[discuss] [ianatransition] Fwd: [IP] WSJ: The Internet Power Vacuum Worsens
seth.p.johnson at gmail.com
Mon Sep 8 23:29:44 UTC 2014
It's best to focus on assuring we can maintain the kind of stewardship
context we've been accustomed to. Even "policy agreements" among private
parties (contractually based or consensus pow-wows) have been possible in
the first place because we've been able to just get together as free
individuals and simply hash out what works.
On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 5:17 PM, Mike Roberts <mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us> wrote:
> It is entirely consistent with the White Paper, the NTIA-ICANN MOU, the
> original NTIA-ICANN agreement re IANA, and the creation of ICANN’s ASO, PSO
> and DNSO Supporting Organizations in 1999, when it was issued.
> If you want to go back and challenge the legitimacy of the various
> directives issued at that time by the government, and the actions of the
> ICANN Board to implement them, have at it. They have been rehearsed here
> and elsewhere for some years. Given that ICANN was created, among other
> reasons, to provide a private sector forum for resolving DNS disputes, and
> that resolved disputes frequently have winners and losers, it is not likely
> that ICANN will ever be a quiet place.
> I have been on record for a very long time to the effect that ICANN’s
> flimsy legal base needs shoring up. In the present miserable political
> situation in the US, that is not going to happen. (And considering the
> ongoing globalization of the net, perhaps should not happen.) There is now
> fifteen years and counting of precedental legal framework around ICANN that
> has built on the original foundation, flimsy or not. I very much doubt that
> one could find much support for starting over.
> - Mike
> On Sep 8, 2014, at 2:40 PM, Nigel Roberts <nigel at roberts.co.uk> wrote:
> And actually this is the problem.
> ICP-1 has no status whatsoever. And it was written long after Jon's
> It purported not to be a change in policy. In fact, it was exactly that.
> Furthermore the very idea that ICANN can change IANA policy, affecting
> parties over which it has not statutory power or contractual relationship
> is curious.
> As a former CEO of ICANN, on what authority (in California, or elsewhere)
> do you believe this to be based?
> On 09/08/2014 06:55 PM, Mike Roberts wrote:
> Nigel - Apologies for not checking my sources carefully. What I had in
> mind, actually, was the following text from ICP-1, issued in May 1999.
> "This document is a summary of current practices of the Internet
> Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) in administering RFC 1591
> <http://www.iana.org/go/rfc1591>, which includes the guidance contained
> in ccTLD News Memo #1 <http://www.iana.org/cctld/cctld-news1.htm> dated
> October 23, 1997. It DOES NOT reflect any changes in policy affecting the
> administration of DNS delegations. It is intended to serve as the basis
> for possible future discussions of policy in this area. Changes in ICANN/
> IANApolicy will be made following public notice and comment in accordance
> with the ICANN Bylaws.”
> - Mike
> On Sep 8, 2014, at 10:42 AM, Nigel Roberts <nigel at roberts.co.uk> wrote:
> 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:
> 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.
> On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:56 PM, Mike Roberts <mmr at darwin.ptvy.ca.us>
>> 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
>> 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>
>> 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.
>> L. GORDON CROVIT
>> 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.
>> 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
>> 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.
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