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Re: [atlarge-discuss] Legitimacy Re: Fw: [atlarge-discuss] ALOC Draft 3.0
Eric and all stakeholders or other interested parties,
Goals and rules are entirely different things. I think Eric, you may
be intermixing the two in you comments below. At least that's how
I read your comments.
Goals will sooner or later change once one set of goals or a single goal
is met. That is to be expected.
Rules on the other hand are to be adhered to, but may also change
as well if the rule or rules no longer apply...
> Let me give this another shot on legitimacy and rules;
> The success and legitimacy of this group should not be determined by a pre-set and predetermined set of standards as we are frontier volunteers and what we encounter is brand new. As explorers into new areas of international voting we must remain elastic and not let other self appointed gurus set the goal posts which they can move at their whim.
> OTOH having high standards which we self determine to set for ourselves but do not achieve sets us up for failure in our eyes and in the eyes of others. I personally love high goals but in the court of public opinion, when you set them and fall short you are a failure and lose legitimacy.
> We can all learn from good discourse regarding legitimacy but when setting rules regarding such we must remain practical and set the standards at reasonably achievable levels. Let us not let ICANN insiders set unrealistic standards that if not met they can point at and claim no legitimacy.
> Thank you and Lawrence for bringing these important issues to the forefront where we too often obviscate moral requirements. If we disagree a bit it is only in degree but not in desire.
> email@example.com wrote:
> > At 11:34 -0700 2002/07/30, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > >Please do not set up artificial requirements that meet with artificial
> > >goals in order to legitimize any voting we may hold.
> > I would tend to agree, but the legitimacy question is crucial. Many of us are contesting ICANN's methods because they violate the rules. By the same token, we hundred-or-so on this list can hardly constitute ourselves the At Large electorate or claim to legitimately represent them.
> > >There are no rules.
> > There certainly are, though there is a different set for each possible model. Lawrence Solum is, I think, correct when he distinguishes between the model where ICANN's jurisdiction is a narrow, purely technical one and the one where it oversees broader issues in the public interest.
> > Personally, I would have no problem with an ICANN of the first kind whose board consisted of technical experts elected from among a pool of appointed national representatives ... as long, of course, as the rules included the normal disclosure of holdings which might lead to a conflict of interest, procedure requiring the withdrawal of a board member from discussions and votes where such conflict might exist, etc., and a suitably narrow mandate for the organization. Were ICANN's mandate merely to maintain order when it comes to registration and use of domain names as efficiently and economically as possible, there would be no need to insist that it function democratically or even give a voice to national governments in its operations. One would merely incorporate it as the non-profit organization which regulates the authorization of registrars in all countries and maintains the records of domains registered. (There would not even need to be control over domain name extensions, since
> it would do no harm to anyone if all possible three-letter permutations were legal and all authorized registrars could register any domain name not already in use.)
> > In that case, of course, the broader issues of Internet governance would need some other body to look after them: to me, the logical thing in that case would be to have a World ICT Organization operating under the aegis of the U.N., responsible for ensuring access, funding infrastructure in the LDCs, co-operating with the WHO in developing telemedicine and distance education, with UNICEF in matters of child welfare, etc. This theoretical WIO would have its primary mandate already laid out for it: the promise to extend Internet access to all as a means of alleviating poverty and improving delivery of education and health services in the LDCs, as well as to assist their economic development. In theory, this is supposed to be done by 2010; in practice, nothing I know of has been set up to do it. (The World Bank's attempt to monopolize development information on the Internet through its own portal site hardly counts!) It's a worthy and extremely difficult task, and the issues of equity
> between and within nations means that mechanisms for public consultation and elections in all nations would be most useful there.
> > The mechanisms for both those types of operations exist and are not unduly complicated, though they bear little resemblance to ICANN before or after the "Blueprint reform".
> > >Our panel has done well and the new panel must do
> > >likewise and be open and transparent and make the rules.
> > Our past and future panels can only make the rules for us (meaning the relatively few people registered as members of ICANN At Large), not for everyone else. I would like to see openness and transparency as the cornerstones of this process. I would also like to see the replacement of the "at-large" terminology since it has evidently been co-opted for other purposes. Perhaps what is really needed is a concerted effort to invite Internet users to form their own local chapters which could elect representatives to an "Internet House of Commons"
> > Meanwhile, unfortunately, it's all very well for our panels to try to make rules but the reality is that ICANN seems not to be open to even the minimal input At Large has "enjoyed" thus far.
> > >Internet access is not restricted to the rich. The digital
> > >divide is a result of rules and prejudice not access.
