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ALAC Commented on CCWG-Accountability 2nd Draft Report and Submitted Three More Advice Statements

At a glance

The ALAC enjoyed a busy period of policy advice development activities and submitted four Policy Advice Statements in response to the ICANN Public Comment proceedings, as well as the public comment initiated by the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG).

Notably, the ALAC has made extraordinary efforts to enhance At-Large members’ understanding of and engagement in the public comment on the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG-Accountability) 2nd Draft Report. The At-Large Ad-Hoc Working Group on IANA Transition and ICANN Accountability met twice a week during this period to discuss the Draft Report in detail. ALAC members in the CCWG-Accountability presented during Regional At-Large Organizations’ monthly meetings to solicit regional views. Two community-wide briefings were also held, with the second one focusing on the ALAC Statement on the Draft Report. As a result of this extensive and in-depth consultation, the ALAC Statement went through a number of iterations, making sure that Internet end-users’ voices and concerns are heard in this critical process of transiting the stewardship of the IANA functions and enhancing ICANN’s accountability mechanism for the future of an independent, globalized ICANN. 

Recent Developments

ALAC Statement on the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability 2nd Draft Report (Work Stream 1)

  • The ALAC is generally supportive of the overall proposal. Although the ALAC preference was to have less “enforceability” and a lighter-weight proposal than preferred by some other groups in ICANN, we believe that the overall direction now being taken is acceptable.  
  • That being said, the ALAC supports the concerns expressed in Sébastien Bachollet’s minority statement that the resultant complexity and multi-tiered control may make it overly difficult or impossible for ICANN to evolve if and when necessary. This complexity and the lack of detail in many parts of the proposal also raises the concern that we may not be able to complete the proposal in the time required.
  • It was for this reason that the ALAC suggested that the CCWG consider a Community Mechanism as a Single Designator model thereby decreasing the number of “moving parts” in the proposal and increasing the possibility that the proposal could be completed on time. Further, the high thresholds set to ensure difficulty in over-riding the Board may also allow certain parts of the community to have an effective veto over change that is in the public interest, a particularly worrisome issue.
  • For the reasons outlined above, the ALAC also looks very favourably on the new proposal made by the Board at the 02 September 2015 CCWG-Board meeting. This will be addressed in more detail at the end of this statement. In particular, we believe that by reverting to the written specification of Work Stream 1 in the CCWG Charter, focusing on the issues that are mandatory to effect the IANA transition, we may have a more manageable task to accomplish facilitating the IANA transition.
  • It is clear that we need further details and an evaluation from the CCWG legal counsel. Pending those, the ALAC believes that the new CCWG proposal must be fully evaluated and cautiously offers its support for the concept of a simplified and minimal set of changes prior to the IANA transition while improving ICANN’s long-term accountability to the community.
  • Our general support notwithstanding, the ALAC would like to express its concerns with the current proposal, both at a conceptual and at a detailed level. We will also take this opportunity to comment on a number of options provided by the minority views and minority statements within the document. In many cases, the ALAC is of a single mind on issues. In other cases, the group is divided, and this statement will clearly identify those. Read the full Statement for details.

ALAC Statement on the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal

  • The ALAC supports the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal at both a holistic and a detailed level. The ALAC is particularly concerned about maintaining the security, stability, and resiliency of the DNS and wishes to address this specific part the proposal:
    • At present, all three IANA functions are undertaken by one IANA Functions Operator, ICANN. Any potential split resulting in IANA functions being undertaken by more than one IANA Functions Operator will likely introduce instability. Although the IANA Coordination Group has not introduced any measure to increase direct operational coordination between the operational communities, the ALAC recommends that such coordination should be promoted at the Implementation Phase, with the aim to reduce and/or prevent the likelihood of a split in the IANA Functions Operator. This direct operational coordination should take place as operational communities enhance communications and continue dialogues with each other.
    • In the event that an operational community reaches the decision to replace their IANA Functions Operator, they should discuss their decision with other operational communities prior to proceeding forward, seeking all means to keep all of the IANA functions undertaken by a single IANA Functions Operator.

ALAC Statement on the Initial Report on Data & Metrics for Policy Making

  • The ALAC agrees with the Initial Report and would like to highlight its supports to:
    • The possible need to employ an independent third party in order to address any concerns relating to the collection, anonymization and aggregation of data;
    • The introduction of a "pilot" where working groups will be able to submit proposals or ideas whereby the collection and assessment of fact-based data and metrics can become the basis for the initial identification and analysis of issues and/or problems;
    • The view that any funding required to implement the pilot should be considered an investment in the improvement of the policy process rather than a cost against budget;
    • The revision of the templates for the Issue Report, Charter and Final Report to update earlier WG guidelines and also the development of a decision tree.
  • Establishing a framework for distributing information through early outreach to other SOs, ACs and related organisations will not only contribute to continuous improvement being fully integrated into the Policy Development Process but also encourage the potential of an Open Data culture across ICANN.

ALAC Statement on the Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS Preliminary Issue Report

  • The ALAC strongly supports the research and recommendations in the Preliminary Issue Report.
  • The ALAC hopes and trusts that sufficient measures will be put in place to ensure equitable and representative participation of all stakeholders in the PDP, where members consider all views and are willing to forge consensus.
  • End user community engagement in this Policy Development Process (PDP) is a major concern. While the Draft Charter indicates that the PDP WG will be “open to all interested [parties],” the long-term time commitment that this PDP demands can hinder equitable participation. Furthermore, the complex issues in this PDP will almost certainly require face-to-face meetings of the PDP WG and future sub-groups, and this will impose financial constraints to the participation of end user volunteers. As a consequence, the end user voice may very well be stifled by the voices of interested parties who participate in the PDP as part of their jobs in support of their business needs and receive assistance from their organizations.
  • The ALAC will be vigilant to ensure that measures to enable the broadest participation in the PDP WG and sub-groups are considered and implemented.