[CWG-Stewardship] NTIA's Role in Root Zone Management

Greg Shatan gregshatanipc at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 19:30:46 UTC 2015

Let's not confuse criminal accountability to the state (i.e., being
prosecuted by the state for breaking the law), with other forms of
accountability.  Of course the ICANN CEO and Board [like any CEO and any
Board] can be prosecuted if they break the law or appear to do so.  That's
not what's at issue here.  I agree with Olivier, in that this is an
excellent example of FUD; but who brought it up in the first place?

The issue is not (and never has been) criminal accountability.  ICANN and
its Directors are subject to the laws of the US and multiple other
jurisdictions in various ways.

It is "civil accountability" -- accountability to internal and external
non-governmental entities and classes of persons and organizations.  As
Milton points out, private companies (whether or not they are "public"
(i.e., publicly-traded) are accountable under the law to their
shareholders.  Membership non-profits are accountable under the law to
their members.  ICANN has no class of persons or organizations it is
accountable to in that sense.  The question boils down to "Who is ICANN
answerable to?"

There are other forms of internal and external accountability, of course,
by which companies (non-profit and otherwise) are held accountable to those
"outside" the company: accountability to customers/clients/vendors -- but
with limited forms of redress.  Competition and market factors that provide
a certain form of accountability.  Regulators that provide accountability
(often for limited purposes) with civil or criminal penalties as a form of

ICANN is (for better or worse) virtually unique.  Most companies do not
have an organized "community" of "stakeholders" around them, like ICANN.
Most companies are not acting as policy and governance "ecosystems," like
ICANN.  In many ways, this uniqueness is a good thing, but it gives us
unique challenges.  While we can borrow heavily from the "playbooks" of
existing non-profits and private companies (whether publicly-traded or
not), their solutions will need to be customized (more or less) to suit our

Let's try to find the constructive aspects of each contribution, avoid
conscious or unconscious misinterpretations, and see what options are
available to us.  There are going to be real issues with every option;
trying to resolve those is a big enough task.  Let's not add to it with an
excess of unfruitful byplay.

Greg Shatan

On Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 1:56 PM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>

> Milton,
> I am amazed about reading this. Are you telling us that the ICANN CEO
> and Board are above the law and cannot be prosecuted if they run amok?
> That is an excellent example of FUD. Let's please get back down to earth.
> Kind regards,
> Olivier
> On 20/01/2015 17:01, Milton L Mueller wrote:
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: David Conrad [mailto:david.conrad at icann.org]
> >> So you honestly believe the accountability arrangements for Enron,
> >> Waste Management, Stanford Financial, Country Wide, Worldcom, Tyco,
> >> HealthSouth, FreddieMac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff LLC.,
> Saytam,
> >> Parmalat, Baninter, Olympus, Recruit, Adelphia, etc., etc., ad nauseum,
> are
> >> better than ICANN's?
> > This is teetering on the brink of being a stupid conversation. But let
> me point out that all of the companies you mention have either been
> prosecuted, gone out of business or their CEOs are in jail. So, yeah, I
> think there is some accountability there.
> >
> > My point was not that "private, for-profit" is "better" than
> "nonprofit." My point was that we do not have the foggiest idea who ICANN's
> board is accountable to other than NTIA. It has not members. It has no
> shareholders. It has no competition.
> >
> >
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> > CWG-Stewardship at icann.org
> > https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cwg-stewardship
> >
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