> > On the contrary. The issue of the "digital divide" is itself complex. Internet access is not necessarily restricted to the rich, but access from one's home or office usually is. In many parts of the world now, there are Internet cafés or public access terminals which even the poor can use. In many others, even having more than the average income will not get you Internet access because long distance telephone lines are unreliable and sometimes inaccessible, never mind there being no local ISP. Providing some kind of access is a very big priority for many NGOs since it can make it possible to do things like telemedicine, distance education, efficient evacuation before floods, etc. Needless to say, though, there is little prospect of a telco or equipment manufacturer becoming very rich by providing inexpensive access to the very poor. Under the agenda of privatization, free trade and foreign direct investment, the vast majority of the world's population are making major economic and
> personal sacrifices to ensure that the affluent will keep getting richer, I don't know whether you would put that under the heading of "rules and prejudice" but I'd label it downright iniquitous myself.
> > On the other hand, in more developed countries where there is some infrastructure in place (or even in a country as well-wired as Canada), while the affluent are paying for DSL or cable connections at $50/month, there are a good 25% of households which can't cover the basics like food and shelter and are certainly not in a position to buy even a secondhand computer and a limited-hours dial-up connection. (I'm in the upper reaches of the lower bracket, so I've got the used computer and a connection that costs me under $12 a month ... but I wouldn't have even that if I had children to feed.)
> > However, not everyone who wants or needs to use the Internet necessarily understands or wished to become embroiled in questions like how to operate the DNS system. Many of them simply aren't interested in politics, just as they are not much interested in non-Internet politics as voters. We can't expect the multitudes to want to spend hours debating the relative merits of various administrative or electoral rules. We *can* expect them to be interested in the outcome if it ensures fairness as well as administrative efficiency and the personal comfort of the directors.
> > >The monopolies are only what we as users allow them to be.
> > >
> > >Long live the dot commoner and shoeshine boy.
> > I applaud the rallying-cry but must point out that nobody asks the user whether they want a monopoly or their opinion of how it should operate, any more than any business asks its customers whether it should exist and how it should be run. A given enterprise may or may not do a bit of market research to ensure its own success but it certainly won't let the public take a vote on whether its practices are abusive or not. That is the role of governments and of supranational bodies: to determine what constitutes fairness and protect the interests of the general public.
> > As far as I can tell, ICANN has done everything in its power to minimize the chance that the public good will even be discussed, let alone become the criterion on which decisions will be made. This is a terrible shame, not to mention an unwise decision if the organization has any ambition to be taken seriously as an international body.
> > LBS wrote:
> > >> [...] If ICANN does not provide a public good in the
> > >> economists sense, then the question is how to regulate ICANN so that
> > >> it charges efficient prices. This regulation should be external not
> > >> internal for obvious reasons of institutional economics. If ICANN
> > >> does provide a public good in the economists sense, then ICANN should
> > >> be replaced with something quite different, an institution designed to
> > >> guarantee the transparency and stability of the internet at the lowest
> > >> feasible cost. This institution will need to be international or
> > >> transnational. It might, for example, be governed by the ccTLDs in a
> > >> manner loosely analogous to the the ITU.
> > I'm not sure whether the "external not internal" means that prices are to be set by market forces (in which case anyone outside the more affluent classes in the developed world will find themselves at a permanent disadvantage) or whether it means an external oversight body of some kind would be responsible for approving ICANN's operating budgets to prevent the kind of personal empire-building which occurs when administrators are allowed to write their own paycheques. Either way, I am somewhat conflicted over this since on one hand I believe firmly in setting prices in relation to real costs, and on the other hand in recognizing that it's not a level playing field if you charge the same $1 to the people with millions as to people for whom that's a household's daily budget. Not being an economist (let alone a supply-sider), I tend to favour economic equity over economic equality.
> > Meanwhile, if all the new ICANN were meant to do was "guarantee ...transparency and stability ... at the lowest feasible cost", would it not be logical to turn the task over the the World Wide Web Consortium? It has an established track-record both on the technical side and in terms of making the Web as useful as possible to everyone at minimal cost. And just about everything it does is promptly posted on its Web site for all to see. I may not be enthusiastic about their drift towards proprietary standards in the interest of consortium members rather than Internet users but they have certainly earned the respect of people around the world. Just an idea...
> > By the way, I'm sorry but I haven't been able to read any responses to my earlier postings since the machine I received them on crashed and I spent most of the day working on it without success. I will check the discussion on the Web tomorrow and try to catch up.
> > Regards,
> > Judyth la pomme
> > ##########################################################
> > Judyth Mermelstein "cogito ergo lego ergo cogito..."
> > Montreal, QC <email@example.com>
> > ##########################################################
> > "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of
> > them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever
> > happened." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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