[CCWG-ACCT] Regarding mission statement and human rights

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Thu Jan 28 15:45:42 UTC 2016


On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 03:35:49PM +0100, Niels ten Oever wrote:
> For inspiration you could have a look at the lastest report of the CCWP
> HR: http://is.gd/Uh4gbs

Thanks.  I had a look at that before Dublin.  As I said in my previous
message, I don't especially care how this commitment gets enshrined.
I am extremely sceptical that there is any practical difference that
flows from it (more on that below).  I think therefore that those who
are insisting on this or that approach to how the commitment gets
expressed (and I include the board in this, but not them exclusively)
need to offer a clear example of how one approach makes a difference
over the other.  

As to why I am sceptical: the report you mention seems to suggest a
great deal of subsequent report preparation by ICANN.  The report also
seems to be a little unclear about ICANN's legitimate range of action
-- a common problem that has led this CCWG to considerable discussion
about ICANN's real mission, and which is (IMO correctly) being
clarified in the mission statement as a result of this CCWG's work.

What I cannot suss out from the report, though, is an occasion where
an explicit commitment to human rights would make any difference to
the sort of decision ICANN would in fact make in respect of any ICANN
policy.  I suppose if I squint I can come up with some sort of new
privacy right consideration in the registry data service discussions,
but that trade-off (against things like law enforcement
considerations) has been a feature of the discussions approximately

Most of the free speech considerations are not actually things ICANN
has any control over.  Those issues are mostly lower in the DNS
tree[1].  While ICANN can conceivably influence the behaviour of
registrars and registries in that regard, I have a hard time seeing
how any of the contemplated rights affirmations would change any
actual ICANN policy, because of ICANN's limited mission.

Best regards,


[1] I concede that future rounds of root zone expansion could increase
ICANN's direct interaction with registrants of names.  The difference
between a brand owner registering examplecorp.com. (in the com zone)
and examplecorp. (in the root zone) boils down to the amount of money
the registrant is willing to spend, plus the registrant's willingness
to accept that the latter won't work with email.  So "brand" TLDs mean
that ICANN is dealing directly with registrants of those TLDs.

Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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