[Internal-cg] FAQ - Question 18, accountability

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Mon Oct 6 23:00:28 UTC 2014

There are quite a few unresolved issues on question 18 regarding accountability.
Also, in her comments on Question 12 Narelle seems to imply that the FAQ should not be saying anything at all about accountability, which I think is wrong.

Let's go back to the relevant charter section. Here it is in full:

"The IANA stewardship transition process is taking place alongside a parallel and related process on enhancing ICANN accountability. While maintaining the accountability of Internet identifier governance is central to both processes, this group's scope is focused on the arrangements required for the continuance of IANA functions in an accountable and widely accepted manner after the expiry of the NTIA-ICANN contract. Nevertheless, the two processes are interrelated and interdependent and should appropriately coordinate their work."

This clearly means that we must: 
a) pay attention to whether the new arrangements proposed by the OCs provide sufficient accountability after the NTIA goes away - accountability is "central" to the process. 
b) coordinate with the other accountability process. 
c) recognize and somehow deal with the interdependence of the two processes. They are interdependent because _regardless of what the OC's propose_ many constituencies don't want the US to let go of IANA until they think ICANN as a whole has made sufficient reforms regarding accountability.

Furthermore, Wolf-Ulrich has raised an important issue, namely that the ICANN enhanced accountability process almost certainly will take longer than our transition process needs to take. So how do we coordinate with a process that is probably on a more extended time frame than ours? On the other hand, people involved in the other process will likely oppose going forward with the transition unless they are satisfied that ICANN has either executed or is completely committed to sufficient reforms related to accountability. 

Worse, you all need to understand is that our final proposal will not just go to the NTIA, it will become meat for US Congressional committees to pick over, and that Congressional scrutiny will be more concerned ICANN accountability than with the IANA transition per se. Or, to put it differently, if the accountability elements of our final proposal are not deemed strong enough to let ICANN off the hook, and if the other ICANN accountability process is not finished yet, we can expect strong opposition to execution of our approved transition plan. 

Because of its role, the ICG will be right in the middle of the two processes, and this will probably prove to be one of the most difficult aspects of our task. We will need to discuss this a lot more in LA. 

With that in mind here is a proposed redraft of Q18

18. What is the relationship between the work of the ICG and the process concerning ICANN accountability?

The ICG charter says that accountability is "central" to our process. The ICG has asked the operational communities to consider oversight and accountability in their proposals.  After receiving consensus proposals from the operational communities regarding IANA, the ICG will conduct an analysis and assessment of their implications for ICANN accountability. At that point it will liaise with the ICANN accountability process and advise it on how the results of our process affects their requirements. 

I think this modification addresses Russ's objections and Wolf-Ulrich's warning. It does not second-guess the OC results and it does not lock our results to the completion of the other accountability process, though it does try to coordinate them.

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