2015-10-01

IANA Transition, ICANN Accountability, "Has Always Been About POWER"

How to capture ICANN: "The first thing we do, let's spill all the Board members."*

*With apologies to William Shakespeare: Shakespeare's line ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' was stated by Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI,'' Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73. Dick the Butcher was a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disturbed law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare intended it as a compliment to attorneys and judges who instill justice in society. (source)


"... At least the USG (US government) offers some accountability. ICANN's primary active stakeholders are businesses making money off the DNS; most users are too busy elsewhere to pay much attention..."--Esther Dyson, ICANN's founding Chairman, Sept 22, 2015

"Sole Member given reserved power under Bylaws to override Board decision directly, regardless of Board fiduciary duties." - Legal counsel for CCWG-Accountability (pdf) opinion on 2nd draft

"WS1 has always been about power"--Jonathan Zuck, CCWG-Accountability participant, infra 

The biggest problem that the global multistakeholder community (a/k/a the global internet community which is a lot larger and broader than just ICANN's relatively small "stakeholder community"), has right now is that so many members and participants comprising the CCWG-Accountability are engrossed in their own groupthink that they apparently have not taken the time to actually read and analyze all the public comments to their own "fundamentally flawed" 2nd Draft Report which is supported overall by only 19 out of 90+ comments. If you read the CCWG mail list regularly, you will discover that many, if not most, CCWG members are actually operating under the delusion that the global multistakeholder community supports their proposed "power grab." 

Indicative of this state of "denial" or what might be called ignorant arrogance among CCWG-accountability members and participants are the remarks made on the CCWG public mail list by Philip Corwin, who represents a group known as the "Internet Commerce Association," of which major supporters include new gTLDs registry operator Donuts, and other domain name industry "players." Here's an excerpt from Corwin's response to Domain Mondo's post China (CAICT) Objects to ICANN CCWG Accountability 2nd Draft Proposal:
"If the CCWG Proposal is a "power grab" then it's the sorriest excuse for one I've ever seen. It is almost exclusively a proposal for greater defensive rights in reaction to ICANN Board/corporate actions, and would hardly put "vested self-interested special interests ("ICANN stakeholders" or "lobbyists")" in charge of the enterprise." -- Phil Corwin, September 25, 2015 
I suggest Mr. Corwin, (and all other CCWG members and participants), take the time to read carefully all the comments to the 2nd draft report and then take note of the following post on the CCWG mail list by the President of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), after which, hopefully, they might actually be more "informed and enlightened" and less consumed by their own "ignorant arrogance"--
"WS1 has always been about power and WS2 about implementation. WS1 was never going to be complete and, for that matter, WS2 won’t ever be complete either. That said, if we have the power to spill the board with relative ease, we can easily reconvene, flesh out the member model, submit it to the board and spill them if they aren’t constructive. We don’t need to worry about deadlines, the Congress, NTIA, etc. the whole point of WS1 is to ensure the capability to do just this." Jonathan Zuck, President of ACT and CCWG participant, September 29, 2015 (emphasis added)
Clearly and succinctly said Mr. Zuck! Sounds like a neat way to hijack or supplant ICANN Board authority and bypass any encumbering "fiduciary duties." The use of the word "constructive" above is clearly a euphemism for "submissive." It's all about the "power." The problem, as noted, is that the mostly profit-seeking, self-interested ICANN stakeholders, or "lobbyists," do not have the ICANN Board of Directors' fiduciary duties to the global internet community, nor the fiduciary duty to operate in the "global public interest." By their own self-admission, most ICANN stakeholders are self-seeking, self-interested, profit-making individuals and enterprises, who are primarily interested in their own "agendas" not what is in the "global public interest." That job is usually left to either governments, trustees, or a carefully selected Board of Directors held to fiduciary standards. While ICANN stakeholders should have input into ICANN policy-making, (and I know this may come as a "shock" to some of those stakeholders), they are hardly "infallible." Of course, directors, even though held to fiduciary standards, can still, from time to time, "fail," which is why "enhanced ICANN accountability," in the absence of US government oversight, needs to have "means or methods" whereby any member of the global internet community can seek redress of a Board decision, action, or adopted ICANN policy, which violates ICANN's articles, bylaws, or the Board's fiduciary duties to the global multistakeholder community and the global public interest. The ICANN Board says they agree and have offered suggested "means or methods" by which such redress can be provided. Other accountability "enhancements" or requirements, including, for example, transparency (e.g., record requests etc.), can easily be provided to any member of the global internet community by having appropriate provisions in ICANN's bylaws, none of which requires implementation of the proposed Single Member Model (SMM or CMSM) which, understandably, the ICANN Board does not support.
(Updated October 1, 2015)
-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo



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