2015-05-27

FIFA Corruption Scandal, Lessons For ICANN and IANA Transition



May 27, 2015: FIFA Corruption: Is It an Existential Crisis? - NC Partnership's Nigel Currie discusses FIFA corruption in international soccer. He speaks on Bloomberg's “Market Makers."
A "money driving corruption"
FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges | NYTimes.com: "Critics of FIFA point to the lack of transparency regarding executive salaries and resource allocations ... Policy decisions are also often taken without debate or explanation, and a small group of officials — known as the executive committee — operates with outsize power. FIFA has for years functioned with little oversight and even less transparency. Alexandra Wrage, a governance consultant who once unsuccessfully attempted to help overhaul FIFA’s methods, labeled the organization “byzantine and impenetrable.”"
Sound familiar?
However mundane the reality of US government involvement, the IANA oversight provides a symbolic umbilical cord between ICANN and an external body. Once cut, there would be no external constraints on ICANN, a private, unregulated monopoly with control over global critical Internet resources. This is the reason why the IANA transition has to take place within a wider conversation about ICANN’s accountability .... ICANN as a corporation is a largely unregulated, private sector body with control over critical Internet resources on which global economies depend. It has no natural competitors, is cash-rich (in 2014, its current assets were more than $350 million, with a further $145 million in deferred income), and directly or indirectly supports many of its participants and other Internet governance processes. Without effective accountability and transparency mechanisms, the opportunities for distortion, even corruption, are manifold. In such an environment, it is not sufficient simply to invoke trust ... In a public interest company, there is even more cause for concern, particularly as ICANN also has a contractual compliance function over those companies. There are at least theoretical conflicts in the dual roles of supplier and regulator... -- Emily Taylor, ICANN: Bridging the Trust Gap (pdf) (emphasis added)
Or is Multistakeholderism just another word for Elitism?

UPDATE: But it is not just the ICANN Board, officers, and staff that need transparency and accountability mechanisms--the ICANN "stakeholders" themselves are a BIG problem that has yet to be addressed by any of the ongoing ICANN and IANA transition processes--indeed, if anything, the IANA stewardship transition and ICANN accountability work groups have accentuated the elitist, narrow interests who control ICANN stakeholder groups. Look at the members and active participants of these "working groups" and see how the "same names" appear on multiple groups lists--probably less than 100 people total are actually directing and deciding the future accountability mechanisms by which ICANN and IANA will be governed. This is a well-known problem with multistakeholderism about which both ICANN and the US government prefer to deny exists rather than address. Why? Because it serves the incumbent "power" interests--


Multistakeholderism unmasked: How the NetMundial Initiative shifts battlegrounds in internet governance | LSE Media Policy Project: "... most controversies about internet governance were the result of a dichotomy between the proponents of traditional regulation through intergovernmental authority and those of a multistakeholder model, the hypothetical middle ground between a free-market model, a cyberlibertarian idea of self-regulation and the classical governmental approach. What the debates about the two divergent approaches rarely reveal is that most implementations of the multistakeholder approach are far from an ideal governance model. In fact, while multistakeholderism may have so far allowed various non-state actors to participate in internet governance processes, it does not necessarily lead to a wider range of views or a more global representation of interests and concerns. In several instances, multistakeholder processes actually tend to increase the overrepresentation of actors from the highly developed Western world, whereas they neglect developing countries, which often lack independent civil society networks and strong business players that could meaningfully engage in the existing structures... a new but much needed discussion on power mechanisms and could eventually shed light on the real interests of those proponents of the multistakeholder approach who seem eager to maintain the unbalanced representation of voices and concerns in internet governance. In the long run, this discussion could lead to a more honest and transparent scenario for multistakeholderism, which does not fail to consider the rights and interests that all countries and all users have in the governance of the global internet." (emphasis added)

See also: The REAL Domain Hogs: ICANN Officers, Staff, Lavish Pay, Benefits, Accountability Risks Institutionalized and ICANN, Dysfunction, the Public Interest, and the IANA Transition


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