[council] Reasons for my vote on Whois

Avri Doria avri at psg.com
Mon Nov 5 04:57:34 UTC 2007

Statement explaining nomcom appointee Avri Doria's vote on the Whois  

I voted for motions 1 and 3 and against 2.

A lot of give and take had gone into the OPoC proposal and I felt  
that it deserved a chance for implementation.  And though there were  
a few large issues that needed to be worked out, for example the  
reveal function and the authorisation model for levels of access, I  
felt that a solution was still possible with more work.

My vote for motion 1 also reflects my belief that the process of  
implementation, including a genuine iterative process between the  
staff and council, allows individual issues to be explored at a more  
practical level and within an implementation context.  Sometimes  
issues that seem intractable as abstract principles become solvable  
at the practical level.  As I have mentioned on several occasions in  
the council, I do not believe there is a strict line that separates  
the policy issues from the implementation issues and believe that  
often the implementation makes implicit policy.  This is one of the  
bases for my belief that working on detailed questions that emerged  
from an implementation effort would have assisted the council in  
coming to further consensus on its policy differences.

I have mixed feelings regarding Motion 2.  I certainly support the  
goal of ending this PDP, especially if we are not trying to complete  
work on OPoC.  As for further studies, I can see a role for  
professionally done  studies and surveys, which are scientifically  
well formed, methodologically sound and statistically valid. Part of  
the basis for these sorts of studies requires a good understanding of  
the requirements, which involves knowing what questions the study is  
intended to answer.   One concern is that without the strictest rigor  
in defining studies, they often end up as one sided and merely serve  
to confirm the opinions of the surveyor or of the surveyor's client.   
I think we all have the experience of seeing competing studies on  
each side of an issue.

I am apprehensive about our ability to deliver on high quality  
rigorous preparations  in the schedule demanded by the motion,  
especially with our current work load and when we are about to go  
through the holiday season followed by the initial work on  
restructuring.  One of the reasons given, off line,  by some for the  
rush in initiating the studies was to support the calls being made by  
the GAC.  While I have no difficulty in supporting the GAC on this  
issue, I do not feel that we need to rush and do not believe they are  
asking us to rush.  Rather, I  feel we need to let the dust settle  
before reengaging in this particular tussle. Now that we have  
approved this motion, however, I am committed to completing its  
requirements as well as possible in the time allotted.

On motion 3, I believe that Whois is unsuited to the service to which  
ICANN is putting it and it is no longer needed for its original  
purpose as was discussed in a paper included in the appendices of the  
Task Force report.  Given that there is no consensus on the service  
it is being required to provide and that it is not fit for this  
purpose, I believe it should be retired from service.

I also strongly believe that Whois causes more harm to the general  
public  then it prevents.  And while I understand that investigative  
agencies, both public and private, find it a useful public database  
in their hunt for a few miscreants, I do not not believe that this  
warrants harm against the majority of registrants who would never  
intentionally misuse their domain name.   I think the harm this tool  
causes to global civil liberties is far too serious for ICANN to  
continue to require its use.

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