[Reader-list] danny younger: ICANN - The Case for Replacing its Management Team

t byfield tbyfield at panix.com
Tue Feb 26 12:23:21 IST 2002

for those unfamiliar with ICANN, i'm sad to say that it would
take a lot more time than i now have to bring you up to speed.
but i do encourage you to do some catching up:

     http://tbtf.com/roving_reporter/ [start from the JDRP essay]

in the meantime, this is a damned fine history of the issue at 
hand--by someone who has put an immense amount of time, money,
and energy into trying to do some good. if he sounds bitter, he
has very good reason.



An Individual's Report:         
ICANN - The Case for Replacing its Management Team

25 February 2002


To the Internet Community:

Like M. Stuart Lynn, I have been involved in ICANN activities for just
about a year. During that time, as a customer service representative
for a leading domain name registrar, I have talked to thousands of
individuals about domain name issues, ICANN, and problems encountered
by the Internet user community.  I have also had the honor to serve as
Chair of the General Assembly of ICANN's Domain Name Supporting
Organization (DNSO), and much like Mr. Lynn I feel comfortable enough
with my state of knowledge and accumulated experience that I too seek
to share my views with the Board and the community.

Danny Younger


The designation of ICANN as the entity responsible for the
administrative and policy management of the Internet's naming and
address allocation systems was the culmination of years of intensive
discussions on optimum structure and core principles which first began
to coalesce in the May 1996 document known as "draft-Postel".  This
initial proposal envisioned the creation of multiple, exclusive,
competing top-level domain name registries which would be managed by
the Internet Society (ISOC), a mass-membership consensus-based
organization that served as the institutional home for the Internet
Architecture Board (IAB) and for the Internet Engineering Task Force

After a period of debate, Dr. Postel's initial plan did not manage to
succeed in producing consensus within the Internet community.  As Kent
Crispin wrote:  "No WG [Working Group] was formed. Jon never actively
participated in the mailing lists supposedly discussing it. Even to an
outsider like me who is very supportive, it does look like an "Old Boy
Network" kind of thing."

>From early on it was apparent that a wide range of public input and
due process were basic requirements that needed to be respected.
Accordingly, the Internet Society (in conjunction with IANA, the World
Intellectual Property organization (WIPO), the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the Federal Networking Council
(FNC)), decided to organize a team effort known as the International
Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) which subsequently authored a more acceptable
draft plan in December 1996.

The IAHC draft introduced unique and thoughtful concepts for the
evolution of DNS administration, proposing a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) that would have established, initially, seven new
gTLDs to be operated on a nonexclusive basis by a consortium of new
private domain name registrars called the Council of Registrars
(CORE).  In this proposal policy oversight would have been undertaken
within a council composed of specified stakeholder groups.  This
draft, in due course, also failed to attain widespread acceptance, the
proposal ultimately succumbing to the criticism that it was not
sufficiently representative of the broader Internet community.

The U.S. Government began to feel the growing pressure to change DNS
management and soon thereafter acted (through its Department of
Commerce and NTIA) to request public comment on the direction of U.S.
policy with respect to DNS:  Appropriate Principles,
General/Organizational Framework Issues, Creation of New gTLDs,
Policies for Registries, and Trademark Issues.  This request was
followed by the issuance of the Green Paper in January 1998.

The Green Paper acknowledged the principle of broad user
representation and proposed a 15-member Board structure for a new
corporation consisting of three representatives of regional number
registries (APNIC, ARIN, RIPE), two members designated by the IAB, two
members representing domain name registries and registrars, a Chief
Executive Officer, and seven members representing Internet users.
Even at this early stage, the importance of an equal balance between
user and provider interests was clearly recognized as an "appropriate

The Green Paper was soon after followed by the White Paper which
contained official U.S. policy:
* private-sector action is preferable to government control
* policies will depend on input from Internet users
* the private process should reflect bottom-up governance
* structures should reflect the functional and geographic diversity
of the Internet and its users
* international participation in decision making is to be ensured

Again, the emphasis on the role of Internet users is noted, as well as
the need to respect the worldwide character of the Internet.

