[atrt2] Interesting academic paper on accountability at ICANN

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Wed Mar 20 13:10:29 UTC 2013


I would say the NCSG is very involved in their concerns over A&T at ICANN.  

They  also send me many issues they think we should discuss, which I try to bring to our discussions.  

As for the paper, I thought it was interesting and had a fair amount of content, including offering a good perspective on ATRT1.  I am not saying that I have bought into the analysis completely and I do find the solution offered in the paper somewhat less than a fully well formed solution.   But I also do find a lot of it worth thinking about further.

And it did make me think that one topic we should add to our discussion is:

- Provide a working definition of "accountability" that makes sense for ICANN

I probably need to go back and read all of ATRT1 WG4 backup materials at this point.


On 19 Mar 2013, at 19:02, Carlos Raúl Gutierrez wrote:

> What a though stakeholder group you are in!
> cheers
> Carlos Raúl Gutierrez
> --
> crg at isoc-cr.org
> Skype carlos.raulg
> +506 7070 7176
> El 19/03/2013, a las 16:08, Avri Doria <avri at acm.org> escribió:
>> Hi,
>> This reference was passed to me one of the members of my Stakeholder Group.
>> https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2076780
>> June 4, 2012
>> Abstract:      
>> Internet governance has long been troubled by an unresolved problem. Its dominant organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers (“ICANN”), suffers from inadequate accountability. ICANN holds the exclusive authority to manage the Domain Name System (“DNS”) that enables the Internet to function as a global network, and that authority is exercised by a Board of Directors whose powers are virtually unconstrained. ICANN’s exercise of unconstrained power over the Internet DNS is associated with a conspicuous gap between the accountability ICANN needs and the accountability it delivers. ICANN needs sufficient accountability, at least, to honor its written commitments and to satisfy its stakeholders’ expectations. Unfortunately, ICANN’s performance falls short in both regards. 
>> This article proposes to resolve ICANN’s longstanding predicament by describing a strategy to strengthen its accountability from within. Because its accountability gap arises from the absence of any mechanism binding the ICANN Board to act within its authority and consistent with its commitments, ICANN should adopt a standard of accountability that holds its Board answerable through procedures independent of it and binding on it. The Board’s unconstrained powers present the issue of power beyond right, the quintessential problem for constitutional law. For that reason, traditional principles of constitutional government offer a promising means of placing the Board’s powers under effective control. The article concludes that a written charter enumerating and separating the Board’s powers, a declaration of stakeholder rights, and an independent tribunal with the authority to issue decisions binding on the ICANN Board should be adopted through a ratification process that includes representatives from every sector of ICANN’s global stakeholder community.
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