[discuss] [ianatransition] Fwd: [IP] WSJ: The Internet Power Vacuum Worsens

Nigel Roberts nigel at roberts.co.uk
Mon Sep 8 17:42:21 UTC 2014

Patricio is, as I would expect, absolutely correct.

And it's very important to note the distinction between policy that is 
either binding, or is taken to be so by the actors involed, and a "news 
memo" which Jon dashed off when he was getting awkward letters from a 
number of governments asking him why he "gave away the countries TLDs" 
to private individuals and companies.

On 09/08/2014 05:53 PM, Patricio Poblete wrote:
> Mike,
> You are probably thinking of the sentence "The IANA takes the desires 
> of the government of the country very seriously". That is not in 
> RFC1591. It appeared later in ccTLD News Memo #1.
> Patricio
> On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:56 PM, Mike Roberts <mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us 
> <mailto:mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us>> wrote:
>     Did anyone think that right wing America Firsters wouldn’t use as
>     much FUD as they could muster to try to derail the NTIA
>     initiative?  Check some of the Congressional grand stand statements.
>     This mess of mistatement and innuendo is SOP.
>     A “majority” of governments are authoritarian?  That’s a pretty
>     big paintbrush.
>     As Jon Postel said way back in 1591, governments do matter.
>      Multistakeholderism without a role for governments isn’t going to
>     work.  ICANN is actually trying to smoke out behind the scenes
>     gorilla behavior in the GAC by requiring recorded votes with a
>     majority needed for “advice.”  Raising the Board threshold for
>     rejecting the advice is a nominal quid pro quo with little effect.
>     - Mike
>     On Sep 8, 2014, at 6:49 AM, Miles Fidelman
>     <mfidelman at meetinghouse.net <mailto:mfidelman at meetinghouse.net>>
>     wrote:
>>     Well, isn't this a nice kettle of fish.
>>     -------- Forwarded Message --------
>>       The Internet Power Vacuum Worsens
>>         The U.S. hasn't even abandoned its Web protection yet, and
>>         authoritarians are making their move.
>>       By
>>       Sept. 7, 2014 5:11 p.m. ET
>>       The Obama administration plan to give up U.S. protection of the
>>       open Internet won't take effect for a year, but authoritarian
>>       governments are already moving to grab control. President Obama
>>       is learning it's as dangerous for America to create a vacuum of
>>       power in the digital world as in the real one.
>>       In March the administration asked Icann, the Internet
>>       Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to suggest a plan
>>       for overseeing the Internet after September 2015, when U.S.
>>       governance is scheduled to end. The U.S. charged this group,
>>       which maintains the root-zone file of domain names and
>>       addresses, with somehow finding mechanisms to prevent other
>>       governments from undermining the permissionless, free-speech
>>       Internet built under U.S. oversight.
>>       Instead, Icann set up a process to hand control over to
>>       governments. Under the current "multistakeholder" system, an
>>       advisory group of governments has only as much power as other
>>       stakeholders, such as Web registries, website owners,
>>       free-speech groups and other nonprofits. But in August, Icann
>>       quietly proposed changing its bylaws to rubber-stamp government
>>       decisions unless two-thirds of the Icann board objects. In
>>       turn, Iran has proposed that the government group move to
>>       majority voting from the current consensus approach. That would
>>       enable the world's majority of authoritarian governments to
>>       rewire the Internet more to their liking.
>>       Enlarge Image
>>       Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
>>       What will this mean? Authoritarian governments could for the
>>       first time censor the Web globally, not just in their own
>>       countries. Russia could get Icann to withdraw Ukrainian sites.
>>       China could engineer the world-wide removal of sites supporting
>>       freedom for Hong Kong or Tibet. Iran could censor its critics
>>       in the U.S. Website operators could also expect new global fees
>>       and regulations.
>>       Such a change "would fundamentally transform Icann away from
>>       being a 'bottom-up' and 'private sector-led' organization and
>>       into a governmental regulatory agency," wrote Robin Gross, a
>>       former chairman of the Icann group representing nonprofits, on
>>       the CircleID blog. "Why Icann would voluntarily choose to
>>       empower non-democratic governments with an even greater say
>>       over global Internet policies as this bylaw change would do is
>>       anyone's guess."
>>       The Internet Commerce Association, which represents Web
>>       businesses, warns that the proposal "would transform Icann into
>>       a government-led organization," which is "completely counter"
>>       to the U.S. requirement that the Internet remain free of
>>       government control.
>>       In a speech in July, a U.S. Commerce Departmentofficial played
>>       down the danger. "The idea that governments could enhance their
>>       influence within Icann by changing its rules to allow for a
>>       majority vote on policy issues reflects a misunderstanding of
>>       the policymaking process at Icann," said Assistant Secretary
>>       Lawrence Strickling. Wrong. Mr. Strickling and his
>>       administration colleagues have misunderstood how serious other
>>       governments are about filling the vacuum of power with repression.
>>       Icann also upset all its major stakeholder groups by ignoring
>>       their demand to make it more accountable absent U.S. oversight.
>>       Stakeholders had instructed Icann to create an "independent
>>       accountability mechanism that provides meaningful review and
>>       adequate redress for those harmed by Icann action or inaction
>>       in contravention of an agreed-upon compact with the community."
>>       Instead, Icann announced that it would oversee itself.
>>       A dozen stakeholder groups quickly sent Icann chief Fadi
>>       Chehade a letter objecting. "How does Icann intend to handle
>>       the inherent conflict of interest with developing its own
>>       accountability plan?" they asked. "Why didn't Icann invite
>>       proposals from the community and why wasn't the community
>>       involved in the drafting of the staff plan?"
>>       An objection sent jointly by business and nonprofit stakeholder
>>       groups to the Icann board said: "This plan, imposed on the
>>       community without transparency and without the opportunity for
>>       public comment, creates inconsistency, disregards proper Icann
>>       procedure, injects unfairness into the process and defeats the
>>       purpose of the entire accountability examination."
>>       Philip Corwin, a lawyer specializing in Icann issues, calls
>>       pushback against the organization "unprecedented." Last week,
>>       Icann agreed to put off the new rules, but only for a brief
>>       comment period.
>>       Much of the blame for the splintering of the multistakeholder
>>       system lies with Mr. Obama's naïveté in putting Internet
>>       governance up for grabs. He underestimated the importance of
>>       Washington's control in maintaining an open Internet—and the
>>       desire among other governments to close the Internet. And there
>>       still is no plan to keep Icann free from control by governments.
>>       Administration officials pledged to Congress that the U.S.
>>       would keep control over the Internet if the alternative was to
>>       empower other governments or if there isn't full accountability
>>       for Icann. Both red lines have been crossed.
>>       If Mr. Obama persists, Congress should block his plan with a
>>       simple message: The open Internet is too valuable to surrender.
>>        1. <http://online.wsj.com/articles/l-gordon-crovitz-the-internet-power-vacuum-worsens-1410124265#>
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