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

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Wed Sep 10 20:27:37 UTC 2014

On Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 07:53:14PM +0000, Milton L Mueller wrote:
> A good way to reconcile those two requirements is to have an "independent judiciary" with the authority to enforce binding, constitutional limitations on what the policy process can do. This appeals process could be used to challenge ultra vires policies, to challenge major process failures, or to challenge implementations that do not reflect agreed policies. All of these challenges should take place BEFORE anything hits the IANA, of course. If policy (ICANN) and IANA are integrated in the same organization, it becomes harder to enforce that kind of accountability, imho. 

Given the "BEFORE" in that, am I to understand that you intend this
"independent judiciary" to be inside each community function, or do
you intend it to be another community/entity/organization outside all
the existing ones?

I think the former might be ok -- indeed, it's really just an
effective appeal/redress mechanism, and is consistent with the idea of
minimal change to the systems.

The latter interpretation is rather more problematic to me.  To begin
with, I don't really see how we're going to get such an organization
spun up in anything like reasonable time.  There's also the issue of
how to balance _its_ power: the ability of various countries' supreme
courts have made them ideal targets for politicised appointments, with
the very goal of imposing over the long term policies which cannot be
sustained by the ballot box.  (If you can water down election spending
limits in the legislature, you can win a victory for a while; if you
can get them ruled unconsistitutional, you've _really_ won.)  The
obvious answer, of course, is an appeal mechanism which then itself
needs the same appeal mechanism, and so on.

Moreover, I'm reasonably confident that at least one community thinks
that its existing accountability mechanisms are an internal matter,
and that it would be at least uncomfortable with the idea of an
external party imposing oversight.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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