[discuss] Dear ICANN - Feedback

Ian Peter ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Mon Apr 14 00:58:53 UTC 2014


You have asked for feedback on your proposal, so here is mine.

Firstly, I now think your Steering Committee is fine for most of your 
initial tasks. I originally did not, as it is narrowly constricted to the 
technical community rather than the wider multistakeholder community 
involved with internet governance issues. However, as I can see from the 
scattered discussions occurring here and on other lists, there seem to be 
quite a few people wanting to talk about the minutae of day to day 
operational matters, and your steering committee will serve to bring some 
focus and structure to those discussions. I would suggest your first task 
might be to examine which if any of the current functions, each of which 
seem to have been performed well for over a decade, might need to be 

But for most of us, these discussions are beyond our level of interest, and 
hence you will notice on this list and on others the number of people who 
have just stopped engaging.

However, there is one issue on which many of us to maintain some interest, 
and that is the oversight function which was the subject of the NTIA 
announcement. This has been described as simply clerical, some of us have 
seen it as largely symbolic, but whatever the reality is, this function has 
been the subject of contention for over a decade and will continue to be – 
not so much in the narrow steering committee of the technical groups, but in 
the wider multistakeholder community involving a much wider range of 
governmental, civil society and business interests.

Which is where my main suggestion lies. I think you need a separate 
committee to look at this particular issue, and one which involves 
representation from wider stakeholder groups not directly associated with 
the technical community – because, in the end, they will make or break any 
proposal for change here. I urge you to look at the appropriate way to 
engage this wider stakeholder group – as well, perhaps you could engage this 
wider and more representative group with involvement at eg the Internet 
Governance Forum, a notable absentee from your calendar of events.

One more suggestion and word of caution. There seems to be a prevailing 
thought that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to resolve this, and if it 
goes beyond September 2015 so be it. I disagree. If ICANN and associated 
bodies cannot come up with a structure for a simple governance function in 
18 months – a task any government or corporation could do in less than three 
months – it will be widely perceived as being incapable and inefficient. 
People will lose patience and begin to look at other alternatives. So I do 
suggest that you add some firm timelines to your deliberations.

I hope this input is useful to you. I look forward to some more structured 
discussion in the future, and to a recognition that the sorts of matters 
largely being discussed here are in many cases not the matters that concern 
the wider community of interests beyond the technical community. You must 
structure your activities to engage those wider interests positively.

Ian Peter 

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