[discuss] NTIA "Oversight" (was Dear ICANN - Feedback)

Alejandro Pisanty apisanty at gmail.com
Wed Apr 16 23:11:36 UTC 2014


this discussion should be framed against the delusion of global government
(phrases like "a global rule of law" are strong warning indicators.) (this
is not to add or detract to accountability; only a boundary condition.)

Another interesting framework question, already suggested by Mike Roberts's
acute observations, would be the question "who pays for this." It seems
that there has been an underlying assumption that the NTIA-function
substitute would be financed out of funds currently managed by ICANN.

What independent entities - say, deeply concerned NGOs or individuals in
developing countries - would pay for the cost of their seat out of pocket,
in ways that are accountable and transparent? (Hint: government subsidies
don't count.)

Let's not get into the contradiction that the same parties with claims
against ICANN financial contributions as "domain name tax" etc. are not the
ones happily looking to spend these same funds; or if so, make the
assumption explicit.


Alejandro Pisanty

On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 5:48 PM, Milton L Mueller <mueller at syr.edu> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> > But I don't agree that oversight "does not need formal enforcement
> mechanisms".
> I don't either, it does. I was shocked by Mike's casual dismissal of the
> need for external accountability.  This is one reason why I hate the term
> "oversight" in the context of Multistakeholderism, it seems to imply that
> some powerless committee reviewing your decisions ex post is enough. We've
> seen time and again that it is not.
> > For example, an oversight mechanism (with a contractual enforcement
> mechanism)
> > might be charged with assuring that ICANN can make binding rules only
> when
> > supported by consensus and only on topics related to preserving the
> stable and
> > secure operation of the net. Such a standard would not enable the
> "oversight"
> > mechanism to second guess specific decisions or icann operations.
> In fact, all accountability really amounts to the power of someone to
> second-guess or override a decision. Think of an electorate "throwing the
> bums out" or a higher court overturning a lower court for violating a
> right, or someone being fired for bad performance. Effective accountability
> ensures that a decision maker tries very hard to make sure that there will
> be no need to attempt to second-guess. Obviously, the infinite regress
> problem that Mike flags is real, but only if your accountability mechanisms
> are poorly designed.
> > It would not rely on embarrassment (e.g., investigative reporting) but
> > something like a global rule of law.
> Yes.
> > What Brazil could achieve is a clear statement that there is a real
> global internet
> > polity, that it wants to rely on multi-stakeholder policy development to
> make
> > binding rules to which even states should defer, and that the
> institutions
> > charged with that political function will establish rule of law oversight
> > mechanisms that constrain potential abuses of the powers granted by that
> polity.
> The current document we are working with is, unfortunately, pretty far
> away from such an insightful and visionary approach. Perhaps we can move it
> closer
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     Dr. Alejandro Pisanty
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