2016-04-24

News Review: ICANN Bylaws, Comments, ICANN Chairman's Op-ed Flops

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Domain Mondo's review of the past week and look ahead [pdf of this post here]:

The implentation phase of the IANA Stewardship Transition Plan (including WS1 of Enhancing ICANN Accountability) is proceeding in accord with the tentative timeline:

IANA Stewardship Transition Tentative Timeline
IANA Stewardship Transition Tentative Timeline
ICANN's new proposed bylaws in connection with the IANA transition and ICANN accountability proposal, have been posted for public comment through May 21, 2016. Read more at: ICANN Posts Draft of New Bylaws For Public Comment Until May 21 | DomainMondo.com.

•  On April 19, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by ICANN Board Chairman Steve Crocker, warning of terrible consequences if the U.S. government (NTIA) does not end its oversight of the IANA functions:
Broadening the Oversight of a Free and Open Internet - WSJ: "... If the U.S. does not transition its stewardship role to the global Internet community, then other governments may try to move control to organizations like the United Nations. There is also a risk that some governments may form their own national or regional networks. This disruptive splintering would damage the economy and weaken personal Internet use ..." (emphasis added)
Crocker, like others involved in the IANA transition process from the beginning, including NTIA's Larry Strickling on March 14, 2014, is being disingenuous by using the phrase "global internet community" when he really means ICANN, the California corporation. The IANA stewardship transition is only about transitioning, or privatizing, the U.S. government's stewardship role from the U.S. to ICANN, not the global Internet community. The global Internet community is hardly the same as ICANN or even ICANN's "community," a fact acknowledged by ICANN and the "ICANN community" in setting up the ground rules for participation in the CCWG-Accountability (Cross Community Working Group to Enhance ICANN Accountability):
Members & Participants - Enhancing ICANN Accountability: "Anyone interested can volunteer to join the CCWG as a "participant," regardless of whether they are members of the ICANN community." (emphasis added)
Unlike the global Internet community, ICANN has largely been captured by domain name industry and other special interests. As far as Crocker's comment about "splintering" [or fragmentation] of the internet is concerned, that is already happening, due, in large part, to distrust of ICANN, its programs, policies, processes, structures, and leadership, by the global Internet community.

Crocker apparently forgot he was addressing readers of the Wall Street Journal, not a gathering of the UN's Internet Governance Forum or WSIS. His message would have been much better received had he simply been honest about the IANA transition, rather than using the false narrative of a transition to the "global Internet community." In fact, the Wall Street crowd would have probably warmly embraced the idea of a transition from 'U.S. government control' to 'control by ICANN,' a California corporation, which functions largely as a captured agency controlled by lobbyists and lawyers representing special interests, known as 'stakeholders' in the institutional jargon of ICANN, with the U.S. government retaining veto power over interference by foreign governments.

But Crocker followed the script he had been given, false narratives and institutional secrets are inculcated in ICANN's sick organizational culture. Besides being a misleading reference, the phrase "global Internet community" sounds to denizens of Wall Street like a rallying cry of the Trotskyite wing of #FeelTheBern. The Wall Street Journal readers' comments to Crocker's op-ed (more than 70 at last count), confirm this. While interesting and entertaining to read, particularly if one wants to know what that part of the global Internet community--the part that comprises the affluent demographic that subscribes to the Wall Street Journal--thinks about the IANA stewardship transition, there is a jarring brutal honesty in the comments for those accustomed to the rarefied air of the "ICANN bubble"--here are a few excerpts--
This is a typical political sales pitch; it tells us nothing about the features that supposedly will produce the claimed benefits, ignores legitimate concerns and glosses over all problem areas. Mr. Crocker missed his calling as a telemarketer ...
This is a totally misguided transformation. Mr. Crocker's last sentence to "assure that the Internet of tomorrow is as free, open and resilient as the Internet of today" should give us all pause about even contemplating the changes he and others propose. His proposal reminds me of a mentally ill patient, who, after using medication to restore his mental health, goes off his meds because "he is cured". As soon as the Commerce Department steps away, it will be open season on that openness and freedom by some of the darkest elements around the world, both corporate and governmental. The only reason the internet is free, open and resilient is that the US Government stands behind it. 
This article does not include a single supported assertion. Speaking on behalf of "the Internet community—along with businesses, civil society and other interest groups," I voice my dissent.
Mr. Crocker's column is a nice example of a buffoon using all the right words (diverse, accountable, community) to blow smoke up our 4th point of contact. When you want a technical activity managed properly, you don't care about diversity - that is for non-technical people looking to grab control of something. Then there are the questions Mr. Crocker doesn't answer: Example: accountable to whom? He never says specifically, just yada yada yada about an international community. Been there; done that. It's called the UN. Letting Russia, China or the UN anywhere near controlling anything about the internet guarantees only censorship. Even the Europe Union, with its silly "right to be forgotten" can't be trusted ... 
... I have to ask who elects people to the Board of ICANN? This guy [Crocker] is really an embarrassment, and should be removed forthwith ...
Not exactly the reaction and response Crocker was looking for, I'm sure. I'll leave the rest of the comments for your reading enjoyment. [Note: if you're like one member of the ICANN Board of Directors and don't know how to access WSJ articles without a subscription, just click the WSJ  story link on this Google search results page.]

• Draft ICANN FY17 Operating Plan & Budget and Five-Year Operating Plan Update: Open for Public Comments--Close Date 30 Apr 2016 23:59 UTC.

•  ICANN FY16 Q3 (Quarter ending 31 March 2016) Stakeholder Call - 27 April 1500 UTC:  Pre-register online here to join the Quarterly Stakeholder Call online. The call will take place 27 April at 1500 UTC time converter. Joining instructions will be sent to those who register in advance of the call. A recording will be made available after the call here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/quarterly-reports-2014-11-13-en.

• New gTLD? Use It OR Lose ItNew gTLD Program Delegation Deadlines - ICANN: "... To date, registry agreements are in place for more than 1,230 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), and more than 950 of these new gTLDs have been delegated into the root zone ...  The New gTLD Registry Agreement defines a 12-month period after contract execution during which the registry operator must delegate its TLD. ICANN expects registry operators to honor this commitment, and most do. However, we've recently seen an uptick in registry operators who either haven't met their deadline or aren't on track to do so. There are about 200 TLDs with approaching delegation deadlines between now and the end of August 2016 ... If a registry operator does not meet its delegation deadline, ICANN has the option to terminate the registry agreement, as per Section 4.3(b) of the agreement ..."

DotConnectAfrica Trust vs ICANN and ZACR: ICANN's motion to dismiss scheduled for hearing April 25, in Los Angeles.

Earnings Season schedule this week on Domain Mondo's Earnings Calendar:
  • Twitter TWTR April 26
  • Apple AAPL April 26
  • Facebook FB April 27
  • Verisign VRSN April 28, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Neustar NSR April 28
  • Amazon AMZN April 28 5pm ET

• This past week's five most popular posts on Domain Mondo (# of pageviews Sun-Sat):
Honorable mention: Jack Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Group, Creator of Index Funds, Interview | DomainMondo.com

New This Week: Other Reading Recommendations (with a little taste of the article or a little of my own commentary):

Have a great week!

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo




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