ICANN response to DIDP #31 on diversity

Posted by Akriti Bopanna and Akash Sriram at Aug 21, 2018 02:40 PM |
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This post summarizes the response of ICANN to our inquiry on the diversity of their employees.

The file can be found here


In our 31st DIDP request, we had asked ICANN to disclose information pertaining to the diversity of employees based on their race and citizenship. ICANN states that they are an equal opportunities employer and to ascertain the extent of people from different backgrounds in their ranks, we were hoping to be given the information.

However the response provided to us did not shed any light on this because of two reasons; firstly, ICANN has this information solely for two countries namely USA and Singapore as legislation in these countries compels employers to record this information. In the US, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that any organization with 100 or more employees have to file an Employer Information Report wherein the employment data is categorized by race/ethnicity/, gender and job category. Whereas in Singapore,  information on race is gathered from the employee to assess which Self-Help group fund an employee should contribute to under Singaporean law.

Secondly, for the two countries, they refused to divulge information on the basis of their conditions of nondisclosure. The conditions pertinent here were:

  1. Information provided by or to a government or international organization, or any form of recitation of such information, in the expectation that the information will be kept confidential and/or would or likely would materially prejudice ICANN's relationship with that party.
  2. Personnel, medical, contractual, remuneration, and similar records relating to an individual's personal information, when the disclosure of such information would or likely would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, as well as proceedings of internal appeal mechanisms and investigations.
  3. Drafts of all correspondence, reports, documents, agreements, contracts, emails,  or any other forms of communication


We had only enquired about the percentage of representation of employees at each level by their race or citizenship but this was deemed dangerous to disclose by ICANN. They did not volunteer anymore information such as an anonymized data set and hence we will now file a DIDP to ask them for the same.

Given the global and multi-stakeholder nature of the processes at ICANN, it is also of importance that their workforce represents true diversity as well. Their bylaws mandate diversity amongst its Board of Directors and some of its constituent bodies but there is no concrete proof of this being imbibed within their recruitment ICANN also did not think it was necessary to disclose our requested information in the benefit of public interest because it does not outweigh the harm that could be caused by the requested disclosure.

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