[registrars] Questions & Answers on Election Issues
I'd like to thank those of you that have taken the time to talk with me over
the last week concerning the primary issues of the Names Council election
and my position on these issues. (For those of you that I haven't talked
with yet, expect a phone call ;)
During the course of these calls, a number of very important questions have
been raised that I think should be shared with the larger group. In the
meantime, I have prepared a summary of the more common questions followed by
my answers for your consideration.
I hope that you find the following information helpful in your deliberation
of the merits of each candidate. Please feel free to drop me a line if you
have any comments concerning the form or substance of my comments below, or
if have any specific questions that I did not address here.
Q. What do you feel is the most important issue that you will have to deal
with over the course of your term if elected?
A. The restructuring of ICANN.
It is my view that ICANN will change and the Registrar Constituency will
necessarily change along with it. An organized, effective roster of Names
Council Representatives must be prepared to put in a lot of hard work to
make sure that these changes are appropriate for and beneficial to the
Q. What are some of these changes?
A. Effective and meaningful representation of the individual within ICANN
will prove to be the catalyst for a lot of change to the rest of the ICANN
Supporting Organization Structure. One of the proposals contemplates the
creation of "User", "Developer" and "Provider" Supporting Organizations that
replace the current DNSO, ASO and PSO. There is talk that neither the GA,
nor the Names Council will be carried forward into this new structure.
Instead, each of these new Support Organizations would directly elect
representatives to the ICANN Board. Cross-constituency communication and
development would be facilitated by the Board rather than the General
Assembly. Policy recommendations would also be put forth by these Supporting
Organizations directly to the Board without having to go through a Names
Council as they do now.
The Registrar Constituency needs to immediately determine what we want to
achieve through this process, create the proposals that outline the work
required to achieve the desired objectives and then sell this vision to the
rest of the affected stakeholders. The Names Council representatives will be
an integral part of this effort.
Q. Tucows runs a registry, isn't this a conflict of interest?
A. First, Tucows does not run an ICANN accredited registry, rather it owns
an independent company that manages technical facilities on behalf of ICANN
accredited registries. As a technical provider, this company (Liberty
Registry Management Services) does not determine or enforce registry policy,
rather (simply put) it runs a big database under contract to someone else.
Second, Liberty, while wholly owned by Tucows, has a separate staff,
separate management, separate offices and most importantly, a separate Board
of Directors. This separation ensures that Tucows cannot influence or "game"
Liberty to Tucows advantage as a registrar. It is important to note that the
other ICANN accredited registrar that is associated with a registry operates
with significantly less guarantee than this.
Second, a conflict of interest is a situation in which a person, such as a
public official, an employee, or a professional, has a private or personal
interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or
her official duties. If elected, I hope that each of you will feel
comfortable enough to immediately bring any concerns that you may have about
my objective exercise of my official responsibilities to my attention. If a
real or perceived conflict of interest exists on any given issue, I will
recuse myself and ensure that another one of the Names Council Reps has a
standing vote proxy on the issue until it is finally resolved.
Q. The stakes are going to be pretty high over the next year or so. Won't it
be very important for us to maintain some sort of continuity with our
representation on the Names Council?
A. Continuity, while important, should not be the deciding factor when
evaluating the Names Council candidates. I say this because a number of the
other constituencies are also going through candidate selection for their
Names Council representatives. In most of these cases, it appears very
likely that none of the current representatives will be carried forward.
More broadly, the elected representatives of ICANN are changing. The skills
that were required to birth this organization and bring it to the level of
stability that we enjoy now is far different from the skills that will be
required to evolve ICANN into a more effective and representative
organization tomorrow. In this regard, I believe that personnel changes that
we are seeing throughout ICANN are healthy and required.
With this in mind, the consideration of a candidates skills needs to be
broader.What is the level of respect that each of our candidates has within
the Names Council and the Constituency? How much access do they have to
other Names Council members? Has the candidate demonstrated that he or she
can undertake and complete quality work that is representative of the
interests of the Constituency? I have had some very frank discussions with
Names Council representatives of other constituencies about the current
state of affairs, and universally they agree that the time for talk within
the Names Council has passed - action that leads to forward movement is no
longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Q. Why are you running?
A. It took me a great deal of time to decide to run for this position.
Leaving the recent meeting in Los Angeles I still hadn't made up my mind
despite a great deal of pressure to do so from a number of people throughout
ICANN and within the Registrar Constituency. Ultimately, it was a number of
private reasons that led me to eventually step forward. While I won't go
into all of the details, let it suffice to say that each of us has the
opportunity to promote change from within, or to cast stones from without.
Rather than throwing rocks at those that were elected, I felt that it was
mandatory that I put my money where my mouth is, step forward and then work
hard to ensure that the Constituency benefits from the level of
representation that it deserves.