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

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Thu Apr 3 21:55:49 UTC 2014

John and all (and please take this as also my response to your comments re:
"the Current Drive" discussion...


I take your points below concerning "principles"... 


But from what I see these are principles concerning the processes which are
being (or will be) undertaken concerning ICANN/IANA.


What I don't see there is anything about what the fundamental goals that
these processes are directed towards or the outcome they are meant to


As I see it there are two possible and mutually exclusive goals that these
processes might be pursuing:

1.       The “public interest” i.e. ensuring that the operation of these
processes maximize benefits for the broadest range of those concerned with
the Internet i.e. (in the current context) “everybody”/in Parminder’s
phrase, the public

2.       The reconciliation of the interaction of a range of “private” (I.e.
sectional or “stakeholder”) interests


There is a third possible goal (which I would anticipate many in this
discussion will suggest) which is “enabling the most effective operation of
the Internet”.  However, on close examination I think it is clear that this
is not (and cannot) be a discrete goal in itself, rather it simply awaits
the raising of the same question
 “enabling the most effective operation of
the Internet” for what
 --the public interest or the range of private


BTW, I think going back to George’s original exhortation, this is the basic
and most fundamental question concerning Internet Governance Principles
which must be addressed in the context of the NetMundial.




-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf
Of John Curran
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2014 11:02 AM
To: George Sadowsky
Cc: 1Net List
Subject: Re: [discuss] Transparency and Accountability vis-à-vis ICANN and
the IANA functions
Importance: High


On Apr 2, 2014, at 6:55 PM, George Sadowsky <
<mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com> 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 < <mailto:jcurran at istaff.org> 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"

> 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...





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