[CWG-Stewardship] Do we need an extra scenario given the requirements formulated by the CCWG-Accountability?

John Poole jp1 at expri.com
Mon Jan 26 21:01:41 UTC 2015

Dear Maarten *et al*:

Thank you Maarten for your posting dated January 26, 2015.

What I have to say in response below, others in CWG-stewardship may agree
with, in whole or in part, and some may vehemently disagree—and that’s
OK—as Phil Corwin pointed out on the CCWG-accountability list, “we can
disagree without being disagreeable.”

I am all in favor of simplifying the CWG-stewardship *draft proposal
which was published for public comment (1-22 Dec 2014). I am *not* in favor
of “gutting” the requirement for a contractual counter-party to ICANN,
expressed in the *draft proposal* as “Contract Co.” Indeed, my reading of
those public comments that disagreed with the *draft proposal *are that
most objections go to the complexity of  the CSC/MRT/IAP specifics and the
*sense* that the *draft proposal* attempts to “fix” ICANN by replicating
ICANN’s “internal accountability mechanisms” at a higher external level.
That is* not the remit* of this group nor the ICG pursuant to the NTIA
announcement of  March 14, 2014

“… NTIA is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to
*transition* *the
current role played by NTIA* in the coordination of the Internet’s domain
name system (DNS). *NTIA’s responsibility includes* the procedural role of
administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database
containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as
well as* serving as the historic steward of the DNS*.  *NTIA currently
contracts with ICANN
<http://www.ntia.doc.gov/page/iana-functions-purchase-order>* to carry out
the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) *functions and has a
Cooperative Agreement with Verisign
<http://www.ntia.doc.gov/page/verisign-cooperative-agreement>* under which
it performs related root zone management functions.  *Transitioning NTIA
out of its role* marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as
outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997…”

Every individual, every organization and corporation, has both “internal”
and “external” accountability mechanisms. When I drive my car if I decide,
despite my “internal controls” that I will “run that stop sign” because “I
am in a hurry,” society has provided “external controls” in the form of
police to stop me and prevent me from endangering myself and others. *Likewise,
up to now, ICANN has had both “internal accountability mechanisms” (flawed
though they may be), and an “external accountability mechanism” in the form
of “the current role played by NTIA.”*

*What is the NTIA role for which we (as representatives of the “global
multistakeholder community”) are trying to develop a proposal? The NTIA
role, *as stated above in the NTIA announcement, has 3 components:

*1) to serve as “steward of the DNS;”*

*2) to enter into a contract for operation of “the IANA functions;”*

*3) to enter into a contract for operation of “root zone management
functions” which contract also includes limitations on the fees Verisign
may charge domain name registrants as operator “in perpetuity” of the
market-dominant .COM Registry.*

A lightweight “Contract Co” could quickly “*transition NTIA out of its
role” *as noted above.  I have suggested previously, that “Contract Co”
take the form of a Trust—with members of the Board of Trustees selected by
the “global multistakeholder community.”

The specifics of  ICANN “accountability mechanisms” as expressed in the
CSC/MRT/IAP of the *draft proposal * could (and in my view probably should)
be only outlined generally as requirements that the IANA functions operator
implement in accordance with terms of the IANA contract.

To summarize:  *Should there continue to be an IANA contract counter-party
to ICANN?** Yes* said the CWG-stewardship (RFP 3) draft proposal. Contracts
are a good thing--they hold people, institutions, and corporations
accountable. Accountability is key here, and any internal solution will be
inferior in this regard. The "external solution" may also provide legal
advantages to ICANN in the future (e.g., legal defenses in antitrust
litigation, etc.) that an “internal solution” would not provide and any
"internal solution" might in fact expose ICANN to greater potential
liability in the future.  I also think it is in the global multistakeholder
community's best interests to "disperse authority and control" of the
Internet, with an independent Root Zone Maintainer (Verisign) and other
"multiple points of failure" to avoid having a fragile system with a
"single point of failure" (ICANN) in total control. Finally, the "external
solution"  lessens or even obviates dependency upon CCWG-accountability’s
work. (Personally, I wish the CCWG-accountability group "the best" in
trying to “fix” ICANN, but that committee’s work should *not* impede *replacing
the US government* with an *entity of the global multistakeholder community*,
as soon as possible, in response to NTIA’s announcement of March, 2014.)
Even if CCWG-accountability comes up with WS-1 “fixes,” it will take *years*
to both implement those fixes *and* then be able to judge whether problems
with ICANN accountability have been resolved. Indeed, in the unlikely event
ICANN proves to be “unfixable" for whatever reason, then, in that case,
"Contract Co" would have the authority to contract with another entity to
carry out the  IANA functions in the wider public interest of the global
multistakeholder community. Remember, that while it had always been the
"intention" to transition "NTIA out of its role," no one, including ICANN,
had been actively engaged in that process until the NTIA announcement was
dropped like a "bombshell" upon the global multistakeholder community as a
result of the Snowden revelations.

Finally, I caution all fellow participants in this process to remember that
they are all representatives of “the global multistakeholder community” in
fashioning a proposal to transition “NTIA out of its role.” That “global
multistakeholder community” is much broader than just the stakeholders
represented within ICANN. The global multistakeholder community is watching
this process very closely. Any indication that the “IANA stewardship
transition process” has been hijacked by the ICANN Board of Directors or
“ICANN insiders” will likely doom all the good work that has already been
done. *Please remember that when (most of) you are in Singapore next month
at ICANN 52.* I won’t be there—I am just a domain name registrant, and
there is no “domain name registrants” stakeholder group within ICANN.

Best regards,

John Poole

**remit as defined by Google <https://www.google.com/search?q=remit>* in
this context: (noun) *the task or area of activity officially assigned to
an individual or organization*. -- *"the committee was becoming caught up
in issues that did not fall within its remit"*

*On Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 6:00 AM, Maarten Simon <maarten.simon at sidn.nl
<maarten.simon at sidn.nl>>wrote:*


*I have read the CCWG-Accountability Chairs? statement and wonder if we
should not also discuss a scenario for the situation where the
CCWG-Accountability will be successful in reaching their first requirement:*

*?Enabling community empowerment over ICANN Board decisions with limited,
strictly enumerated, last resort powers;"*

*As far as I understand, these last resort powers are meant to include the
powers with regard to the IANA functions. I figure that if the community
will already have the final say over the IANA functions through these last
resort powers, that:*

*    1. There will be no need for an external solution where the same
community will be given the final say over the IANA functions;*

*    2. There is no need for an MRT;*

*    3. There might be a need for a CSC (maybe a CSC plus);*

 *    But maybe I am oversimplifying things here ?*

*    Best,*

*    Maarten*
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