[CCWG-ACCT] An mplication of accountability models being discussed

Jonathan Zuck JZuck at actonline.org
Mon Jul 13 06:51:14 UTC 2015

One thing I feel the need to share. The list I sent was simply something I came up with at Chis Dispain's request during a break in BA. I have no specific axe to grind on this list, it's NOT a consensus list  that in some way guided our stress tests or something and it is by no means exhaustive.  It's just a list of candidates off the top of my head in 10 minutes. I worry that it somehow retroactively forms the basis of our work and nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing in the past was discussed during the CCWG deliberations. Perhaps that was clear but I wanted to make sure. Again, I hesitated to produce a list because I think accountability is about the future, not the past.

-----Original Message-----
From: George Sadowsky [mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com] 
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2015 11:49 PM
To: Paul Rosenzweig
Cc: Jonathan Zuck; Accountability Cross Community
Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] An mplication of accountability models being discussed

H, Paul,

I don't think that we've met, but I do want to assure you that I understand your point of view.  It is important to develop a well-defined and understood structure that provides proper accountability for all components of the ICANN universe, along with providing sufficient degrees of freedom for those components to exercise their authority and assume responsibility for their actions.

But I would like to push back on your belief that past practice, while interesting, is not relevant to our discussion.  I believe that it is relevant, if only to agree with George Santayana's statement that people who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

I've asked for, and thankfully received from Jonathan Zuck and others, examples of what some consider "out of bounds" past activities on the part of the Board.  I've asked for several reasons:

- It helps me to understand the direction and the mood of CCWG activities

- It helps me to subject those past and present "grievances" - if I can call them that  -- to the test that Chris Disspain mentioned on this list, i.e. are they factually correct and are of common community concern or the concern of a part of ICANN only. 

- It therefore helps me to separate out those "grievances" that I have some sympathy for, and understand how those grievances are affecting the direction of the CCWG.

But it should also help the CCWG, in that where there is factually verified and agreed upon evidence of out of bounds behavior by the Board (or for that matter any other organization in the ICANN orbit), one of your "stress  tests"should be to discuss what kind of reaction that behavior would produce if one or more of your accountability models had been in place at the time.  I would think that this is a necessary test of any new accountability proposal.  Wouldn't not doing this be a failure of due diligence?

Finally, based upon my initial reading of Jonathan Zuck's list, I find things that I need to understand better.  I also find points with which I have sympathy, and points where I think there is a genuine misunderstanding.  Whatever the result of the CCWG deliberations will be, I would like that result to be based on a shared perception of accurate information, both about structural implications and about past incidents.

As a Board member, my term is over in October. I have applied for renewal, but I cannot tell whether I will be renewed or not. I want this accountability result to work for me whether I stay on the Board, or whether I become again a member of the ICANN community. And above all, I want ICANN to contribute to the health, security and stability of the Internet within its mandate.  I have no axe to grind either way, but I do want the result to be based upon reality, and not upon models that may be insufficiently tested or understood and are not based upon factual misunderstanding.

Perhaps we'll have some time to talk about this in Paris later this week.



On Jul 12, 2015, at 2:05 PM, Paul Rosenzweig <paul.rosenzweig at redbranchconsulting.com> wrote:

