[discuss] Time to be more precise about Internet Governance

Jorge Amodio jmamodio at gmail.com
Mon Dec 30 05:13:15 UTC 2013

Hi Brian,

thanks for the mention and as you can imagine I completely share your
views, so thanks for such a detailed and well worded opinion.

There is another underlying issue in the background of all this that we
must take in account which many avoid to discuss too much in the open, and
is related to particular interests including money, power and control.

Take DNS for example, that out of nothing being just a service to
facilitate name to IP address resolution and email traffic routing, after
the marketeers found how to monetize it, turned into a multi-billion (yes
billion with a B) industry, and we are not talking about the domain names
market, but also all the ancillary services that grew up out of it which
now includes trademark protection, property rights, back end services, etc.

No doubt there was a need in 1998 to put some structure and organization to
broaden the participation in the work that the late Jon Postel and his team
were doing at USC and through IANA. Out of that ICANN was born but over the
years transformed into this monster "multi-stakeholder" gorilla that even
after 15 years is still trying to define its identity, role and corporate

As it is well known, in the technical community we seem to have some sort
of allergic reaction when we feel or detect the presence of a lawyer, not
trying to finger point or discriminate or being negative about it, but I'm
really amazed about the exponential influx of attorneys that are part of
the ecosystem that ICANN has generated. This is a non-profit organization
that besides some money that is able to put away, by law has to spend most
of the revenue it generates.

Let's not take in account for a moment the substantial increase (about
$158M for FY13) produced by the new gTLD program, we are talking about an
organization that has about $70M/year up for grabs, IMHO that is a lot of
money and there will be a natural resistance from the ecosystem to change
given that a lot of people make a living out of it.

Just as a reference, for FYI13 ICANN ended with $397M in assets, with $294M
put away on investment accounts. Versign revenues in 2012 $874M, total
assets ~$2B.

About multi-stakeholderism, some point to ICANN as one of the examples of a
working multi-stakeholder organization. While discussions at ICANN may
happen in that fashion, by the way the organization has been incorporated
all the decision power rests in the Board of Directors and none of the
constituencies are actually "members" of the organization and only play an
advisory role. Yes via NonCom, GAC and some of the advice from the
stakeholder groups, it is possible to influence or tweak board decisions
but none of this constituencies have any decision power.

About representation, again taking ICANN as an example, and this is
something I've been following for many years since the creation of ALAC,
RALOs and ALSs, the mechanisms used to certify representation are so lax
that you can get together with a bunch of friends or colleges, incorporate
a non-profit entity, generate some activity, become an ALS, join a RALO,
play some politics, get elected among friends that fix the election process
in the background, and voila you are a new member of the club. And here is
where the musical chairs game and multiple hats dance starts. The issue
becomes to "belong" into the ecosystem, today I'm in ALAC, tomorrow I'm on
NCSG, then GNSO, while not the GAC, next time I'll be chair of something
and perhaps get on the BoD, and given that I "belong" now I am an expert !!
so I can teach about "Internet Governance"

Meanwhile there are many open issues about ICANN's accountability and
transparency, but the show must go on, and as long as we can milk out of it
we must protect the ecosystem, and that word "multilateral" as we would say
in Spanish "Vade retro Satanás"

In summary, and obviously these are my opinions and views, take it with
with a grain of salt when you use certain organizations as an example or
role model and keep in account that there will be a huge resistance to keep
the status-quo.

Wish everybody a great end for 2013 and very prosperous 2014. Lets the show
go on.

Best Regards

On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 7:18 PM, Brian E Carpenter <
brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> Rather then shooting off further random comments, I decided to write
> up my thoughts in a somewhat coherent way:
> https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~brian/CrossBorderInfoGovernance.pdf
> As John so often says: My views alone.
> Regards
>    Brian Carpenter
> _______________________________________________
> discuss mailing list
> discuss at 1net.org
> http://1net.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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