Meeting of the at-large folks: Brief overview by YJ Park on the background: 2000 elections of five at-large directors, under the condition that more directors would be elected later; at-large study committee and their recommendations, Ghana decisions. Present situation: No guarantee on whether or not there will be at-large directors in the new ICANN. Nominating Committee process with ALAC sending some of the committee members. Brief historical background on icannatlarge.org: Interim panel after the Ghana meeting, second election (11 panel members) in August.
From the board, Nii Quaynor and Andy Müller-Maguhn attend. Andy on ICANN: Board originally about a balance between users and providers. 9-to-9 situation suggested in the original bylaws: 9 elected by at-large, 9 elected by SOs, and a CEO on the board. More background about the 2000 elections. On his time as a director: People may have expected him to be fundamental opposition. However, best way is to be constructive, getting some influence on the outcome of the process. Make sure they mention user interests. Intellectual Property got into the process very early; freedom of speech and privacy are not in. Balance is missing. USG more affected by industry lobbies than by civil rights folks. Don’t overestimate the board. Real power: CEO, staff, lawyers. Real discussions only in conspiracy evening dinner, not in public board sessions.
Nii Quaynor: Comes from a community which can hardly be represented by the DNSO’s more powerful constituencies. How to find participation mechanisms for them. Strong barriers – legal, fiscal, process and system, sometimes you don’t even get a visa. Geographic diversity is crucial, include staff. Is member of the ERC. Is more comfortable with small changes. Expected small tweaks, turned out to be big, fundamental changes. Hard to keep up for his community. Don’t change too many variables at the same time.
YJ: After years of effort, no outcome. In the beginning, 9 directors were supposed to be there. Now: ALAC, but no guarantee that there are “at-large directors” through Nominating Committee process. How to get directors who care?
Esther on funding for ALAC: No guarantees in current reform proposals, but it’s crucial. Andy: Funding unlikely. Discussions: Was at-large a good idea? GAC claims to represent users since represent elected governments. Legitimacy question. At-large directors subject to strong questions on their legitimacy. His idea: Get NGOs into the structure just like there is intellectual property etc. Strong organizations around issues, not so much diverse groups of individuals. Question to person from the NTIA who participates in the meeting: MoU is vague. Some comments about what USG thinks about legitimacy? NTIA: MoU is about getting user groups more involved. It’s not a blanket. Ass. Secy Victory met with many groups over the course of the reform process to come to conclusion. NTIA can’t fix ICANN’s problems. Not involved in ICANN’s corporate governance. ICANN has one year to fix itself. It’s up to ICANN and its constituencies. Current bylaws are a step in the right direction. But lots of changes pending. NTIA open to listening to many entities. Esther: Involved with that kind of negotiation in the past. Like ICANN could cut off Verisign’s air supply but never will, USG won’t. USG can impose conditions on renewal. Right amount of pressure needs to apply. DoC: MoU for one year. Specific provision on tasks ICANN has to complete. Number of people looking at other options. Ass. Secy. is very strict. New way of looking at ICANN. Different US administration like the one when the first MoU was signed. You guys have to get together. Everyone is complaining. Nii: Involvement by just one govt may be part of the problem. International organizations? No level playing field at present. May be better to have network of networks instead of individual participation.
Roger Cochetti: Clarify perspective. VSGN has had an interest in at-large elections. Why? For Verisign, issue has much to do with accountability. Benefit to elections is less democracy by itself than that openly elected directors are forced to openly explain what they did and why. Elections are a powerful tool to enforce accountability. Some percentage of the board should be elected. Forces a lot of accountability. Have financially supported at-large efforts. Statement to ERC a few days ago indicated that one of the committee’s mistakes was removal of elected board members in favor of closed-circuit nominating committee approach. Current approach reduces accountability of board members. ALAC doesn’t do too much harm, but irrelevant to VSGN’s objective.
(Notetaker absent for some minutes.)
Issues: ALAC participation in policy-development. This must happen as early as possible. Funding for the committee. Transition process.
Role of governments; governance without governments? Esther: Representation? Maybe rather get different perspectives.