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[icann-europe] FYI Washington Post/Newsbytes on the At Large Studies

Public Interest Groups Clash With ICANN Over Governance 
Friday, August 31, 2001 
By David McGuire,

A cadre of public interest groups today released a report contradicting the findings of a
recent study by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 
into what
role the online public should play in drafting global Internet addressing policy. 

The report sets the stage for a likely clash between public interest groups and Internet
addressing authorities when ICANN - the body that manages the Internet's addressing 
- meets in Montevideo, Uruguay, next week. 

"We've set up the debate," Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) Associate 
Alan Davidson said today of the report, which he helped develop. 

CDT is one of a handful of groups involved in the NAIS (Non-governmental organization 
Academic ICANN Study) Project - which today released the findings of its report on 

The NAIS study was launched earlier this year to mirror an internal study by ICANN
officials into how and whether the Internet public should be allowed to participate in the
ICANN decision-making process. 

In its draft report, released earlier this week, the internal ICANN committee recommended
that the Internet user community be given its own "supporting organization" within ICANN.
The report further suggested that the user community be allowed to determine the makeup of
one-third of the ICANN board of directors, which has the final say on all ICANN decisions.

By contrast, NAIS today recommended in its findings that ICANN allow the Internet user
community to elect one-half of the ICANN board members. 

That level of board representation would be "an important check within the ICANN board so
that sweeping bylaws changes could not be made without" the consent of the Internet
public, Davidson said. 

Under ICANN's existing bylaws, the board is supposed to comprise nine internally selected
members representing Internet "stakeholders" and nine at- large members representing the
online public. 

While the nine internal members have been in place for some time, only five at- large
members have been elected to represent the Internet public. Whether ICANN will fill the
remaining board seats will depend largely on whether the board decides to accept the
recommendations contained in the internal at-large study. 

The NAIS report also differs from the internal ICANN study by suggesting that virtually
anyone in the global Internet community be allowed to vote in the ICANN at-large

Although ICANN followed that model when it held its first at-large election last year, the
ICANN At-Large Study Committee recommended in its report that voting rights in the future
be reserved for people who own domain names. 

NAIS also recommends that ICANN fully fund the at-large election process for the next few
years, while the internal ICANN committee suggested that voters pay a membership fee to
fund the voting and election process. 

The ICANN study is at http://www.atlargestudy.org/draft_final.shtml 

The NAIS study will be posted today at http://www.naisproject.org 

Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com 

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