[discuss] [IANAxfer] [ccnso-igrg] Two accountability questions - help pls- Workshop 23 - ICANN accountability

Jordan Carter jordan at internetnz.net.nz
Thu Sep 4 09:22:50 UTC 2014

On 4 September 2014 12:14, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:

> On Sep 4, 2014, at 11:53 AM, Jordan Carter <jordan at internetnz.net.nz>
> wrote:
> John,
> On 4 September 2014 11:47, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:
>> On Sep 4, 2014, at 11:15 AM, Jordan Carter <jordan at internetnz.net.nz>
>> wrote:
>> > But: isn't the main debate the fact that there is a policy/operations
>> separation for protocols and numbers, but not names?
>> >
>> > And that the simplest, most elegant way to achieve that for names is to
>> put the IANA functions operator in a new box?
>> Given that the IANA has been performing its tasks correctly, moving it
>> will not
>> meaningfully change the present situation or outcomes.
> It changes the accountability environment for names, with no difference
> for the other customers. Nobody wants to change the present operational
> situation per se.
> It does, but only if you presume that each of the served communities has a
> clear
> voice and can meaningfully contract for its portion of the IANA services.
>  Is this
> your understanding as well?

Well, I rather thought that ICANN itself might be able to do that for
names. But I know that might be a rather heroic assumption for a range of

>> On the other hand, if the problem is that the DNS community does not have
>> an
>> independent voice with which to engage ICANN as a partner (rather than
>> only
>> having internal accountability mechanisms as deigned by the Board), that
>> is a
>> different situation and likely require something other than just moving
>> the IANA
>> to address.
>> > (compared with gTLDs and ccTLDs having to form non-ICANN policy
>> bodies... a nightmare if ever there was one)
>> See above.
> Do you genuinely think it is easier to move the set of names stakeholders
> than it is to move the IANA functions operator, given their relative scale,
> diversity, operational consequences, etc?
> Unless the names stakeholders have organized to the extent of being able
> to enter
> into an agreement for IANA services, I am uncertain how moving the IANA
> provides
> any additional accountability.
Because it separates the ICANN Board from having two roles: of accepting /
making names policy, and governing the IANA functions operator.

> I'd be interested in you teasing this out.
> I'd also like to point out that there are many forms of "moving". An easy
> one is a management board for the IANA department that has to validate
> changes as in line with policy etc, but leaving it within ICANN legally and
> practically (finance, HR etc).  A slightly bigger departure is as a wholly
> owned subsidiary company of ICANN with an operating agreement. The most
> radical approach as outlined by Milton months ago is more complicated, but
> would also work.
> In all of those cases, IANA would have made the same IANA registry changes
> (e.g.
> to the DNS root zone) as it did over the past decade, correct?   If that's
> not the case,
> I'd like to understand what it would have done differently and how the
> proposed
> "changed accountability environment for names"  would have produced a
> different
> outcome.
We aren't talking about the past, we are talking about the future in the
absence of the real or imagined restraint of the NTIA Contract being in
place, and all the implications of that on how ICANN behaves or might
behave, now or in the short or medium term.

> I think you'll find that IANA has been following directions accurately,
> but there's quite a
> bit of "DNS policy implementation" which takes place within ICANN and that
> sometimes
> heads in unexpected directions.  If this is the case, focusing on IANA
> accountability is
> missing the root cause of the angst that is being experienced, yes?

I think the root cause of the angst is ICANN's culture, and its failure to
conceive of its role as primarily serving the community.

That cultural failure leads to the sorts of staff and Board decisions that
have eroded trust between ICANN-the-organisation and the ICANN community.

That leads to process and accountability pushes, because those who are not
internal to ICANN-the-organisation appear to be unable to shape its culture.

Thus part of the desire to separate ICANN-the-organisation from
IANA-the-operator. Relates too to Andrew Sullivan's post of yesterday and
the discussion there, where we need to blend structures for accountability
with trust in the people inhabiting them.

As an aside - it would have been a lot easier to deal with all this if the
stewardship-transition-related accountability debate was integrated with
the stewardship-transition debate.


> Thanks!
> /John
> Disclaimer: my views alone.

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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