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

Seth Johnson seth.p.johnson at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 17:06:59 UTC 2014

Let me also state that I'm not confident I've limited this prospective
organ adequately.  The question being how do you become just about
rights and not just create an "inter-governmental rights" body that's
similar to a non-acting executive?  Is that out of hand or workable?

But the basic point is putting rights at the right place in the
overall system, based on recognition that they really are essentially
rooted in the peoples who claim their position in the order.


On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 12:50 PM, Seth Johnson <seth.p.johnson at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Seth
> 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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