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DIDP Request #4: ICANN and the NETmundial Principles

Posted by Geetha Hariharan at Mar 05, 2015 08:30 AM |
CIS sent ICANN a request under its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy, seeking details of ICANN's implementation of the NETmundial Principles that it has endorsed widely and publicly. CIS' request and ICANN's response are detailed below.


CIS Request

27 December 2014


Mr. Fadi Chehade, CEO and President

Mr. Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board

Mr. Cherine Chalaby, Chair, Finance Committee of the Board

Mr. Xavier Calvez, Chief Financial Officer

Sub: Details of implementation by and within ICANN of the NETmundial Outcome Document (April ‘14)

We express our appreciation at ICANN’s prompt acknowledgement of our previous DIDP request, and await the information. We would, in the meanwhile, request information regarding ICANN’s internal measures to implement the NETmundial Outcome Document.[1]

In a post titled Turning Talk Into Action After NETmundial,[2] Mr. Chehade emphasized the imperative to carry forward the NETmundial principles to fruition. In nearly every public statement, Mr. Chehade and other ICANN representatives have spoken in praise and support of NETmundial and its Outcome Document.

But in the absence of binding value to them, self-regulation and organizational initiatives pave the way to adopt them. There must be concrete action to implement the Principles. In this regard, we request information about mechanisms or any other changes afoot within ICANN, implemented internally in recognition of the NETmundial Principles.

At the IGF in Istanbul, when CIS’ Sunil Abraham raised this query,[3] Mr. Chehade responded that mechanisms ought to and will be undertaken jointly and in collaboration with other organisations. However, institutional improvements are intra-organisational as well, and require changes within ICANN. An example would be the suggestions to strengthen the IGF, increase its term, and provide financial support (some of which are being achieved, though ICANN’s financial contribution to IGFSA is incongruous in comparison to its financial involvement in the NETmundial Initiative).

From ICANN, we have seen consistent championing of the controversial NETmundial Initiative,[4] and contribution to the IGF Support Association.[5] There are also mechanisms instituted for IANA Stewardship Transition and Enhancing ICANN Accountability,[6] as responses to the NTIA’s announcement to not renew the IANA functions contract and related concerns of accountability.

In addition to the above, we would like to know what ICANN has done to implement the NETmundial Principles, internally and proactively.

We hope that our request will be processed within the stipulated time period of 30 days. Do let us know if you require any clarifications on our queries.

Thank you very much.

Warm regards,

Geetha Hariharan

Centre for Internet & Society



ICANN Response

ICANN's response to the above request disappointingly linked to the very same blogpost we note in our request, Turning Talk Into Action After NETmundial. Following this, ICANN points us to their involvement in the NETmundial Initiative. On the question of internal implementation, ICANN's response is defensive, to say the least. "ICANN is not the home for the implementation of the NETmundial Principles", they say. In any event, ICANN defends that it already implements the NETmundial Principles in its functioning, a response that comes as a surprise to us. "Many of the NETmundial Principles are high-level statements that permeate through the work of any entity – particularly a multistakeholder entity like ICANN – that is interested in the upholding of the inclusive, multistakeholder process within the Internet governance framework", notes ICANN's response. Needless to say, ICANN's response falls short of responding to our queries.

Finally, ICANN notes that our request is beyond the scope of the DIDP, as it does not relate to ICANN's operational activities. Notwithstanding that our query does in fact seek ICANN's operationalisation of the NETmundial Principles, we are now confused as to where to go to seek this information from ICANN. If the DIDP is not the effective transparency tool it is aimed to be, who in ICANN can provide answers to these questions?

ICANN's response may be found here. A short summary of our request and ICANN's response may be found in this table (Request S. no. 4).

[1] See NETmundial Multi-stakeholder Statement,

[2] See Chehade, Turning Talk Into Action After NETmundial,

[3] See ICANN Open Forum, 9th IGF 2014 (Istanbul, Turkey),

[4] See McCarthy, I’m Begging You To Join, The Register (12 December 2014),

[5] See ICANN Donates $50k to Internet Governance Forum Support Association,

[6] See NTIA IANA Functions’ Stewardship Transition & Enhancing ICANN Accountability Processes,