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[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 
coherent text.

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/
ALSC forum fall-back address:         <alsc-forum@does-not-exist.org>
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