2015-04-22

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, Post Senate Hearing Questions, Answers

Post-hearing Questions and Answers by Fadi Chehade, ICANN President and CEO, US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance,” February 25, 2015 (excerpts below, emphasis added):

Question: Many in the United States fear that once the current relationship with the U.S. government ends that ICANN will seek to move its headquarters to another jurisdiction under pressure from foreign governments – one not subject to 1st Amendment Rights. Such a move would be exceptionally destabilizing to Internet governance, and would pose a serious threat to free speech. Can you pledge that ICANN will remain incorporated in the United States?

Answer: As noted in my response to Chairman Thune’s first question for the record, the Affirmation of Commitments that ICANN holds with the United States Department of Commerce includes a commitment that ICANN will remain headquartered in the United States. As I testified during the hearing before the Committee, ICANN stands by the Affirmation of Commitments and all of the commitments set out within it

Question: Do you agree that before the [IANA Stewardship Transition] transfer occurs all necessary reforms are embedded in ICANN’s articles of incorporation and bylaws and subject to independent adjudication or arbitration for dispute resolution?

AnswerThe final proposals on the stewardship transition and enhancing ICANN accountability will delineate the key enhancements that must be in place or committed before the transition can take place. ICANN is committed to working with the multistakeholder community to achieve this goal prior to a transition.

Question: Do you agree that it is essential ICANN undertake structural reforms to ensure that it is protected against undue influence or capture by one or more governments, multilateral organizations, or a single set of commercial or noncommercial stakeholders?

Answer:  I agree that a key question facing ICANN today, as well as a key stress test of any reforms that are being developed through the Enhancing ICANN Accountability process, is how well are we protecting against undue capture or influence by one or more governments, multilateral organizations, or a single set of commercial or noncommercial stakeholders, across the organization. This also includes that the community itself must meet high standards of accountability in any proposed community mechanism, including the development of proper checks and balances to mitigate against the possibility of capture. The Cross-Community Working Group has identified that “the community, however it is constituted, must itself meet high standards of accountability” within the enhancements that are being developed. As stated in NTIA’s original announcement, and as reinforced by the ICANN community and Congress, protections against capture must be a central component of any structural change of the organization.

Question: Do you agree that the Board of Directors is responsible for policy implementation?

Answer: The ICANN Board of Directors is responsible for the assessment of and approval of policy
recommendations that come to it through defined processes. Once approved, the Board retains a
general responsibility for the oversight of the affairs of the organization, and that includes
oversight of how I, as President and CEO, work with the ICANN staff to implement those
approved policies.


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