENT JUST TO COMPLY WITH THE DEADLINE. SO WE ARE FULLY BEHIND AND FULLY ENGAGED BUT WE WOULD LIKE REALLY TO GO AN EXTRA MILE IN MAKING ALL THE EFFORTS WE CAN TO ADDRESS IN LINE WITH WHAT NETmundial SAID. THE (INDISCERNIBLE) THAT ADDRESSES THE BOTH INTERNAL AND THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY INCLUDING GOVERNMENTS. THANK YOU.

CHAIR DRYDEN: THANK YOU, BRAZIL.

My reading of all this: The global internet community is starting to reach consensus--

1) Neither the US government nor the ICANN Board can control nor predetermine the outcome of these processes. Nobody elected Larry Strickling (nor anyone else) the world's dictator over how the global internet, including DNS, is to be governed. Frankly, the arrogance and presumption of the US government and its progeny (ICANN) is becoming obnoxious.  ICANN (including its IANA and accountability groups) may not be the proper fora to continue or conclude this work;

2) Accountability is the most important issue and should be dealt with first--it will determine "the model for the future" as Chehade described it, and from that, how the IANA functions (including root zone) stewardship should be structured;

3) US government representative Larry Strickling's suggested two track accountability process is a trap set by incumbents (US government, ICANN Board, etc.) to maintain the status quo;

4) The idea that ICANN can be accountable to itself is increasingly ludicrous to the vast majority of the world--a California corporation, with no membership, and a self-selected Board of Directors, accountable only to itself, in control of the global Internet DNS, including the Internet Root Zone? The US government needs to change its attitude and approach, or it will become increasingly isolated in the world. See: ICANN, IANA, US Government, Internet Stewardship

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo




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