Following the release of the White Paper, in the summer of 1998 an
International Forum on the White paper (IFWP) was convened in order to
design the bylaws of what would become ICANN, with the goal of
translating the White Paper's broad principles into operational
rules.  Proposals were tendered by ORSC (among others) and by a set of
participants that called themselves the Boston Working Group (BWG).
This group proposed both bylaws and articles of incorporation that
included membership provisions for the user community.

The BWG found a foe in Jon Postel at IANA whose views were shared by
others with close ties to ISOC.  This IANA-led group opposed the
concept of membership, opposed linking users and technical
coordination, and produced a set of bylaws for a powerful closed
corporation that need not answer to the demands of 'members' (as there
would be no 'members').  Neither principles of separation, nor checks
on its powers, would ever stand in the way of the vision of this
oligarchy of engineers.

This conflict between the two groups quickly came to the attention of
the U.S. Department of Commerce.

When bylaws were finally tendered by interim ICANN Chairman of the
Board Esther Dyson, the NTIA was quick to express its concerns on many
provisions, including the language pertaining to membership.

Ms. Dyson replied:  "The "membership" issue has been perhaps the most
widely debated issue in the discussions that have occurred since the
White paper was issued last June.  In fact, the October 2 bylaws
provided that there would be four separate membership organizations:
three specialized Supporting Organizations that would each elect three
Directors, and an At large membership that would elect nine
directors... Some remain concerned that the Initial Board could simple
amend the bylaws and remove membership provisions that we have just
described above.  We commit this will not happen."


Thus begins the tale of the tangled web....

Since its inception, ICANN management has plotted a path to deceive,
and has made every attempt within its power to squirm out of its
promise to the U.S. Government to seat nine At-Large Directors,
seeking to thoroughly deny the prospect of full user participation in
the technical and policy coordination activities of the Corporation.
The latest attempt is enshrined in the recent commentary of M. Stuart
Lynn, ICANN's Chief Executive Officer who notes that "the single
largest distraction from what should have been the central ICANN focus
has been the many competing notions of an At Large membership."

Mr. Lynn goes on to state:  "I am now persuaded, after considerable
reflection, that this concept was flawed from the beginning. The
notion is noble but deeply unrealistic, and likely to generate more
harm than good. We now have three years of very hard effort by a wide
variety of people to arrive at some workable consensus solution - and
there still is none. If a blue-ribbon committee - headed ably by a
former Prime Minister of Sweden and United Nations Representative to
Bosnia, and populated by highly respected and hardworking members -
cannot generate a community consensus on this subject, it is likely
there is no consensus to be found."

Let us examine Mr. Lynn's argument and act to expose the blatant fraud
being perpetrated...

Prior to the last cycle of elections the ICANN Board first resolved to
begin eliminating the prospect of user representation by limiting the
number of At-Large Directors from nine to five, citing as
justification for this reduction the need to evaluate the
"considerable diversity of views concerning the purpose of and
rationale for the At Large membership".

After the election was successfully conducted and concluded, the Board
next acted to further cripple the prospect of continued At-Large
participation by launching a comprehensive "clean sheet study" of the
concept, structure and processes relating to an "At Large" membership
for the Corporation which would focus on "issues" such as "Whether the
ICANN Board should include "At Large" Directors".  This study
perniciously re-opened a question that had long-been settled:  Should
Internet users have a role in technical coordination activities?  The
answer in 1998 was a definite "yes" as the Department of Commerce's
recognition of ICANN was conditioned on its membership provisions, and
the concept of membership was broadly supported in plans ranging from
the draft-Postel to the IAHC draft and on through the IFWP process.

Despite this, at its 2000 Yokohama meeting the ICANN board modified
the bylaws to state: "previous decisions and conclusions regarding an
'At Large' membership will be informative but not determinative."  The
At-Large Study Committee was then convened to further the process of
killing off the At-large.

