2015-01-07

Is ICANN Sabotaging the Accountability and IANA Transition Processes?

ICANN website screenshot
Hard to find: CWG / IANA transition info is on "Dashboard" under "GNSO" tab (yellow circle) but "Dashboard" is called "Community Wiki" on ICANN homepage (see top) and "Dashboard" link is a dead page


"... This [CWG] breakneck quest is being undertaken to meet a target submission deadline of January 15th for delivering a final proposal to the ICG. In one striking development, ICANN Board Chairman Steve Crocker has weighed in with multiple e-mails questioning the survey's statistical validity and the core elements of the proposal it is seeking to refine, resulting in turn in some CWG members questioning whether such intervention constitutes an attempt at undue influence.... Good people and intentions are being undermined by a badly flawed process. ICANN's Board wants to see the IANA transition take place by September 2015 and to avoid any extension of the current contract's term by the NTIA, and it is actively communicating to (and some would say seeking to unduly influence) the CWG to revise its current plan and steer it in the direction of the "internal solution" that awards it the IANA functions permanently without any counterparty or contract rebid potential..." (emphasis added) source: Haste Makes Waste: Comments on ICANN CWG IANA Transition Proposal Indicate Serious Process Problems by Philip S. Corwin

Quick, can anybody explain the difference between the CWG and CCWG, and what do either have to do with ICANN accountability or the IANA stewardship transition processes?

Don't go looking on icann.org for a clear, current, directory to all of the on-going processes at ICANN about "accountability" (at least 3 different processes are ongoing simultaneously on "accountability") or the "IANA stewardship transition"--if you go to the "calendar" it looks completely empty and yet there are on-going meetings and activities (if you know where to look). In other words, the ICANN accountability and IANA stewardship transition processes probably look FUBAR to the general public--maybe everybody at ICANN has been too busy working on the new website of another internet organization--the NETmundial Initiative (astroturfed with ICANN money)--to be bothered with updating the ICANN website with current and easily found information concerning the future governance of the Internet DNS. Anyway, here's a rough directory of sorts to ICANN accountability and IANA transition processes--no promises as to accuracy or completeness--but hopefully it will lead you in the right direction:

ICANN Dashboard--this is where a "lot of stuff" at ICANN is "buried"--no "quicklink" from the ICANN homepage--in fact, the link in the footer at the bottom of ICANN's homepage which says "Dashboard" will lead you to a dead page of something else altogether. However if you find "Community Wiki" on the ICANN homepage, click it and you will go to the page called "Dashboard" (see screenshot above). Then go to the "GNSO tab" to find (if you are lucky) info re: the CWG and its documents, e.g., a survey (pdf) being taken of CWG "members and participants:"
"This survey is based on suggestions from the public comments, as well as additional, related questions. The goal is to get a high level sense of the views of CWG participants (i.e., Members and Participants) regarding these suggestions prior to the intensive work weekend on 10-­11 January. To the extent possible, Members should make choices that they believe reflect the views of the group they represent; when that is not possible, they should express their personal opinion. (We assume that Members may not have time to go back to their respective groups in a timely fashion; there will be an opportunity for that later, as [meaning "after"?] we develop the final proposal.)..." 
It's pretty clear from the above that the CWG is succumbing to "deadline dysfunctionality" imposed by ICANN and the ICG, increasing the chances for a very poor result from the overall IANA stewardship transition process. Ironically, ICANN's intention for a short deadline in order to get the result it preferred, may have in fact backfired into the complex solution proposed in the CWG draft proposal.

If you have any further interest in following the IANA transition or ICANN accountability processes, here are some other links that may be helpful:

Cross-Community Working Group on Internet Governance (CCWG-IG)

CCWG on Enhancing ICANN Accountability - Enhancing ICANN Accountability 

IANA Stewardship Transition
ICG handed off "the work" to a) naming, b) protocols and c) numbers
Resources - ICANN
CWG Naming: CWG to Develop an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal on Naming Related Functions - CWG on Stewardship Transition - Confluence

see also: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/accountability-2012-02-25-en

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