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RE: [atlarge-discuss] Why do users need a place at the table?

Danny Younger quoted:

>From Ross Rader's blog at byte.org:  "Why do users need a place at the

Since commercial and government services that people depend on to carry out
their daily lives are increasingly moving to it, the Internet is fast
becoming an essential public service.  And like the telephone network, once
a service reaches a certain level of necessity, it must be regulated to
ensure the public good is considered in its operation.  This is not to say
that companies that provide these services don't deserve a fair chance to
profit from their enterprise.  Rather, it says that their profit cannot and
must not be made at the expense of the public they serve.  And currently the
Internet industry is not serving the public good well.  There are a whole
host of issues that surround this topic, including:

  - Open access: the right to choose my providers of choice.  This includes
a right to pay for a discounted pipe straight into the cloud if I own my own
domain, without having to pay for ISP services I'm not using.

  - Freedom from company-imposed technological limitations imposed on the
"digital pipe" the user pays for (who the hell is Comcast telling *me* I
can't use VPN to connect to my daughter because its a "business service"?!)

  - Intellectual property rulings that favor big business (the UDRP is an
unconscionable expansion of trademark rights that *must* go!).  Some day it
is envisioned that almost every business and family will own a domain. Until
that day comes, we have to keep the playing field level, or there will be no
rights in place for them when we get there.

  - The artificially small domain name pool being imposed on us by ICANN on
behalf of their friends who own the existing TLD turf. The expansion I note
above will not happen until their are thousands of TLDs, many in
foreign-language character sets.  There is no *technical* reason for not
having them today.  The sole reason we don't have them is because the
existing TLD managers want to keep supply low so they can get top dollar for
their crop!  Users won't become domain name holders until they can get a
name they like at a price they can afford.

  - The threat of proposed new Web "standards" built around proprietary
technology that would require licensing fees. This would stand as a barrier
to entry for low-wage Web developers, particularly in some countries that
are just now seeing an increase in Internet usage.

These are just a few issues that I thought about in the space of five
minutes or so.  I can assume others on our forum can add to the list.  And
as Ross implies, there are a great many others that affect domain name users

Users need input into Internet management decisions for the same reason that
customers need input into any service provider: its a business best
practice.  ICANN, with its history of closed-door decision-making, top-down
driven processes, and unfair business dealings that exclude everyone but
their friends from profiting from their decisions, have been a perfect
negative role model for how *not* to run a public interest business.

>I have a related question for the group:  If "users" are to be represented
>ICANN, should all users (and not just domain name registrants) be expected
>fund ICANN's activities?

Let's examine this: assume ICANN imposed a one cent (US$0.01) fee on each
internet user's account, paid out of ISP fees, and maybe passed on annually
to limit overhead (and appropriate scaled fees for corporate accounts based
on number of seats, but let's ignore that, because we're talking about
users!). Assume 800 million users (that's the number of ISP users expected
within 10 years according to a news article I read).  That would pull in
US$8 million per month, just in user fees!  Too much?  Even one tenth of a
cent is $800,000 a month.  That's $9.6 million a year.  I'll gladly accept
paying 1.2 cents more per year to my ISP for a fully funded At Large!

>Does this imply establishing contracts with the one
>"provider" group that is not yet under contract, the ISPs, so as to have a
>vehicle for the receipt of such funds?

No.  ISPs should pay the registrars and provide the raw usage numbers.
Registrars collate numbers & dollars, and pay ICANN.  Do it quarterly or
annually to limit overhead.

Bruce Young
Portland, Oregon
Support democratic control of the Internet!
Go to http://www.icannatlarge.com and Join ICANN At Large!

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