The composition of this "blue-ribbon committee" conveniently included
no At-Large Director, no At-Large advocate, and no At-Large
supporters. Instead, the ALSC was populated almost exclusively by
members of the ICANN-ISOC inner circle (the former Chair of the ICANN
Board Esther Dyson, the former vice-Chair of the ICANN Board Pindar
Wong, ISOC-Benin Chapter president Pierre Dandjinou, ISOC-France
Chairman Olivier Iteanu, ISOC-Mexico Board member Oscar Robles, and
ICANN Staff member Denise Michel).  The addition of members such as
Carl Bildt, Thomas Niles, Ching-Yi Liu, and Charles Costello merely
created the shallow veneer of respectability that was needed to shield
the sham and simply served to better conceal the Committee's
predetermined conclusions.

The Final Report of the Committee at
http://www.atlargestudy.org/final_report.shtml pointed to an
exhaustive trail of outreach including Public Forum activities and
sixteen sessions with members of the broader Internet community.
While almost 100% of the participants on the Public Forum espoused the
view that ICANN should honor its commitment to the U.S. Government to
seat at least nine At-Large Directors, the Committee somehow managed
to point to a "consensus" to reduce At-Large Directors from nine to
six.  This "consensus" apparently was predicated on comments obtained
in their sixteen outreach sessions that for some reason were never
formally recorded, never documented, nor supported by any public
record.  In short, after having spent $450,000 to perform a critical
study, the public is offered no evidence of anything coming close to
approximating scholarship, and certainly no evidence of even
rudimentary methodology...  the public is offered nothing other than
the unsubstantiated and distorted claims of ICANN insiders bent on the
destruction of the At-Large.

Distortion is ICANN's and the Committee's primary tool.  Rather than
accepting the fact that the last ICANN election essentially worked
(even with its minor flaws), the ALSC has concentrated on creating the
impression that the Internet Community cannot arrive at a consensus on
matters of implementation regarding election processes, membership
criteria, funding, structure, or even in interest in an At-Large.  To
further this notion, the Committee has crafted propositions calculated
to provoke an immediately hostile response (such as the pre-condition
of domain name ownership for worldwide At-Large members and the notion
that a fee must accompany the voting process).  In such fashion, the
Committee then contends that the Internet Community cannot come to an
agreement and that "consensus" on elections still remains "elusive"
(even though the Committee purports to see a value in having six
At-large Directors).  In turn, the Committee view (that they cannot
generate a community consensus), is echoed by Stuart Lynn and the
circle is now nearly complete.

All that remains now is to destroy the opposition by branding them as
"unrealistic" critics.  As can be expected, practically every
reasonable recommendation submitted to the ALSC to address the
above-cited concerns has been met with a steady flow of curtly phrased
scorn and derision, and even the comprehensive and scholarly efforts
of the NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS), funded by the prestigious
Markle Foundation, are denigrated as the work of egalitarians by the
former CEO of ICANN Mike Roberts.  In short, a full-court press has
been launched by ICANN insiders in a carefully crafted attempt to rid
the ICANN of user representation at all costs.

Messages to the Public Forum, revealing the lengths to which ICANN
(and outside legal counsel Joe Sims) will go to eliminate the At-Large
http://www.icannwatch.com/article.php?sid=554  mysteriously fail to
appear in the ALSC forum archives soon after insider-favorite Kent
Crispin takes on the role of Technical Systems manager, and the
control of articulated dissent is complete.

The U.S. Government has been deceived.  ICANN's MoU with the DoC
stipulates that ICANN will "Collaborate on the design, development,
and testing of appropriate membership mechanisms that foster
accountability to and representation of the global and functional
diversity of the Internet and its users, within the structure of
private- sector DNS management organization".  It appears that this
commitment will now only be honored in the breach as ICANN-IANA
completes its efforts that it started on day one of its establishment
to deny any degree of meaningful representation to Internet users.

