[discuss] Transparency and Accountability vis-à-vis ICANN and the IANA functions

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Thu Apr 3 18:02:05 UTC 2014

On Apr 2, 2014, at 6:55 PM, George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky at gmail.com> wrote:

> John,
> [taking both the bestbits list and the igc list off the copy list]
> I agree.  The dialogue has been very interesting, but often goes into a pattern of several participants arguing about their specific points of view.  This may or may not move us toward our goals.
> So I am going to re-post a previous problem statement that got almost no traction earlier, in the hope that it may point more directly toward our goals.  If it gets no traction this time, I’ll understand that it’s not the right way to proceed.

George - 
  I believe that your message on accountability (and its possible meanings) 
  is right on target, and will reply in full shortly.  I did want to first 
  forward a note that I wrote on accountability (on a different list) to 
  provide some context for my response.


> From: John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org>
> Subject: On accountability of the Internet identifier system (was: [IANAxfer] [Internet Policy] [IANAtransition] ICANN-IGP hybrid)
> Date: April 3, 2014 at 5:05:15 AM EDT
> ...

> We may have a somewhat different understanding about what "accountability" means...
> While I believe that having the various involved organizations simply answerable for 
> their actions would meet a strict definition of the term, from a practical matter it is also
> necessary to understand what acceptable behavior is if one is to hold organizations 
> accountable in an objective manner.
> I believe that there are indeed some principles that the Internet identifier system should
> commit to; principles that recognize that the registries being maintained are not simply 
> routine indexes of values (such as occur in other protocols and standards, e.g. the list 
> of identifiers associated with sizes of machine screws, or the gauge of electrical wire),
> but actually have a potential for far greater impact due to the success of the Internet
> and its use in everyday life.
> The values in the Internet registries (particularly in the case of the general-purpose identifier
> registries, i.e. DNS space and IP address spaces) underlie the Internet itself, i.e. one of the 
> most significant technological developments with far reaching social and economic impact.
> It's not possible to foresee all of the various manners in which the Internet will affect the life
> of everyone globally in the coming years, and hence we need to adopt proactively a set of
> principles that will insure that everyone has an opportunity to understand and participate in
> administration of the underlying identifier system.
> Some examples of principles that I would expect to be applicable to the Internet identifier 
> system would include values such as:
>   – Open and Inclusive: Discussions are open to all and structured to encourage the broadest range of relevant inputs from all interested parties. Input provided is valued and heard by all. All documents are freely available online. Processes for public comment and remote participation are provided wherever feasible, and without requirements for participation other than decorum.
>   – Consensus-based: Discussions allow for all views to be considered and addressed, leading towards common understanding and consensus among participants. Discussions are structured to avoid domination by any community of interest.
>   – Transparent and Accountable: Processes for discussions and decision-making are documented, publicly available, and followed. Easily accessible records of decisions and the materials used for reaching those decisions are provided. Due process is provided to appeal decisions where processes were not followed.
> Having established a set of principles applicable throughout the administration of the
> Internet identifier system, it then becomes possible to establish accountability (to the 
> global community) for routine administration of the Internet identifier system in accordance
> with the committed principles.   All this requires is a process for objective assessment,
> including having the the various involved institutions answer with respect to observed 
> behavior contrary to the principles.
> I do not believe that we have an clearly accepted set of principles applicable to the 
> administration of the Internet identifier system, nor do we have a straightforward 
> objective assessment mechanism, but determining both of these items would go 
> a long way towards providing actual measurable public accountability of the entire
> system.
> Thanks,
> /John
> Disclaimer:  My views alone - statements regarding establishing a clear, measurable 
> system-wide accountability model for the Internet identifier system in no way is meant
> as any disrespect to any of the existing institutions or mechanisms, but solely done 
> with the goal of providing some framework for further discussion of these issues...

More information about the discuss mailing list