> Dear George
> With respect, we've been over this ground before.  In general, past 
> practice, while interesting is not relevant to our discussion.  We are 
> designing an accountability mechanism to bind the Board and community  
> going forward under changed circumstances.  In doing so we have been 
> positing (through the stress test process) some modes of failure that 
> we might anticipate.  The bounds of that consideration are the bounds 
> of reasonableness and expectation.  We cannot defend against all risks 
> and some risks are more likely  than others.  For that reason we've not considered a
> response to the zombie apocalypse :-).   But we have (and in my view must)
> consider many  situations that have not occurred in the past as risks 
> that may eventuate in the future.  For me, past disagreements with the 
> Board serve only one purpose -- to be a plausible predictor for likely 
> future disputes.  At a minimum, the accountability mechanisms must 
> address perceived past accountability failures -- i.e. these lists -- 
> but we don't need to spend too much time dredging up old disputes and 
> resolving them factually.  All of them (even the ones with contended 
> facts) are plausible future scenarios that would need to be addressed 
> even had they not previously been perceived to have occurred.
> As I said, we've had the "how bad is the Board" discussion before.  I 
> confess I have played the game a bit myself.  But in the end it isn't 
> the question.  Even assuming the current Board is filled with saints 
> who never have erred, they will not be the future Board, who may be 
> saints as well, but who may be sinners.
> Paul
> Paul Rosenzweig
> paul.rosenzweig at redbranchconsulting.com
> O: +1 (202) 547-0660
> M: +1 (202) 329-9650
> VOIP: +1 (202) 738-1739
> Skype: paul.rosenzweig1066
> Link to my PGP Key
> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Sadowsky [mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2015 12:24 PM
> To: Jonathan Zuck
> Cc: Accountability Cross Community
> Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] An mplication of accountability models being 
> discussed
> Jonathan,
> Thank you _very much_ for taking the time to respond to my request.  I 
> really appreciate it, because I think that your list, with additions 
> by Eberhardt, Jordan, Christopher and others give me a sense of why 
> the  CCWG is progressing as it is, and why the discussions are going the way they are.
> Thank you for being forthcoming.
> I know that I entered this discussion late, and I regret that I felt 
> so constrained at its beginning.  I suspect that I'm raising old 
> issues, but I'm not sure.  I do subscribe to Chris' intervention that 
> it's important to know whether the points raised are true and if so 
> are widely held community concerns.  At the moment I'm agnostic 
> because I haven't heard your point of view yet, and I hope that I have 
> a sufficient reputation for fairness and independent thinking that you 
> accept that as true.  I have no wish to defend established positions 
> just because they exist.  OTOH, it's important to be able to proceed in an informed way based upon commonly agreed upon facts.
> (You may recall that on your point 7 below, I was the only vote 
> against proceeding with the gTLD program at that time.)
> My family, with granddaughter, arrived yesterday afternoon and are 
> here with us in Vermont, so my time is more limited than I would like.  
> Nevertheless I think this is an important dialogue, and I am glad that 
> it has started, if only for my own education  --  although I'm not 
> sure that it has occurred before.  (If not, it would be important to 
> understand why  --  let's put that on the "to do" list.)
> I would like to get back to you and to the list later today.  Perhaps 
> you might have time for a Skype conversation sometime tomorrow?
> George
> On Jul 12, 2015, at 7:49 AM, Jonathan Zuck <jzuck at actonline.org> wrote:
>> George,
>> I appreciate your questions about past actions of the board that 
>> might be
> motivating this accountability exercise, and I did spin off a short 
> list for Chris not too long ago (see below) but I continue to believe 
> this isn't the most productive line of reasoning. This exercise really 
> isn't about the current board, which operated under he watchful eye of 
> the NTIA. This exercise is about the next incarnation of ICANN, 
> independent from any last tether to the USG and, as such, we owe it to 
> ourselves to finally build real accountability mechanisms into the 
> ICANN framework. There are certainly examples of international 
> organizations which has lost there way. It's our duty to attempt to 
> prevent that fate for ICANN. So I think it's a mistake to think of 
> this exercise as "motivated" by the current board or any previous board. We're starting over and trying to get it right.
>> That said, here's an incomplete list of things I came up with during 
>> a coffee break in BA that I believe at least raise some questions as 
>> to how they might have been handled under a reformed accountability 
>> framework. I'm sure Eberhard would add to this list some questionable 
>> decisions to allow corrupt governments to expropriate ccTLDs. I hope 
>> this is more helpful than hurtful. We really just have one chance to 
>> get this fundamental balance of power right. JZ
>> 1. Failed thus far to develop binding accountability mechanisms.
>> 2. Failed to adhere to policies around publication of documents prior 
>> to
> meetings.
>> 3. Failed to prevent decision making prior to termination of comment
> periods.
>> 4. Developed no standard for review during the previous attempt at 
>> accountability reform (2006?)
>> 5. Failed to develop public metrics to hold ICANN institutions to 
>> account (such as contract compliance)
>> 6. Failed to listen to community consensus on singular/plural and
> controlled the outcome of the redress mechanisms through overly narrow 
> mandate.
>> 7. Pushed ahead with new gTLD program despite a lack of operational
> readiness, again without consequences.
>> 8. Launched a staff lead review of the new gTLD program prior to any 
>> input
> from the community.
>> 9. Scheduled new round of applications (at least initially) prior to
> scheduled reviews.
>> 10. Failed to reign in the Net Mundial initiative despite community
> objection or specify any consequences for secret board resolutions, etc.
>> 11. Accepted the GC advice to protect the corporation instead of the
> public interest. 
>> 12. Weakened rather than strengthened the IRP. 
>> 13. Allowed staff to unilaterally change community agreement on 
>> registry
> agreements and imposed the unilateral right to amend registry agreements. 
>> 14. Failed to implement half of the ATRT1 recommendations, again 
>> without
> consequences.
>> 15. Supported the practice of passing off all responsibility to third 
>> parties so ICANN has no risk. (.SUCKS is the latest example)
>> 16. First attempted to prevent an accountability component to the 
> transition and then tried to control it, insert experts, etc. rather 
> than trusting the community to organize itself.
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