Mr. Lynn states:  "Three years of effort have proven that a global
online election of ICANN Board members by an entirely unknown and
self-selected membership is not a workable solution to this problem."
He further states:  "For all these reasons, I have come to the
conclusion that the concept of At Large membership elections from a
self-selected pool of unknown voters is not just flawed, but fatally
flawed, and that continued devotion of ICANN's very finite energy and
resources down this path will very likely prevent the creation of an
effective and viable institution."

What could be more fitting for ICANN Management than to pass off a
successful election that produced a fine crop of At-large Directors as
a monumental failure, and to lay all the blame for ICANN's woes at the
feet of the yet unborn At-Large?  This is pure and unadulterated
pursuit of total control by oligarchy at the expense of the
user-interest, and a vicious slap in the face of public policy as
articulated by the U.S. Government.  The ICANN has proven that it did
not provide a "clean sheet" solely to study the At-Large, it was
provided only as a shroud in which to bury the concerns of Internet
users.  Three years of effort, on the wrong path, by the wrong
Management, has led us to our current state-of-affairs.  It's time to
replace those that have forsaken the principles upon which the
Internet was built; it's time to rid ourselves of those that deny the
role of the Internet user and to designate replacements before the DoC
elects to designate a "successor agency" to ICANN.

The Case for Replacing Management:

Mr. Lynn notes that "ICANN is overburdened with process, and at the
same time is underfunded and understaffed."  This statement alone
bears sufficient testimony to the need to replace our current
management team (as we have placed the health of the Corporation, and
the stability of the DNS, solely within their charge and we are now
met with pathetic excuses rather than the promise of results).

Mr. Lynn goes on to state:  "ICANN in its current form has not become
the effective steward of the global Internet's naming and address
allocation systems as conceived by its founders. Perhaps even more
importantly, the passage of time has not increased the confidence that
it can meet its original expectations and hopes."  A tacit
acknowledgement of failure does little to engender confidence in one's
management, especially when weak rationalizations are offered to
justify the sad state of affairs:  "I have come to the conclusion that
the original concept of a purely private sector body, based on
consensus and consent, has been shown to be impractical."

Concepts of consensus and consent are not at the root of ICANN's
difficulties, contrariwise it is the  failure to even recognize or
accept consensus that has fatally poisoned the ICANN well.  The
refusal to accept the principle of consensus, a core value that has
characterized the bottom-up development of the Internet to date, has
marred the proper development of ICANN since the early days of the
IFWP controversies.  Continuing through the period of the
renegotiation of the VeriSign contract (wherein the uniform consensus
of the entirety of the DNSO was summarily dismissed by the ICANN
Board), we have arrived at a point where single-minded control by
ICANN insiders is now deemed to be the only salvation for an
organization that claims to have suffered from the "distractions" of
Internet user input.

Let's evaluate these distractions on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. Lynn argues that "the fact that many of those critical to global
coordination are still not willing to participate fully and
effectively in the ICANN process is strong evidence" that the concept
of consensus and consent has been shown to be impractical.  Those that
have been critical of global coordination, most notably members of the
alternate root community, have been hard pressed to express any
willingness to participate in the ICANN process owing to the
incessantly constant barrage of attacks that have been launched by Mr.
Lynn and his associates (and which reached the height of
confrontational posturing in the ICP-3 document now enshrined as
official policy:  http://www.icann.org/icp/icp-3.htm ).

This draft on the Unique and Authoritative Root was, in typical ICANN
fashion, issued without the necessary bottom-up process, without input
from the DNSO, without opportunity for informed public comment, and
without participation by ICANN's Board.  In short, it was a product of
ICANN Staff whose goal was to malign, to the greatest degree possible,
the efforts of New.net and others that stood in opposition to the
views of ICANN insiders.  This document succeeded only in producing an
exchange of legal correspondence in which the attorneys for New.net
insisted that "ICANN publicly retract its recent defamatory and
libelous statements, refrain from interfering with New.net's business
relationships, and avoid taking inappropriate actions to discourage

Admittedly, it is difficult to be willing to participate fully and
effectively in the ICANN process in the face of such hostility, but
the folks at New.net respected the consensus process and nonetheless
continued to make valiant attempts to participate at ICANN plenary
sessions.  Their subsequent offer to sponsor the session of the DNSO
General Assembly was a clear sign of their commitment to an open and
forthcoming discussion of the issues, yet as was to be expected, their
generosity was met by the cold-hearted refusal of ICANN staff to allow
them to even participate as a sponsor.

