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

Alejandro Pisanty apisanty at gmail.com
Thu Feb 27 21:00:49 UTC 2014

John, and Milton too:

so we are not that far:

1. Boards must be expected to exert discretion - the least often the
better, the better done the better. (Plus: the reasons Boards and other
collective decison-making bodies exist is that given the impossibility of
fully objective decisions, a vector sum of subjectivities is the least-bad

2. In a single-purpose, relatively homogeneous organization like an RIR,
things may be simpler.

Where we may differ is whether ICANN becoming a membership organization is
the way to go. Structuring the membership so as to achieve reasonable
balance, and checks-and-balances mechanisms, between disparate entities is
likely to land very close to where ICANN is now, or a foreseeable step of
evolution. Reducing the extortion power of non-committed entities may
require quite elaborate rules, tons of work, and very little ROI for the
effort as well - in that you may not end up very far from where we are now.

I don't think anyone is fundamentally opposed to see an exploration of
these redesign options but only few are actually going to give it a go.

In the meantime a non-membership organization is what we have and in many
ways it has far more features than bugs.

The only value I see in having continued this discussion on the 1Net list
is that it may yield usable lessons learned for work further afield, if
anyone, in 20 years, reads this again. By then the other what is it, 140
Internet-governance issues will have been solved elsewhere. We should
continue to let people do their work on other issues in other venues - they
are safe.


Alejandro Pisanty

On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 6:48 AM, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:

> On Feb 27, 2014, at 1:34 AM, Alejandro Pisanty <apisanty at gmail.com> wrote:
> John,
> thanks. That seems to be a Board which also finds itself occasionally in
> controversy about its actions, in particular whether it complies with
> policy and strictly limits itself to its prescribed role:
> http://lists.arin.net/pipermail/arin-ppml/2014-January/027601.html
> Alejandro -
>     You apparently have missed the point - it is not possible to prevent
> controversy in
>      these institutions, but is it possible to lay out clear expectations
> regarding normal
>      roles in the policy development processes, and thus make for better
> interactions
>      among the various bodies during policy development.
>     The example you point out above is actually ideal; it highlights that
> the Board does
>      have to ultimately take responsibility for the mission of the
> organization, and that
>      may indeed mean taking action in a "top-down" rather than "bottom-up"
> manner,
>      but such events should be quite rare and happen for understandable
> reasons.
>      In the particular case above, the member-elected ARIN Board used a
> specific
>      process in ARIN's policy process to temporarily suspend policy that
> was shown
>      to be serious risk to the mission and referred the matter to the
> community to
>      consider a permanent solution (the suspension was necessary before
> public
>      consideration because raising the matter with the community without
> first doing
>      so would have highlighted the loophole and resulted in severe risk.)
>  The ARIN
>      Board constrained its actions by following the documented process for
> such a
>      suspension and referral, while in theory it could have just resolved
> the issue
>      issue itself.   Again, the point is not whether the Board has
> ultimate authority
>      or not, but whether it is willing to constrain its use of authority
> along processes
>      which provide maximal opportunity for community consideration and
> feedback.
> Next issue please...
>      Sure - note also that in the case above, the ARIN Board is an
> _elected_ body
>      wherein each trustee is subject to potential removal by the
> community, thus providing
>      for clear accountability for actions.   In addition to providing for
> a clear process and
>      criteria for ICANN Board ratification of policy, it might be very
> helpful towards
>      accountability if the ICANN Board were similarly elected by a defined
> community
>      and subject to removal by vote.  The present ICANN Bylaws make
> individual
>      directors removable only by the other ICANN directors, which doesn't
> exactly
>      provide for any counterbalance if the ICANN Board should act in a
> manner which
>      surprises the community that it supposed to be serving.
> Thanks!
> /John
> Disclaimer:  My views alone.

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     Dr. Alejandro Pisanty
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