[ga] A note on Lynn's paper
[This is Thomas speaking only for himself, not in his capacity as
the GA chair.]
Here's just a short list of some issues I have with Lynn's proposal.
I'm afraid it's too late (and I'm too sleepy) to produce a more
1. Lynn talks about "Internet-speed" effectivity. ICANN is supposed
to be effective at what job precisely? Policy development in most
cases shouldn't require "Internet-speed" effectivity.
2. He seems to consider government participation a cure to all the
problems he perceives with at large elections, including that
considerations other than the stability and security of the net
could influence voters. However, there's no reason why governments
should behave any better. In fact, the absurdities around the
selection of the presidency of the European Central Bank point in
the opposite direction, as do some experiences with the 2000 at
large elections - at least in Germany, the national argument was (in
my recollection) mostly used by persons and groups close to the
administration, and likely to influence governmental appointments to
an ICANN board.
3. Governments are supposed to pay for their participation. They
are also supposed to pay their fees to the United Nations, and we
all know what, for instance, the US do there. Now, what do you
believe happens if .kids finds some more congressmen supporting that
idea, and some of these congressmen sit in the right committee? It
will be fun to watch how some of the more powerful nations may be
excluded from the GAC, and what happens then. Also, the board
structure is kind of balanced. How realistic is the idea that
government appointees on the board could be overriden on a somewhat
regular basis? How much is this "balance" really worth?
4. ICANN is supposed to focus on a certain mission. As illustrated
by the .kids example, it seems illusorical to believe that direct
government involvement with the board would prevent mission creep.
Just the opposite seems likely to happen.
5. Process. Current process is considered a problem for
effectivity. Well, quite frankly, there are a few simple changes
which could make current process a whole lot more efficient (Johnson
and Crawford suggest some, including _reasonable_ deadlines for
consensus development [these are sorely lacking, in practice either
being "yesterday" or "when it's done"]; staff support in drafting
documents may be another one). Implementation errors don't mean
that the principles of current process are all that bad.
6. As has been noticed by many already, the board would be mostly
self-selecting (indirectly, but still). Someone (I think it was
Dave Farrar) compared it to the IOC. Well, we all know the
corruption scandals in that particular committee. A self-selecting
board is about the worst tool we can find if the objective is to
find high-quality individuals. In particular, a board as powerful
as the one suggested by Lynn can not be expected to be open for
possibly necessary future reform and critical reassessment, since
there are few incentives for such activities. Also, it would
continue to strive for more power.
7. Independent review. It's, quite frankly, outrageous how the
planned independent review panel is denoted as a "waste" in Lynn's
paper. When there are no workable mechanisms for the internet
community at large to replace members of the board performing badly,
and when the board can cast policy as it likes to, such a panel is
more necessary than ever before. Because, otherwise, the internet
community may end up in a situation where the only thing which can
be done is to deliberately ignore ICANN policy. In fact,
independent review and reconsideration mechanisms are a _necessity_
to assure that ICANN is "effective" in casting not just some, but
the right kind of policy, in a fair and reasonable manner, following
whatever process is ultimately established.
Finally, let me note that a lot of good observations can be found in
the Johnson & Crawford paper published by icannwatch.org. Read it,
it's worth the itme.
Thomas Roessler http://log.does-not-exist.org/
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