ICANN and the Governments

GAC member Robert Shaw reports, in his weblog, that his committee colleagues were “extremely surprised” by the Blueprint for Reform. He also mentions that the board apparently plans to actually adopt a revised version of the blueprint in the end o…

GAC member Robert Shaw reports, in his weblog, that his committee colleagues were “extremely surprised” by the Blueprint for Reform. He also mentions that the board apparently plans to actually adopt a revised version of the blueprint in the end of this week, according to statements made by Alejandro Pisanty in a meeting with the GAC. Shaw doesn’t sound too amused that the board didn’t tell the GAC before.

On a (not obviously) similar front, there is a story worth reading up at ICANNwatch: Under the title Legitimacy and Effectiveness Through Consensus, David Johnson, Susan Crawford, and Becky Burr argue that “for a number of reasons, both practical and profound, we think that eliminating the consensus requirement is the wrong answer to solving ICANN’s legitimacy problem.” Instead, they suggest that “the Board should be more active in pushing the consensus policy process along”, by “appointing a facilitator who would be personally responsible for creating the written consensus policy report (and could be trusted to do an unbiased job)” within a tight deadline. The “facilitator” would work by gathering position papers, “facilitating consensus” (whatever that means), performing outrach to those “likely to be affected.” According to the authors, the process outlined can “force dissenting parties to articulate the reasons why they oppose a proposed policy”. It would then be the board’s job to check for “unjustifiable opposition”, and to possibly override some of the dissent observed. However, the board is not supposed to define the “public interest” by itself.

Of course, the document is more elaborate than what I can summarize in a couple of sentences here – you should really read it yourself. What makes this even more interesting is an anonymous comment, allegedly coming from Richard Hill (ITU-T). He writes: “Fascinating. While the details differ, the general principles and the outline of the working methods proposed by David, Susan, and Becky are remarkably similar to the working methods of ITU, and, for that matter, of all international treaty organizations and of many goverernments. […] In the case of the ITU (and I believe that the ITU is unique in this respect) the working methods have been agreed not just by 189 governments, but also by industry (the 650 ITU Sector Members). As noted elswhere, the ITU Sector Members include many (or even most) of the well-known players in the Internet, whether equipment manufacturers or service providers.”