CIS Participation at ICANN 54

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jan 18, 2016 12:47 PM
Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India participated in the 54th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) held at the Convention Center in Dublin from 17 October 2015 to 22 October 2015. Pranesh Prakash, Jyoti Panday and Padmini Baruah attended the meeting.

CIS representation was possible at the meeting due to the generous support of MacArthur grant, NCUC ICANN Travel Grant and financial support from the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). The issue-wise detail of CIS engagement is set out below.

At the Public Forum, Jyoti Panday asked the ICANN Board to clarify its role and the role of the community in the development of the proposal with Verisign on its role as the Root Zone Maintainer. ICANN CEO confirmed what many feared, that there will be no community involvement on this proposal as ICANN's relationship with Verisign is an "implementation" detail. He added the assurance that post transition, on the decision of renewal of the contract and whether it will be awarded to Verisign, ICANN will seek inputs from the community. Jyoti's statement is replicated below:

"I want to ask the Board why when asked by the NTIA to develop a draft proposal for the with Verisign on its Root Zone Maintainer role, did you not pass on that mandate to the community, to the CWG which already exists, and ask the community to draft out the proposal with VeriSign? Will the ICANN Board seek public comments on the final proposal before it is approved? After all, ICANN cannot claim that it is an inverted pyramid where all decisions start from the community and flow up to the Board when on a crucial issue like this, the ICANN Board and staff have not taken the community in confidence nor invited its participation."

Padmini Baruah reiterated CIS message at the Public Forum on the lack of diversity observed through the transition and presented new data. Padmini's statement is replicated below:
Today, more than 50% of Internet users are in the Asia-Pacific region, and less than 10% are in North America. Yet, when one studies diversity within the ICANN community and in ICANN processes, one finds that diversity is sorely lacking, and it is dominated by people from the United States of America. Take the IANA transition, for instance. CIS studied participant data from ICANN, NRO, and IETF's lists related to the IANA transition. Of the substantive contributors, of which there were 98, we found:
* 1 in 4 (39 of 98) were from a single country: the United States of America.
* 4 in 5 (77 of 98) were from countries which are part of the WEOG grouping, which only has developed countries.
* None were from readily identifiable as being based in Eastern European and Russia, and only 5 of 98 from all of Latin American and the Caribbean.
* 4 in 5 (77 of 98) were male and 21 were female.
* 4 in 5 (76 of 98) were from industry or the technical community, and only 4 (or 1 in 25​) were identifiable as primarily speaking on behalf of governments.
It would be a travesty of language to call this the "global multistakeholder community".
Further this problem is pervasive in the ICANN community:
* 66% (34 of 51) of the Business Constituency at ICANN, as per their own data, are from a single country: the United States of America.
* 3 in 5 registrars are from the United States of America (624 out of 1010, as of March 2014, according to ICANN's accredited registrars list), with only 0.6% being from the 54 countries in Africa (7 out of 1010).
* 45% of all the registries are from the United States of America! (307 out of 672 registries listed in ICANN’s registry directory in August 2015.)
Please take this as your top priority, since ICANN's legitimacy depends on being able to call itself globally representative.

CIS attended also raised a series of concerns at the following sessions:

  • Enhancing ICANN Accountability Open Engagement: CIS intervened with its stance on jurisdiction and their enforcement models, and our concerns about transparency.

  • GAC sessions

  • NCSG meeting

  • IANA Transition Stewardship Transition Engagement Session

  • CCWG Accountability Working Session

  • Illicit Internet Pharmacies

  • NCUC Meeting+engagement with Larry Strickling: Jyoti Panday asked about the dual role of Verisign as a Root zone maintainer and TLD operator. Padmini Baruah asked him about jurisdiction. He said the US Congress will not support a shift in ICANN's jurisdiction.

  • NCSG/gNSO (CIS work on DIDP got public mention)

  • Contractual Compliance Programme Update

  • CWG Stewardship working session

  • Role of Voluntary Practices in Combating Abuse and Illegal Activity

  • Joint meeting of the ICANN Board and NCSG


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