December 3, 2005

Public Comments/Questions - Finally

Public Comments have finally begun - there's only 45 minutes for this, a very sad state of affairs.  The line of people waiting to speak reaches way back - at least 15 people so far.

The proponents of .XXX are at the microphone - it strikes me that they are being royally scrod.  I wonder about ICANN's transparency - will ICANN reveal which board members agreed to change the agenda.  It is certainly a failure of proper corporate process if a single board member has the ability to usurp and change the agenda.

I'm reminded that Paul Twomey the other day mentioned during a session that the 7% solution found in the proposed ICANN-Verisign contract was derived during conversations with the US government.  One has to wonder at the assertion that this contract was not a product of government intervention.

Becky Burr is asking some hard questions about GAC processes and what happens to .XXX should the GAC dally.

The GAC, the GAC, the GAC - I'm reminded that it is possible to argue that because of the GAC ICANN falls under the definition of a "subversive organization" as defined by sections 35002 and 35003 of the California Corporations Code. (notice that the definition only requires either part (a) or part (b), not both.  It is not at all clear to me that section 35004 provides an exemption for ICANN.  Needless to say, this statute is a silly hangover from the McCarthy era, and I hope it is nothing more than an amusing sidenode.

Edward Haasbrook is complaining (actually its a continuation of many months of complaints) about the closed process through which ICANN approved .travel.  He's asking, actually demanding, that his request for independent review be honored, and he is willing to pay the costs that ICANN demands.  It does seem that ICANN is trying to skulk around and hide.  Vint said that ICANN's general council will follow up - tomorrow - one wonders whether this will actually happen, and one wonders why it took this kind of forceful complaint to instigate any response on the part of ICANN.  I think Ed deserves his review.

Now someone is asking for a .BERLIN TLD.  (It's actually part of a broader statement asking for a more liberal policy on new TLDs.)

Rick Wesson is at the microphone - He's emphasizing ICANN's need for established processes and trust in those processes.  I'm not sure whether he's referring to .XXX, new TLDs, the ICANN-Verisign agreement - but he's making a good point that ICANN is risking losing what remaining credibility it might have.  Applause from the audience.

Ten minutes left - 8 people still in line.

Milton Mueller - Is pointing out that ICANN is jumping to the tune called by US gov't and GAC, thus adding uncertainty and discriminatory elements to processes that ought to be neutral and objective rather than biased and subjective.  1. Wants .xxx to be voted on tommorrow despite US gov't and GAC (I strongly agree).  2. Open up GAC meetings - no more closed meetings. (I agree!)  Much applause.  Vint responds - says "Governments are part of ICANN process" and that their request for additional time is "not unreasonable".  (My response to Vint: why when GAC asks for things it is "not unreasonable" but when internet users ask, it is dismissed out of hand?

4 minutes left - 10 people in line

GAC person is saying that GAC has website and forum.  Says that GAC "strives for" open meetings but then backs up and says they need private time.

Now - complaints about quality of ICANN translations into other languages.

Followed by Q on when we can expect new TLDs: Vint replies (paraphrase) that it will wait until TLD "process" is established.  Sigh. I guess that is code for "never".

Vittorio: Agreeing with Milton that ICANN is "changing rules in the middle of the game".  Is asking that ICANN begin "proper" reform process.  (I'd certainly agree that the Stuart Lynn "reform" was highly prejudiced and contrived.)  Vint is saying that board doesn't always know when a reply is expected, asks that comments contain statement that the favour of a reply is desired.

We are now into overtime - 8 people in line.

Elliot (Tucows): About governments' role in ICANN: Emphasizing need for many new GTLDs to solve many problems. (I agree) Asks that rather than GAC dealing with .XXX that it deal with general process of new TLDs.  (I personally feel that ICANN/GAC/IP industry has created a process that looks too deeply into irrelevant factors to the degree that the result is stagnation.)

Comment from Internet NZ - about meetings and cost of hosting.  (Did I mention that the meeting committee report seemed to indicate that ICANN has no present intention of ever again meeting in its home jurisdiction?  That seems very bad.  Did I misread that or miss something?)

Some local guy - is saying that his business (writing code?) depends on ICANN.  (I kinda wonder how in the world his business depends on an entity (ICANN) that protects internet stability in about the same way that FEMA protected New Orleans.)

Comment from ALAC person - noting that TLD process is so slow and keeps getting slower to the degree that it is impeding innovation.

Izumi: Asks are ICANN meetings for attendees to talk to attendees or attendees to talk to ICANN.  He also looks at it slightly differently: Is ICANN structure OK and the people are not working, or is the ICANN structure wrong.  Reraised my point about whether it's time to pull the plug on ALAC.  Noted that ICANN revealed to hotel who was attending via ICANN, and that that is somewhat of a privacy violation.

Mike Nelson, IBM: (A voice from ICANN's early days): Agreeing that ICANN meetings are too long, so long that many people simply do not come.  Commenting on Verisign contract - asks whether fee could be percentage rather than fixed amount. (My question, percentage of what? If it's percentage of profit margin on top of cost, then I'm agreeable.)  Is he talking about ICANN component of fee and not Verisign part?  Palage - calls it "licensing fee or licensing surcharge", says that this may depend on TLD business model.  (I'm not hearing a lot of concrete discussion here, I'd like to hear more.)

Plzak - wants (jokingly) to sing "Good Night Irene" (which if I remember right has some bawdy elements).

Becky Burr again (last in line): Saying .xxx is different and rule changes are appropriate, but that the .xxx folks have been working above board for years to discuss and establish the rules.

More people in line - 30 minutes into overtime.

Twomey - talking about scalability of processes.  Strikes me as odd to talk about scalability when ICANN has derailed TLD approval on single digit numbers.  Paul seems to be assuming that all future TLD applications will require the silly and intensive (and improperly intrusive) degree of inspection that ICANN is applying today.

Chuck Gomes (Verisign) - Asks that GAC improve its processes so that it can respond in timely manner.

David Johnson - On scalability of process point raised by Paul T. - asks that contract terms be subject to "sunset" provisions, so that we don't keep building ever more complex mechanisms but that we should strive to simplify rather than accrete.

My final comment - I wish people would learn to not operate their wireless computers in "ad hoc" mode.  GRRRR.  It's time for me to head to the airport.

Posted by karl at December 3, 2005 1:36 PM