[CCWG-ACCT] Regarding mission statement and human rights

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Fri Jan 29 21:18:49 UTC 2016

Hi Bruce.

First I cannot count the number of times I have been told that Human
Rights considerations were out of scope in ICANN.  Certainly NCSG has
been tilting at this windmill for a while now, and losing - ever if we
were able to put together a Working party on this topic (not even worthy
of being a Working Group). I will have to go through the replies we have
received on our various Reconsideration requests or pre-IRP discussions
to see if those words, or analogous words were ever used.  The fact that
we keep pushing for it should not be mistaken for ICANN corporate having
accepted that human rights is formally in scope.  And if it is the case,
no reason not to say so in the Bylaws.    BTW: I have never been
committed to any particular wording of that bylaw, have just accepted
the various compromise wording that people have come with.  Yet I speak
affirmatively of the human rights bylaw.

We have people invvoled in this group who have expressed comments to the
extent that there is no way that human rights have any relevance for
technology or a tech based process - that is it is out of scope for
ICANN.  In fact I think I read that from comment the Board has made over
time on this bylaw.  I would need to spend time searching on whether any
board member had ever said this directly.

As for NTIA and intervention, as I said they oversee ICANN with a very
gentle hand.  But they are always among us speaking gently about various
normative ideals.  Given their power of contract renewal,  If ICANN were
to take overt steps that infringed on the US First amendment rights or
even any of the internationally accepted human rights that the US
accepts, I have no doubt that it would be a consideration in contract
renewal.  Incidentally, we are not subject to the first amendment
either, that is about the state and the citizen.  As a US citizen, I
trust NTIA to make sure ICANN does not infringe the first amendment or
freedom of expression however it is known.  And I trust them to not
renew the contract if we ever deviated from the path of respecting human


On 29-Jan-16 03:33, Bruce Tonkin wrote:
> Hello Avri,
>>>    Requiring that we respect Human Rights includes it being in scope as a consideration that is understood and discussed when policy is made and considered for approval.
> That makes sense, although I thought it already was in scope.
> The non-commercial stakeholder group (NCSG) in the GNSO has a long history of raising issues of  freedom of expression or an open internet.     The gTLD domain name registries and registrars in the  GNSO are usually persuaded by such discussions.    I am not aware of it ever being ruled out of scope.   Why do you think it would be out of scope currently or in the future in the policy development process?
> I am also not aware of NTIA ever raising this issue in their public policy advice through the GAC .   They must think the NCSG is doing a good job already.   So not sure how a future ICANN without the NTIA contract would be any different.   The NTIA contract itself has no provisions for this topic.    The NTIA both before and after transition still retains its ability to raise these public policy issues in the GAC, along with other Governments that support human rights.
> So I am a little puzzled how the existence of a bylaw helps or hinders the ability for a stakeholder group, supporting organization, or advisory committee to raise the topic as part of the consideration of policy within a PDP.
> I can see that a bylaw makes it possible to raise an IRP - I just don't understand the policy development aspect.
> Regards,
> Brue Tonkin
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