[wg-review] Re: Proposal for a Public Policy Group Constituency
Andrew McMeiken writes: "In principle I support this but what lines would
you draw to define the borders of this group? Would it include individuals?
Host masters? Small business? Large Corporations? Ultimately they all
deserve input into 'public policy' and as such would all want to be in such
a group. Invite only, would be a far cry from self-forming. The idea has
merit but looks set to stumble, can you clarify it better?"
Andrew raises some legitimate concerns that clearly warrant further
discussion. Hopefully I can offer a clarification and some considerations
to spur an ongoing dialogue on this topic. As I am not now, nor have ever
been, a member of a public policy group (although I do subscribe to a few
privacy-topic newsletters), and as I share the view that a Constituency
should be a self-forming initiative, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the
prospect of attempting to define "borders" for any new constituency.
As a member of this Review WG, I have noted the efforts on the part of
the Review Task Force (in the recommendations relative to Constituencies) to
raise the issue of "borders" within the context of "overlap"...
"The role of constituencies and representation, and overlap, was also
reflected in discussions on establishing an 'Individual Domain Name Holders
Constituency'. Suggestion: Study of constituency structures, and charters,
and extent to which constituencies overlap, with emphasis on identifying any
overlap, and concrete steps to improve representation, participation."
Personally, I tend to view "overlap" as a non-issue when viewed in light of
the ICANN By-Laws:
"(a) Each Constituency shall self-organize, and shall determine its own
criteria for participation, except that no individual or entity shall be
excluded from participation in a Constituency merely because of
participation in another Constituency, and constituencies shall operate to
the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent
with procedures designed to ensure fairness."
Again, when I consider existing constituencies such as the Business Group
and the Intellectual Property Group, I essentially see two sides of the same
coin, a virtually complete overlap with almost no borders. Within the
Intellectual property constituency I see powerful global businesses such as
the Motion Picture Association of America, the National Music Publishers
Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Business
Software Alliance, the American Film Marketing Association, the Association
of American Publishers, the Interactive Digital Software Association, and
within the Business group I see many equally powerful entities with equally
strong Intellectual Property concerns: AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, etc.
If ICANN has allowed the degree of overlap that is evinced between
these two above-cited Constituencies, it would not be fair at this time, in
my humble opinion, to impose a new standard on a new constituency.
However, the members of the Names Council, whom have set upon a plan to
establish new processes by which new constituencies may be created,
obviously do not share my point of view:
E.Roberts: "The second change [5.4 New Constituencies: Review and clarify
process for creation of new constituencies] recognizes the need to develop
and clarify the process involved in the creation of ANY new DNSO
constituency. I believe it is more important for us to focus on the process
issue than on the specific question of whether an Individual Constituency
should be established. Once the process is clarified, then it is clear what
hoops any group (including those who wish to establish an individuals
constituency) will have to jump thru in order to get recognition."
As we must all eventually acquiesce to the guidelines imposed by the Names
Council (although it would be nice to actually witness a true bottoms-up
consensus process once in a while) the issue of borders, in my view, is not
an issue over which we as a group will come to have any meaningful impact.
It is for that reason that I seek to shift our emphasis away from
structural matters to lobbying considerations. It is my belief that this
proposal to establish a Public Policy Group Constituency would be best
served by any actions that we may take as a group that can bring this topic
quickly to the attention of the ICANN staff, who in turn may relay such
comments to the ICANN Board (in the hopes that the Board itself will by fiat
act to establish such a constituency):
"(d) Any group of individuals or entities may petition the Board for
recognition as a new or separate Constituency. Any such petition will be
posted for public comment pursuant to Article III, Section 3. The Board may
create new Constituencies in response to such a petition, or on its own
motion, if it determines that such action would serve the purposes of the
Corporation. In the event the Board is considering acting on its own motion
it shall post a detailed explanation of why such action is necessary or
desirable, set a reasonable time for public comment, and not make a final
decision on whether to create such new Constituency until after reviewing
all comments received. Whenever the Board posts a petition or recommendation
for a new Constituency for public comment, it will notify the names council
and will consider any response to that notification prior to taking action."
We know that the ICANN staff monitors the Public Comment Forums. We know
that the Review Task Force Report is in its final public comment phase.
This would probably be the best time to introduce a series of comments
regarding this proposal. Opinions?
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