Mr. Lynn and his Staff have similarly treated the ccTLD community with
equal disdain.

Mr. Lynn chooses to articulate the view that "On the operational side,
ICANN has performed the IANA address allocation and protocol numbering
functions efficiently."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The
Marina del Rey Communiqué of the ccTLD Support Organization (in
formation) states:
* Several managers confirmed there remained problems with having
change requests attended to in a timely fashion. This represents a
potential security problem.
* European managers reported that IANA staff had confirmed to a
meeting in Slovenia on 21/22 September that no re-delegations were
going to occur without a contract between ICANN and the ccTLD,
even if the re-delegation de facto already has been taken place.
* This appears to be in breach of the conditions under which IANA
operates, and which ICANN has assumed. It may also be an abuse of
* Managers noted with disappointment the statement unilaterally
rejecting the ccTLD contract which was issued by the CEO, Stuart
Lynn to the meeting. No reasons were provided.
* He said that ICANN will never sign a contract for services.


This heavy-handed approach was even questioned on three consecutive
occasions by Director Blokzijl at the Marina del Rey session who
asked: "Negotiations use service level and change approval to get
contracts signed?!!  Or IANA provides the best service possible to

When an organization has to result to blackmail to impose its will
upon a community of users, it is a clear sign that the organization is
on the wrong path and that the current management team must
be expelled as quickly as possible.

The failure is not in the consensus and consent process... if
anything, it has been vindicated.  All but two of the 243 ccTLDs have
decided to forgo a contract with ICANN in favor of a service agreement
thereby expressing the broadly-held consensus view of the world
community that one should get what one pays for, and that mandated
payments with no relationship to the level of service provided amount
to nothing more than extortion.  Mr. Lynn threatens that "ICANN could,
in theory, recommend that a particular ccTLD be redelegated to a
cooperating administrator, and if the US Government accepted that
recommendation, non-cooperating ccTLD administrators would be
replaced."  To even publicly express such a revolting option well
demonstrates the depth to which ICANN has sunk in its pursuit of
global Internet domination.  This is not the Team that should lead
Internet policy development into the future.

Mr. Lynn and ICANN Staff have also encountered expected difficulties
attempting to force contracts down the throat of independent root name
server operators, noting that all they really gain in return is
"unwanted visibility and the attendant possibility of nuisance
litigation".  Even so, Mr. Lynn states:  "we will ultimately need a
more definitive and binding set of arrangements with the current and
any future root name server operators".   To realize this goal, Mr.
Lynn has proposed that "we must move to a system where the root server
operators are compensated for their critical services."  Simply put,
if they won't sign on the dotted line... pay them off to obtain their

The approach taken Mr. Lynn and Staff is that only contracts will
suffice to get the job done.  Instead of functioning as an Internet
coordinator, they intend to create a behemoth that through
contractual mechanisms finally emerges as an Internet "regulator".
This rapid movement to become a global Juggernaut that crushes all in
its path may be the vision of ICANN insiders, but it is not the
direction envisioned by the user community or by those that accorded
ICANN the status as the entity charged with technical coordination of
the DNS.

Early participants in the efforts to structure a coordinating entity
included the Internet Address Registries.  These registries have been
criticized by Mr. Lynn because they still will not accede to
finalizing contracts that " have been heavily negotiated over the last
two years".   As most view coordination activities in a different
light than jackbooted attempts to impose authority, it is
understandable that these registries seek to "opt out of ICANN
policies with which they do not agree" and choose to reserve the right
to take "the ultimate step of terminating the agreements".  Equally
clear is that as institutions they have the right to negotiate terms
of payment to ICANN and to establish provisions regarding "the
proportion of ICANN's funding requirements that the address registries
will provide under those agreements".

