[CPWG] [registration-issues-wg] [GTLD-WG] Towards a comment on evolving the multistakeholder model at ICANN

Roberto Gaetano roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com
Sat May 18 21:39:40 UTC 2019

Hi Evan.
As usual, your message captures my attention.
Needless to say, I share your analysis - as is often the case - but disagree on the conclusions.
But let me first digress, and talk about something else.
You know that we will have in a week from now elections for the European Parliament. Quite a few people think that the European Union has lost the initial drive to build something different and has become sclerotised and bureaucratic, managing an oversize budget only to favour the interests of a few stakeholder groups and forgetting the ordinary people, and are fighting to change the way things are going.
In the last few years, my personal impression is that, although everybody claims that Europe has to be improved, the two alternatives that have emerged are "continue as usual" or "abandon the game" (exiting either the Euro or the Union altogether).
I am still one that believes that Europe needs to be changed. It does take time, the current way that politics is managed and amplified by media does not help, the self-serving reluctance to change and the weakness of the review mechanisms are pushing against, but even if we do not reach tangible results our example can inspire future generations to take the flag and go further.
Now please replace “Europe” with “ICANN” and read the whole thing over again and you will have my point of view on the topic you raise.

On 18.05.2019, at 19:58, Evan Leibovitch <evan at telly.org<mailto:evan at telly.org>> wrote:

Hi Marita,

I apologize for not making the call. I am very interested in this topic, but even more interested in not having my time wasted.

As has been expressed before, I am extremely skeptical that the status quo can be disrupted purely from the inside.  There have been quite a few exercises of this kind before, even high profile moves such as the ATRT and independence from the US government have been tortuous but led to little real change in the way decisions are made. I could even make the case that the IANA transition has worsened the status of stakeholders outside the compact of domain buyers and domain sellers. What is the assurance (or even broad confidence) that the results of any new work would be heeded?  What are the consequences to ICANN of yet again ignoring the calls to distribute power more broadly or address its many fundamental breeches of public trust?

There are a few key components of ICANN governance that, so long as they exist, render all talk of real change aspirational at best.

  *   So long as GNSO consensus policy binds the ICANN Board, the rest of us are essentially powerless.
  *   So long as ICANN's revenue comes solely from domain acquisition, it is by definition in a conflict of interest in setting domain policy.
  *   So long as domain sellers sit on both sides of the negotiating table in development of the RAA and other instruments of domain regulation, ICANN cannot be trusted to act impartially.
  *   So long ICANN is accountable to nobody but its core conflicted community, it will successfully resist change. "Empowered" my eye.

ALAC has diligently participated in multiple previous "fix the MSM" efforts which have yielded no significant result. Two white papers produced by ALAC members were ignored without so much as acknowledgement of their existence. In this context, exactly how serious is this latest iteration? A new turnover of ALAC members provides fresh hope and maybe even new insights, but lack of institutional memory simply indicates new iterations of old efforts that have proven to fail. We hit the most solid of walls whenever intention tries to turn to execution.

This just feels so much like ICANN is Lucy and ALAC is Charlie Brown. Maybe if we try kicking the football again, this time it will work.....

What's different this time?

- Evan

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