[discuss] Dear ICANN - Feedback

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 03:59:23 UTC 2014


I have somewhat the same frustrations as you do, given the number of lists and the number of groups/committees/lists that are involved in these discussions.

I do want to make very clear that I am speaking as an individual here, and what I say may or may not agree with ICANN’s views.  I became involved in ICANN in 2005 and became a member of the Board in 2009.  My involvement with ICT, computing and networking in developing countries started in 1973, and was my intense focus for years after that.  That was more than 30 years before I became active in ICANN.  I know that you know this, but other readers may not.

I am perplexed and frustrated because I don’t understand what the use of the term ‘oversight’ spans.  

Mr. Uppal says that “oversight is the real issue, not the nitty gritty functioning of IANA or ICANN.  If we are talking about the NTIA transition of an IANA function, I think that it’s all nitty gritty.  Mr. Uppal, what do you mean by oversight when you make this statement?  Can you answer the following questions with enough specificity to sustain a meaningful dialogue:

1. Oversight specifically over what, by whom, for what purpose, and how will it support the transition of the NTIA function?

2. What is the extent and what are the limits of such oversight?

3. Specifically what are the organizations to which such oversight would apply, what would be the nature and extent of the oversight, and what measures of accountability would be placed upon the organizations by the oversight body.

4. How would the oversight body be chosen?  What objectives would fashion the choices?

This debate has been going on for 10 years on various lists, and it has been going on intensely for three months in multiple lists since the Montevideo statement and the announcement of Net Mundial.  People who seriously contribute to the discussion have thought about ideas and positions.  Waving arms and describing things in terms of generalities should no longer be considered professionally respectable.  Generalities are no longer useful.

Ian, I understand your general point, and I thank you for participating in this dialogue.  I suggest that the situation would be greatly enhanced if specific positions were put forward, with arguments and justification for those positions.   

In retrospect, I wish that we had worked more on problem statements before rushing into discussions about solutions.  When I read contributions to this list and to others, often I am not sure what problem is being solved, and in fact whether it is even a problem.

George Sadowsky


On Apr 14, 2014, at 9:28 PM, Mahesh Uppal <mahesh.uppal at gmail.com> wrote:

> Agree. I believe genuinely representative oversight is the real issue, not the nitty gritty functioning of IANA or ICANN.
> Mahesh Uppal
>> On 15-Apr-14 5:45:13 AM, Ian Peter <ian.peter at ianpeter.com>wrote:
>> whatever, George... 
>> Remove the word evolution if it doesnt work for you. My main point here 
>> (speaking to you as an ICANN director) is that you must involve the 
>> community who don't attend ICANN /technical community meetings in decision 
>> making here - including business, governmental, and civil society 
>> representatives (and yes we could spend the next five years deciding how to 
>> select them or just do it). As you already have a committee of 24 - close to 
>> an unworkable size, and with a wider agenda it would seem - I am suggesting 
>> a separate group to consider the specific "oversight" issue from a more 
>> focussed stakeholder perspective. 
>> Ian Peter 
>> -----Original Message----- 
>> From: George Sadowsky 
>> Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:09 AM 
>> To: Peter Ian 
>> Cc: ianatransition at icann.org ; discuss at 1net.org 
>> Subject: Re: [discuss] Dear ICANN - Feedback 
>> Ian, 
>> I’m trying to get away from the generalities that may sound nice but don’t 
>> help us to get at ways of leveraging change. 
>> Are you suggesting a committee to “examine how this function evolves,” the 
>> function being ticking the box? I had thought that we were looking at ways 
>> in which this function could be acceptably transferred. Thjat’s a necessary 
>> condition, and it may be sufficient. 
>> When you talk about evolution, that’s an entirely different matter. What is 
>> your time frame for this evolution? 20 years? If so, the internet will be 
>> a very different place, and I would question anyone’s ability to predict 
>> what the management and governance issues would be at that time. So I have 
>> the following follow-up questions: 
>> 1. Why are you concerned about evolution rather than focusing on transfer? 
>> 2. Are there any boundaries on your consideration of such evolution? If so, 
>> what are they, and how do they contribute to solving the current problem, 
>> i.e. a transition of the IANA function away from the US Government, based 
>> upon the constraints laid out by NTIA? If not, why is this not just 
>> futuristic intellectual exercise that will not contribute to the current 
>> discussion? 
>> 3. What would the terms of reference of the committee be? What expertise 
>> would the committee have to have in order that its recommendations would be 
>> consistent with the current continuation of stable, secure, and resilient 
>> Internet functioning? 
>> Regards, 
>> George 
>> On Apr 13, 2014, at 9:45 PM, Ian Peter wrote: 
>> > George, 
>> > 
>> > I would not describe it an an operational function myself. Nothing 
>> > operational is involved. NTIA checks to see that appropriate policies have 
>> > been followed. And, as you say, ticks the box. Then the change occurs. I 
>> > don't call that operational, but maybe that is just semantics. Many people 
>> > call this the "oversight" function, but that is not a good description 
>> > either. 
>> > 
>> > In any case, who performs this previous NTIA role under new structures 
>> > (if anyone) is the question of broader interest. Which is why I suggest a 
>> > committee with wider involvement to examine how this best evolves. 
>> > 
>> > Your statement below is a little confusing to me, but to be clear I am 
>> > only suggesting a committee to examine how the function evolves and make 
>> > recommendations. I am not suggesting a committee to perform the 
>> > "oversight" function. 
>> > 
>> > Ian Peter 
>> > 
>> > -----Original Message----- From: George Sadowsky 
>> > Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 11:26 AM 
>> > To: Peter Ian 
>> > Cc: ianatransition at icann.org ; discuss at 1net.org 
>> > Subject: Re: [discuss] Dear ICANN - Feedback 
>> > 
>> > Ian, 
>> > 
>> > I want to probe your response below somewhat further. 
>> > 
>> > At the moment, the IANA operational function that NTIA performs is, in the 
>> > case of any new delegation or redelegation of any entry in the root zone 
>> > file. NTIA checks to see that the appropriate policies have been followed. 
>> > If they have, IANA checks the box, and the change occurs. 
>> > 
>> > Is this the function that you suggest should be delegated to a separate 
>> > committee involving wider representation from the wider multistakeholder 
>> > community involving a much wider range of governmental, civil society and 
>> > business interests? 
>> > 
>> > If not, could you please be precise in describing exactly which other 
>> > functions are to be replaced by this wider group? 
>> > 
>> > George 
>> > 
>> > 
>> > 
>> > On Apr 13, 2014, at 8:58 PM, Ian Peter wrote: 
>> > 
>> >> Dear ICANN, 
>> >> 
>> >> 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 
>> >> re-examined. 
>> >> 
>> >> 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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>> > 
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