[Internal-cg] conditional accountability explained (was, Note to CWG re timelines?)

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Thu Jan 15 16:52:54 UTC 2015

This term is incoherent, misleading, vague and confusing and its use MUST BE STOPPED.

MM: I like Kavouss’s response to the menace of “conditional accountability,” which is rampaging like Godzilla through the city of CWG. Rather than saying it must be stopped, I would note that it has almost succeeded in stopping us. Might be better to say it needs to be chased out of town. That at least implies some movement.

Regarding Alissa’s letter, it is OK to ask CWG for a revised timeline. That puts pressure on them to set a new deadline. And stick to it. The problem is that they are now working on two proposals, not one – they have forked – and the forkers have made themselves even more dependent on the slower-moving CCWG. So any predictions they make about their own timeline are suspect.

They have done this because about one third of the group supports a so-called ‘internal’ solution, which would award the naming-related IANA functions to ICANN forever so as to avoid an external contracting entity. Needless to say, ICANN Inc. loves this approach, but everyone else sees that if we are not periodically contracting for naming-related IANA functions with ICANN, we create a need for promises of broad reforms in ICANN as a whole, and those reforms can only come from the CCWG-Accountability. Hence, ‘conditional accountability’ (shrieks of horror) means “those accountability reforms that must be made before ICANN can be permanently awarded the naming related IANA functions.”

In a paper written almost a year ago, IGP warned everyone to “De-link IANA globalization from broader ICANN reforms.” While we recognized IANA transition as a chance to improve accountability, we warned that too closely linking the IANA stewardship transition “to a complex, lengthy and contentious set of organizational and legal changes related to policy making…could easily prevent any change at all. We therefore favor putting those processes on separate reform tracks.”  http://www.internetgovernance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ICANNreformglobalizingIANAfinal.pdf

Not so nice to be proved right in this case. In short, the names CWG has stepped in quicksand, and it might be some time before Godzilla’s head (who is, after all, as tall as a skyscraper) disappears below the surface of it. We can confidently predict, however, that it WILL be swallowed up by the quicksand, because the greater interdependencies between the CWG and CCWG created by the internal solution create infinite recursive loops.

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