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Last update: Sun Aug 17 22:48:44 CEST 2003





Elliot Noss, Tim Denton, and Ross Rader from Tucows have presented another paper on their ideas for ICANN's future. They believe that participation in ICANN should no longer feel like being inside a washing machine, with no idea when the cycle will end.

The paper calls for two separate processes.

Policy-making. On the one hand, policy issues should be dealt with by a well-defined process which is managed by the board. This process would have to include a mechanism for ICANN accepting policy proposals from the public. It would then be the board's decision how to further deal with the proposal; options would include to reject an issue as premature, to decide about consultations, and to pass things on to the GNSO's council and/or a task force.

The authors suggest that this issues tracking process should be common across ICANN's dependent bodies, and should in particular be used by the individual policy councils (with ICANN staff assistance).

In the event that the board calls for a Task Force, the authors at Tucows demand that intact Task Force reports should be passed on to baord unaltered - in this model, the GNSO Council could only amend reports with its own reflections, but it would not _change_ the substance of a Task Force's deliberations.

Commercial Disputes. The second process suggested focuses on commercial disputes among registrars and registries. This process is supposed to be invoked by contracted parties only, and to lead to authoritative interpretation of applicable contracts. An arbitrator would, after hearing the parties and looking at evidence, produce a ruling. The ruling would be subject to modification, approval, or rejection by the board, and would afterwards be considered policy.

Comments: Personally, I can't find much wrong with the suggested policy-making process. In particular, I believe that the Tucows folks are on the right track with their idea that Task Forces' results should be passed on unchanged to the Board. After all, those in the GNSO who have been looking at issues in depth are sitting on the Task Forces. The Names Council at large may, in general, only have a rather rough understanding of the issues. Giving the council the option to completely reverse the recommendations of a Task Force would, from this point of view, not improve the quality of the output. (Of course, additional comments from the Council as a whole will, in general, increase the quality.)

The disputes resolution process, however, is too narrow: It ignores possible commercial disputes between registrars, registries, and registrants. It is conceivable that registrars and registries come to an unholy alliance, and interpret their contracts in a way which would be detrimental to consumers. In this situation, it should be possible for registrants to invoke an arbitration process as well. In order to avoid frivolous invocations, this could once again be referred to the ombudsman who would also have the ressources to properly prepare such an arbitration process.

Fri Aug 2 08:26:44 CEST 2002 #





This is the personal blog of Thomas Roessler.

It's mostly used for comments regarding ICANN, and matters of ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization and At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC).