[discuss] ICANN policy and "Internet Governance"

David Conrad drc at virtualized.org
Sat Jan 4 06:46:55 UTC 2014


On Jan 3, 2014, at 9:20 PM, Phillip Hallam-Baker <hallam at gmail.com> wrote:
> Certainly, things would be clearer if ICANN simply discontinued its relationship with the USG.
> They can't

True.  They can, however, together with the USG restructure the relationship such that the USG is on par with other governments.  This is, in fact, what ICANN has been trying to do pretty much since its inception. The big issue is, of course, what fills the vacuum left the the USG is no longer in its current role.

> ICANN's objective is to be free of all accountability.

[citation required]

> Since there is no form of accountability that ICANN prefers to its current situation, the situation is not going to change.

You may have missed the AoC and the Accountability and Transparency Reviews. In particular, http://www.icann.org/en/about/aoc-review/atrt.

 From personal experience, I think it safe to say ICANN prefers the accountability mechanisms enshrined in the ATRT reviews to that of presumed accountability to a single government.  This is not to say that the ATRT mechanisms are ideal, rather that they're preferable by ICANN to being viewed as a puppet of the US government.

> There are two sets of concerns a non US government might have re ICANN control, the first is that the US would abuse its influence to the detriment of a that government, the second is that ICANN itself would threaten their national interests and there was no check on their decision.

True enough.

> The first one would be self defeating on the part of the US unless the deployment of DNSSEC or BGPSEC were to change the switching costs so that transfer of ICANN functions to another body was no longer feasible. 

You can leave off everything after "the US". Even if the switching costs were high, actions of this nature by the USG would result in concerted effort to overcome those costs on the part of the entire Internet community, with the folks mattering the most being ISPs.

> The second would actually worry me rather more. Governments are very familiar with dealing with other governments. They have limited experience dealing with a group of unaccountable techies who are essentially self-appointing.

Yes, I've heard that one too.  However, it is worth pointing out that over 100 governments have somehow gotten over their ill-ease dealing with ICANN and participate in ICANN's GAC.  My impression is that government folks are pragmatic enough to deal with ICANN as long as they see benefit in it.


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