Mr. Lynn bewails the fact that major users, ISPs, and backbone
providers have steadfastly refused to participate in the ICANN
process, stating:  "The simple fact is that a private sector process
cannot effectively function if major and important elements of the
private sector do not participate productively in that process."  Mr.
Lynn seeks to conveniently overlook the fact that ICANN's Business
Constituency is heavily populated by Telecommunications firms, that
ICANN has a constituency that represents the interests of ISPs and
Connectivity Providers, and that backbone providers such as Cisco and
many others actively support efforts within the Protocol Supporting
Organization by way of hefty contributions to the Internet Engineering
Task Force -- note the organizations listed as Platinum
contributors:   http://www.isoc.org/isoc/membership/platinum.shtml

Mr. Lynn's real concern is not "participation" by these entities,
rather it is that funding is not going "directly" to ICANN.  Mr. Lynn
notes that "ICANN is very grateful to those organizations that
provided the funding that was so critical to ICANN's early survival,
but outside of those registries and registrars who are contractually
committed, broad participation [read this as "cash"]  by those
commercial entities that most depend on a reliable Internet has not
been forthcoming."

The heart of Mr. Lynn's dilemma stems from the fact that he has not
been able to bully the rest of the world into contributing to ICANN's
coffers, and that the master plan to transition to global "regulation"
cannot be accomplished without such revenues.  Accordingly, ICANN
Staff has now embarked upon a plan to solicit funds from the world's
national governments.  To the same degree that the Postel faction
believed they would escape the actual oversight of the California
Attorney General, this same group now believes that they can
ingratiate themselves with governments and continue to rule in their
characteristically heavy-handed fashion without undue inconvenience.

Mr. Lynn cites the importance of "core values" such as "openness and
transparency" (which we all know have only rarely been honored) and
argues that "it makes little difference whether ICANN is transparent,
whether it has appropriate appeal and reconsideration procedures,
whether ordinary users have a voice, or whether the Board meetings are
public or private" if national governments are not active participants
in the ICANN process.  Having chosen to alienate every other possible
participant in the Internet community, including national TLD
managers, it is no wonder that when cooperation has failed to
materialize the ICANN staff has had no other choice than to propose
soliciting aid from national governments.

The failure is not on the part of the rest of the Internet world...
the At-Large user community, the alternate root community, the ccTLDs,
the root name server operators, the address registries, the major
users, the ISPs and backbone providers, and the national governments
are not responsible for the catastrophe that ICANN has become... the
mess that we are in is wholly attributable to the machinations of
ICANN Staff that have forsaken the principles delineated by the U.S.
Government in its White Paper.  This staff must be replaced if the
world is to have the Internet coordinating entity it was promised.

ICANN Needs Significant Structural Reform:

Like Mr. Lynn, I too have argued that ICANN needs reform: deep,
meaningful, structural reform... but unlike Mr. Lynn I choose to base
it upon a clearheaded understanding of U.S. policy principles:
* consensus must be respected
* governmental intrusion into the private-sector is to be as minimal
as possible
* all policies will rely on input from Internet users
* bottom-up governance should characterize the private process
* mechanisms to ensure international participation of Internet users
in decision making must be established
* as the choice of ICANN as the entity assigned with the task of
Internet technical coordination was conditioned on membership
provisions, membership must be accorded

If present management is not capable of honoring these principles,
then we must act to "throw the bums out" and then attend to meaningful
structural reform.

With respect to reform initiatives, it is no secret that governments
have finally become aware of the poor quality of policy advice being
tendered to the ICANN Board (in particular by the Names Council of the
DNSO) and have started acting to express their discontent.  This
reality has led to the formation of a joint Board-Government Committee
known as the .info Country Names Discussion Group (ICNG) which at
least allowed government participants in the ICANN process to feel
that their concerns might be properly considered.

