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comments follwoing MIT mtg
These are my comments after the hearing at MIT.
ICANN is effectively governance of the Internet. The Internet has done
so well thus far because of the essential lack of governance. The lesson
to take from the experience of the Internet is that less governance is
preferable to more.
As the threats of inaction are greater than the hazards of action
ICANNís board and by-laws should be written so that there is less
opportunity to err on the side of unconsidered action than to err on the
side of gridlock.
In addition, in any quorum there should be a requirements for diversity
representation in both geographic and demographic terms. For example,
the university community has one representative - yet the research and
university community are critical players in future Internet growth.
What classes of action should be taken over this representatives avid
A two thirds vote in a quorum without any user representative or
non-profit consent is possible as currently framed. This creates a
serious hazard of narrowly considered action.
Specially all those votes which would be 60% or two-thirds should be
raised to 75%. In fact, vote requirements for unanimity should be
common. Consider the rarity of any controversial action. The need for
this action should be so obvious that all sectors should agree. This
board is not the board of a corporation where daily issues, such as
plant location, need to be taken under consideration. This board is
almost, but not quite, an adjunct to a self-governing system. The
ability of the Internet to primarily
govern itself should be reflected in far higher thresholds for action.
Consider carefully what actions might be taken -- removal of a domain
name for example. How much consensus is necessary? Currently this takes
only one judge within the jurisdiction of the United States. Reasonably
then this smaller action required less than unanimity. Yet, should there
be a discordant voice it is likely that there will be a reason for this
Finally, in considering policies for domain names I would again call on
the board to err through inaction. Currently domain names are removed
too quickly for too many reasons. For example, People Eating Tasty
Animals was clearly offensive to any member of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, supporters of animal welfare or supporters of
animal rights. It was also clearly political speech. The ability to beat
an organization to a domain name suggests that an organizationsí critics
are ahead of the organization itself. Perhaps a more judicious action
would be to require a link to the actual site, as was done in the case
of the United Nations Orchestra (uno.org).
Of course, if there is the possibility of significant public harm, for
example a bogus site offering stolen credit card information, the site
be closed down immediately. Classes of sites causing public harm should
be clearly defined, for example, pyramid schemes may a class. Trademark
disputes are more problematic and should be treated with due care, and
consideration of the possibility of fiscal harm. However, in cases
where property rights conflict with basic speech rights actions should
be taken at a more considered pace.