[discuss] governments and rule of law (was: Possible approaches to solving...)

Don Blumenthal dblumenthal at pir.org
Thu Feb 27 16:03:03 UTC 2014

I can’t argue with most of what you said, although I have issues with the
“accuracy” comment. However, I will suggest that what led to the WRT is
irrelevant as to how it functioned.

I also have concerns about the makeup of the EWG and parts of the
selection process, although they appear to be different from yours. We are
on the same page that the need to push for a privacy person was
inexcusable. Again though, I prefer to look at the process as it plays out.


On 2/27/14, 10:49 AM, "Milton L Mueller" <mueller at syr.edu> wrote:

>Sorry. I have to counter this with a bit more nuanced and accurate
>-----Original Message-----
>From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On
>Behalf Of Don Blumenthal
>> What became the EWG first was recommended by the multistakeholder
>> Whois Review Team, not the Board or the CEO.
>The Whois Review Team was not a bottom-up policy initiative, but a
>requirement of the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). The AoC was the
>product of a bilateral negotiation between the US government and ICANN.
>The USG, especially its law enforcement agencies, are well-known
>supporters of maintaining the privacy-deficient status quo in Whois. The
>AoC required ICANN to "commit to enforcing its existing policy relating
>to WHOIS." The mere existence of Whois-related material in the AoC is an
>example of how the tether to the USG involves policy influence, not just
>broad good governance goals like transparency and accountability.
>That being said, the first Whois Review Team did recognize that there was
>a deadlock on this issue and tried to move things forward in a relatively
>unbiased way. To its credit, it did not simply parrot the idea that ICANN
>should stick with its existing policy.
>>I¹ll grant you that the members were appointed, but only for
>>the most part after having responded to an open call for volunteers.
>> I know the members. Particularly with repect to a few of them, any
>> thought that the group is beholden to the CEO because he appointed
>> them just doesn¹t play.
>I don't think the group is beholden to the CEO, but I do think that the
>selections were biased against privacy and individual rights advocates
>and beholden to interests who want to enhance Whois as a surveillance
>mechanism. A privacy advocate was added at the last minute in response to
>criticism. Public comments raised questions about the presence on the EWG
>of the founder and former president of a firm, Mark Monitor, that makes
>its living selling Whois-based services to brand owners, and the ICANN
>Staff member assigned to work with the EWG was someone who used to work
>for that firm and is viewed by many in the Noncommercial Stakeholders
>Group as someone routinely biased against their input.  See public
>comments here: 
>>Sufficiently bottom up?
>More to the point, ICANN has a policy development process (the GNSO) with
>carefully balanced representation of the various stakeholders. If new
>policy initiatives come not from the GNSO, but from hand-picked groups,
>the potential for abuse or manipulation should be obvious. If the "top"
>can create ad hoc policy development groups and control their
>composition, the whole process can be bypassed.

More information about the discuss mailing list