That views have not been properly considered by the DNSO bears ongoing
testimony to the failure of ICANN's current management.  A review
process was initiated well over a year ago of the DNSO organization.
The public record of the Review Working Group
http://www.dnso.org/wgroups/wg-review/Arc02/maillist.html clearly
documents a consensus view that the horrific condition of the DNSO
required either the immediate abolition of the constituency (special
interest group) structure or enhanced participation by other
constituent groups (such as individuals).  Not only were these
recommendations ignored by the ICANN Board, but it chose to not even
comment when the Names Council peremptorily terminated the life of the
Working Group.

A dysfunctional DNSO has served the needs of ICANN staff.  In the
absence of policy-recommending activities, Staff is at liberty to act
without encumbrance and may continue to dominate the decision-making
process at the Board level.  As in these circumstances only Staff
commentaries make it to the eyes of the Board for evaluation, there
are none to thwart the dominance of their views.

The Names Council of the DNSO has been propped up by Mr. Lynn and
ICANN staff to the exclusion of other participants in the DNSO, namely
the General Assembly (essentially a collection of Internet users that
convene in a Public Forum environment to discuss domain name issues).
In view of Mr. Lynn's low regard for the Internet user and the
At-large community, it is not surprising to note how often he and Mr.
Louis Touton (our General Counsel) have ignored the GA.

What is called for is a comprehensive reform that acknowledges the
consensus view:
* Special Interest Groups (constituencies) cannot be structured
within a policy-recommending body in a fashion that routinely
allows them to "outvote" members representing the user interest,
and they can no longer be allowed to stifle discussions on issues
of concern to the user community
* The voice of users (individuals, small business, NGOs, etc.) must
be allowed a channel by which commentary may flow to the Board.
* The user interest must be equitably balanced against competing

A Reformed ICANN Can Be Successful

Based on the experience of the last three years and my own focus on
ICANN over the last year, I am convinced that a reformed ICANN can be
successful - if we replace the current ICANN Staff, reform our
institutional foundations to allow for the user voice, and eliminate
those Directors that stand in the way of necessary reform.

As stated by Mr. Lynn, "ICANN's mission is stewardship and operational
stability, not the defense of its existence or the preservation of the
status quo."

Having said that, it is essential to state unambiguously that which is
within ICANN's scope. According to our MoU with the U.S. Department of
Commerce, our scope is defined by a core group of tasks and by the
tacit admission that this MoU "may be amended at any time by mutual
agreement of the parties."

ICANN is not locked into an inordinately narrow mission that allows
for no prospect of expansion to accommodate the needs of the broader
user community.  Instead the concerns of the At-large may find
expression in an ever-changing, adaptive ICANN mission.

In contrast to Mr. Lynn's sarcastic view that "the core ICANN mission
includes no mandate to innovate new institutions of global democracy",
our mission does include the need to:  "Collaborate on the design,
development, and testing of appropriate membership mechanisms that
foster accountability to and representation of the global and
functional diversity of the Internet and its users, within the
structure of private- sector DNS management organization."

Unlike Mr. Lynn, I am not prepared to denounce membership mechanisms
for users, nor am I prepared to accept a structural model that posits
existence within a corporation that has no members.  I seek that which
was promised, and that which the U.S. Government sanctified in its
acceptance of ICANN as the entity to coordinate the DNS -- true
membership with all its accordant rights and privileges.

For three years folks have fought against the slew of diversions
promulgated by ICANN Staff that sought to undermine our tight focus on
the right to user participation in the technical management of the
Internet.  These diversions have been and will continue to be a
significant impediment to accomplishing the policy objectives
delineated by the White Paper unless we undertake a powerful reform of
ICANN's structure and operations, and a committed refocus on the role
of the Internet user.

Now is the time to invoke Department of Commerce oversight, and to
give ICANN one last chance to clean house.

Core Principles should be Re-articulated

Central to the ICANN experiment - and integral to its success - are
core principles of openness and broad participation within a consensus
process.  I believe strongly in those values, and aim to strengthen
them in a reformed ICANN.  As Mr. Lynn stated:  "ICANN can and should
do much better in achieving transparency, enabling meaningful
participation, and reaching out to involve the global diversity of the
Internet".  The difference between us is that I would give more than
lip-service to such principles.

