[discuss] The public interest and ICANN

Jordan Carter jordan at internetnz.net.nz
Wed Sep 3 12:37:55 UTC 2014

Hi all

Here's something to mull on.

In a couple of situations recently - the panel that Vint chaired a few
months ago and in the ICANN Town Hall meeting on Friday - there's been some
use made of the concept of the public interest as a guiding principle for
ICANN (including its stewardship of the DNS, and operation of the IANA

I think we need to be careful about this idea, and here's why.

The public interest is secured by an open single Internet, and the
technical coordination of the DNS and the other IANA functions contribute
to that. All of those functions are done in the service of a wide array of
other organisations - communities, if you will.

ICANN serves the public interest by being the common platform where this
coordination happens. It serves the public interest by serving its
communities and its customers faithfully.

If there was a perceived gap in ICANN's mind between what the "public
interest" is, and what the interests of ICANN's communities are, then there
is a mistake being made somewhere.

To put it another way, I think we should be very firm that it is not
ICANN's job to determine what the public interest IS in relation to its
work. It is the job of the communities that work together in ICANN's
multistakeholder framework to do that. ICANN provides the framework, not
the answers.

There is no abstract public interest for ICANN to guard. It guards the
public interest by faithfully serving the Internet Community.


Jordan Carter

Chief Executive

04 495 2118 (office) | +64 21 442 649 (mob)
jordan at internetnz.net.nz
Skype: jordancarter

*To promote the Internet's benefits and uses, and protect its potential.*
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