28 September 2014

Comments on ICANN Enhancing Accountability and Governance Process

The Enhancing ICANN Accountability, New Comment Period on Process (see prior post on this) ended on September 27, 2014, and selected excerpts follow:

Comments of the Brazilian Government [editor's note: Brazil was the only government that submitted comments, and they were of the highest quality of all comments submitted although some are substantive in nature]--

Brazil believes the concept of public interest mentioned in the NETmundial Statement should be seen as encompassing the larger interest of the different communities involved in the Internet Governance processes and not be limited to the interests and objectives of private corporations

With all due respect to the ongoing efforts carried out in the context of the Accountability and Transparency Review Teams (ATRTs), Brazil believes self-review and nonbinding reports should not be deemed as real accountability;

ICANN’s staff should not play a major role in the accountability process – limited perhaps to a supporting role - since ICANN would have a clear conflict of interest in that regard. In particular, ICANN´s staff for instance should not be allowed to unilaterally amend registry contracts;

ICANN’s accountability problem is somehow built into its own organizational structure. Unfortunately, the corporation constitutes a form of governance in which there is no clear separation and independence of powers.

Brazil believes it is crucial to make sure the this process is structured in a way that all stakeholders feel fully involved – including governments - in order to ensure that the final outcome of the exercise is also considered legitimate by all participants;

On a more substantive point, Brazil believes there is an urgent need for an overhaul of ICANN´s procedures, rules and decision making processes with a view to a more transparent, clear, effective and predictable policy development. The "rules of the game" should be clearly set forth and should include appropriate community-driven redress, appeal and enforcement mechanisms.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce--Much of the September 18 response letter [see below*] seemed to focus on the need to develop trust between the ICANN Board and those stakeholders involved in the accountability process. While we are confident the Board will act in the best interests of the global community, the Chamber suggests injecting transparency into the role and responsibility of the Board.

INTA Internet Committee--We believe that there is a need to ensure that the role and voice of the full spectrum of the business sector is heard as it will be integral to obtaining governmental support of any new ICANN framework resulting from the accountability process. In this regard, the staff proposal’s limitation on participation in the Coordination Group to only one representative per GNSO stakeholder group is inadequate and would not even ensure the participation of business interests and/or brand-owners through the Business Constituency or the Intellectual Property Consistency.

Richard Hill--I agree with those who have criticized this process, in particular because it gives full powers to the ICANN Board. Since the issue is how to replace the oversight provided to date by an organization external to ICANN (NTIA), the decision regarding replacing that oversight should not, in my view, be made by ICANN itself. The decision should be made by the global multi-stakeholder community, as called for by NTIA in its announcement regarding the transition of stewardship of the IANA function.

More background info here: Enhancing ICANN Accountability Process - ICANN, including--
  • Questions from the leadership of multiple Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees, Stakeholder Groups and Constituencies on the process are available here [PDF, 106 KB].
  • Stephen Crocker and Fadi Chehadé respond to questions about the Enhancing ICANNAccountability Efforts here [PDF, 501 KB].--Sept 18, 2014 letter*
  • All of the comments submitted by the September 27th deadline are here

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