A Modified Structure Is Necessary

What is needed at this stage if ICANN is to carry out its mission is a
modification of its current structure that gives heed to the consensus
views of the community.  As such, this new structure will require a
strong At-Large component, a restructured DNSO, and a Board balanced
in a manner that allows all constituent elements to feel that they are
adequately represented at Board level.

I propose the following:
* As there have been no complaints regarding either the ASO or the
PSO, I would not make any changes -- each would retain their three
seats on the Board
* We have five geographic regions that have successfully elected
five competent and respected At-Large Directors -- each region
will continue to elect such Directors
* Each constituent of the producer community (gTLDs, registrars,
ccTLDs) should have a seat on the Board
* Every other major constituency with a sizable membership roster
(such as the NCDNHC and the membership of the General Assembly)
should have its own Director on the Board.
* Those constituencies that have not attained a sizable membership
roster (BC,ISP,IP) should share one seat
* The Board (by a two-thirds vote) should have the right to
designate a "public servant" to sit on the Board at their
* The President/CEO retains his seat

The public interest is served by having on the ICANN Board five
At-Large Directors, one Director from the Non-Com world, one Director
representing the individuals in the General Assembly, one duly voted
upon "Public Servant", and by way of whatever public interest may be
found within the Business and Intellectual Property communities.  In
short, 8+ seats.
* To solve the problems of the DNSO, the Names Council would be
eliminated and all DNSO participants would enjoy the benefit of a
consensus based forum environment within the Assembly -- this
would lend itself to a full and unhindered discussion of vital
issues free from the burdens imposed by the procedural morass that
characterized the Council
* ICANN would be reconstituted as a true membership organization as
envisioned in the IFWP process
* Current ICANN Staff would be replaced
* The ALM would self organize to attend to its own needs (having
received the benefit of seed funding and a portion of those
registration fees already tendered to registrars and registries by
the user community)

Rather than having the Monarch abolish the House of Commons so that
his reign may be better propped up by the House of Lords, which seems
to be what Mr. Lynn is proposing, I would act to reinvigorate the
public voice, and eliminate those that cast a stench of corruption
over the ICANN process.

Solving the Funding Issue

The current ICANN Budget calls for registries and registrars to
contribute $4,459,000 based on the registration of 39,114,000 domain
names.  http://www.icann.org/financials/budget-fy01-02-04jun01.htm

By my math this amounts to 11.4 cents per domain name.

Knowing that this 11.4 cents is my money anyway, tendered as part of
what may have been a $35 payment to a leading domain name registrar, I
am not overly concerned that ICANN is "charging too much", as surely
the registrars and registries are making a sufficient profit on my

If ICANN needs additional funds (and I am not arguing that it does),
it has my permission as an Internet user to charge the registrars and
registries a slightly higher amount... somehow I don't think that
having profited through the benefit of a stable coordinated Internet
these registrars and registries would begrudge a few more pennies of
what is after all "our money".

In Conclusion:

While I respect what appears to be a sincere (though misguided)
attempt by Mr. Lynn to propose a new way forward, I believe that he
has fallen victim to the control-mentality malaise that infests the
ICANN-IANA offices, and has been unduly influenced by "policy
advisors" that should similarly have no further role in our
organization.  At this point in time, Mr. Lynn is no longer suited to
lead the ICANN forward, and in my view should be dismissed along with
several others on the ICANN Staff.

The ICANN can be reformed if it is within the collective will of the
Board to do so.  If not, perhaps the DoC will be justified in choosing
a successor agency.  An outright replacement by the ICANN II structure
envisioned by Mr. Lynn is not the best way forward; it is a violation
of every principle held dear by the Internet community.  We will wait
and see how the Board reacts.  My advice... Keep your keyboard
ready... you may be soon writing at length to our representatives in
the U.S. Government.


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