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

Seth Johnson seth.p.johnson at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 16:50:32 UTC 2014

Well, presuming that we're speaking very generally, not just
particular operations/functions, one approximation of rooting things
in a context of the priority of rights might be something like a
"House of Rights."  That's where you have an organ that is coordinate
to the topmost regular processes, whose function is to represent local
governments (some of which are more free than others, of course) as
the source of fundamental liberties.  It would not be responsible for
day-to-day "operations" or "policy development," but simply veto power
and recommendations.  That is, participants in this body would
politick among themselves to produce majorities that would override
the regular process on the basis of fundamental liberties, and
supplement these decisions with recommendations.

Not the same, even a proposition of enormity, but once we start facing
the fact that we're losing our stewardship context, this would be
evident as the sort of things you really have to do as a an "interim"
kind of framework for doing things.  This is a way you could have a
definitive register of fundamental liberties, giving an approximation
of the context we want by recognizing liberties as deriving from
governments set up by their respective peoples, while the regular
conduct can be set up in a variety of perfectly typical, everyday ways
and proceed much as freely as our local governments do.  It just
establishes a really strong "representative organ," limited to veto
power and recommendations.

I would hold that you're not really seriously dealing with the
international arena's implications unless you see that this sort of
conception is what's really needed.

There are precedents for something somewhat similar, like the ILO.


On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 12:30 PM, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:
> On Sep 4, 2014, at 7:14 PM, Seth Johnson <seth.p.johnson at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> On 31/08/2014, at 7:09 pm, John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:
>>>> ...
>>>> By "internal", are you asking wether such could be adequate based on
>>>> ICANN's current specific governance structures, or asking more generically
>>>> the question of "can any organization be accountable to an external
>>>> community for performance of a task", and have the accountability
>>>> anchored solely via internal mechanisms?"
>> Yes, an organization can be accountable to an external community for
>> performance of a task and have have the accountability anchored (nto
>> solely) via internal mechanisms.
>> The paradigm case is democracy itself.
>> ...
>> You have an internal system, which is the business of regular
>> elections, with representatives and participation, and also an external
>> system, in a relationship to the people who set up the system.
>> The biggest problem with the transition is in fact the tendency to
>> overlook the fact that the moorings of the stewardship we have had are
>> being removed.  Contracts and internal organizational structures (and
>> international treaties about rights signed onto and interpreted by
>> governments) don't really compensate for the loss of a relationship to
>> the solid basis of a constitutional act.
> That may be true with respect to governments, but whether it is applicable
> to the present situation with ICANN remains to be seen...
>> Just for you to take into account.  There are some ways to establish
>> something approximating this relationship to what's really the
>> strongest basis for accountability to a context that holds fundamental
>> liberties paramount.
> Okay, presuming everyone accepts the premise, what exactly would you suggest
> for ICANN's accountability mechanisms?  Would these be internal in nature, and
> if so, what is the "context" to which these mechanisms would be anchored?
> Thanks!
> /John
> Disclaimer: my views alone.

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