[CCWG-ACCT] "Consumer Trust" in the Mission Statement

David Post david.g.post at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 13:16:54 UTC 2016

I do not think that the addition of this language 
is a good idea.  Lengthening the list of 'values' 
and 'commitments' that ICANN is supposed to 
implement will inevitably weaken the Mission 
Statement.  The more the document suggests that 
it is ICANN's job to balance a wide variety of 
different concerns - enhancing competition and 
consumer choice, supporting geographic and 
cultural diversity, promoting human rights and 
the global public interest - the easier it 
becomes for ICANN to justify pretty much anything 
it might do in the future as promoting one or 
another of these broad goals.  The point that 
Andrew Sullivan made recently in connection with 
the discussions about the GPI is applicable here, I think:

"ICANN should pay attention to its 
well-understood and needed functions.  It should 
not go adventuring out into global governance issues that
distract from that narrow set of 
responsibilities.  And it should not embrace 
language that distracts from the narrow responsibilities --
lest such language become an attractive nuisance 
that encourages people to think ICANN has power it never has had"


At 04:10 PM 1/8/2016, Burr, Becky wrote:

>   As discussed in our call yesterday, we would 
> like to get some discussion started on some of 
> the issues with the Mission Statement, 
> Commitments & Core Values elements of the CCWG 
> Proposal.  One of those issues relates to the 
> inclusion of the concept of promoting “consumer 
> trust” in the Commitments and/or Core 
> Values.  The USCIB comment, for example, urged 
> inclusion of a Commitment/Core Value of 
> “promoting competition, consumer trust, and 
> consumer choice in the DNS marketplace.”  ALAC 
> urged inclusion of the consumer trust language.
>This is the topic we will discuss on Monday, 
>during the Ad Hoc meeting just announced.  Feel 
>free to contribute your views in this thread, 
>particularly if you are not going to be able to participate on Monday.
>         ISSUE: Paragraph 3 of the Affirmation 
> of Commitments describes the goals of the AoC, saying:
>          "This document affirms key commitments 
> by DOC and ICANN, including commitments to: 
  (c) promote competition, consumer trust, and 
> consumer choice in the DNS marketplace
>Paragraph 9.3 of the AoC says:
 If and when new gTLDs (whether in 
> ASCII or other language character sets) have 
> been in operation for one year, ICANN will 
> organize a review that will examine the extent 
> to which the introduction or expansion of gTLDs 
> has promoted competition, consumer trust and 
> consumer choice 
. ICANN will organize a 
> further review of its execution of the above 
> commitments two years after the first review, 
> and then no less frequently than every four years.
>           In the Initial Draft Proposal, this 
> AoC language was transposed into the Core 
> Values by requiring ICANN to depend “on market 
> mechanisms to proote and sustain a healthy 
> competitive environment in the DNS market that 
> enhances consumer trust and choice.” (Para 107, page 27 Initial Draft Proposal)
>   In the 2nd Draft Proposal we elected to 
> delete the reference to consumer trust in the 
> Mission statement and include it in the Review 
> section of the Bylaws (See 3rd Report, Appendix 
> 9, Para. 33).  The reason we agreed to make 
> this switch was because it is not a standalone 
> ICANN commitment in the AoC, rather, it is 
> specifically tied to new gTLD expansion and 
> specifically tied to a required review.
>           Several commenters in both the 2nd 
> and 3rd comment round argued that the Core 
> Values should specifically call out consumer 
> trust.  Some have disputed my characterization 
> of Paragraph 3 of the AoC (i.e., it states the 
> goals of the AoC but does not recite a specific 
> commitment), on the grounds that my 
> characterization is an opinion and not a fact.
>Should an AoC provision specific to TLD 
>expansion be leveraged to impose generalized, 
>independent, and affirmative competition and 
>consumer trust protection obligations on ICANN?
>Does ICANN’s fundamental Mission to ensure 
>“stable and secure operation” of the DNS, and 
>its various Commitments (i.e., to use processes 
>that enable competition,             and to 
>preserve stability, reliability, security, 
>global interoperability, resilience, and 
>openness) adequately address this concern?
>J. Beckwith Burr
>Neustar, Inc. / Deputy General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer
>1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20006
>Office: +1.202.533.2932  Mobile: +1.202.352.6367 
>/ <http://www.neustar.biz>neustar.biz
>Accountability-Cross-Community mailing list
>Accountability-Cross-Community at icann.org

David G Post - Senior Fellow, Open Technology Institute/New America Foundation
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