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Your post from the GAC

Dear Mr. Twomey,

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you had replied to Jay
Fenello's message, which demonstrates an admirable willingness on
your part to communicate. 

Your replies and statements interested me, and I would like to make
some comments on them and address further questions regarding them
to you, if I may.

>On 5/14/99 At 04:27 AM Paul Twomey wrote:

>public policy interests and concerns.  Its role is to provide advice and
>communicate issues and views to the ICANN Board and not, as you suggest, to
>determine how the Board will conduct its business.   I can assure you that
>like other Supporting Organisations we give advice to the Board 

There is no Governmental Supporting Organization, at least according
to the ICANN bylaws. On the contrary, the bylaws specifically
prohibit representatives of national governments from participating
directly in the policy-making activities of ICANN. Are you aware of
this? Have you read the ICANN bylaws? Does your government and the
other national governments in the GAC wish a more direct role in the
policy-making decisions of ICANN than what is permitted by the
present bylaws? Is your government advocating amending the ICANN
bylaws so the you may participate in the creation of Internet

>With regard to your concerns on the Draft Agenda for Berlin, the majority of
>the reports to be presented at this meeting are the findings of studies
>which were agreed to be progressed from the inaugural meeting in Singapore.
>They each address key policy issues which are of interest to governments,
>and no doubt also of interest to the Internet community.  

You are right when you say that the issues that are the basis of the
reports to the GAC are of interest to the Internet community, and
particularly to the users who will have to live under ICANN's rules
and regulations in the future. But please allow me to ask you the
following regarding these reports:
1) Who conducted the studies?
2) Knowing that these issues are of concern to the Internet
community, do you condone debate on them without input from that
community? Are you aware that there are as yet no functioning SOs,
and that the ICANN board you are dealing with is an interim board
that has not been elected, as ICANN's bylaws require, by a

>The reports have arisen and have been progressed in response to the GAC's
>wish for further knowledge on the issues, as well as in response to
>occurrences which have taken place (for example, the incorporation of the
>InterNIC site into the NSI site, and in the .edu space the apparent granting
>of domain names to entities which are not four-year degree granting
>institutions,).  The reports are designed to stimulate discussion within the
>GAC, not to mark out any definitive course of action or solution to the
>issues. You will appreciate that in order for the GAC to provide advice to
>ICANN, the importance of being, and staying, well informed cannot be

If you sincerely desire to be kept informed, and I have no reason to
doubt your sincerity, wouldn't you wish to learn all the facts and
hear all sides of the issues, rather than the selected facts and
one-sided interpretation of them that you will get if you only hear
one group's or one person's report?

>You would also realise that the for and against positions on most issues
>facing ICANN are discussed with government by their citizens and firms.  The
>responsibility to represent their citizens positions are keenly felt by
>government officials in most international fora, and this is clearly the
>case in the GAC.  So the discussion to date has often been focused on
>citizen/consumer interests - not just the concerns of governments

Who is representing the consumers and citizens in these discussions?
There are many organizations that represent consumers and citizens
in your country, just as there are in all other countries (a brief
list of some of them is appended below). Are you including them in
the discussion?

>With reference to your comment regarding the GAC's approach to be a "process
>designed to see an agenda 'through'" rather than an impartial process
>designed to gather facts, I assure you that this is not the case. The draft
>Agenda is not, as you implied, designed to promote any particular outcomes,
>but rather to encompass the issues which are of interest to governments as
>well as to the Internet community.  It should be noted that in harmony with
>the policies of ICANN, the GAC operates to the maximum extent feasible and
>practicable in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures
>designed to ensure fairness.

Are you aware that the meeting of the GAC in Berlin has been
scheduled for a time when all or almost all the people who have been
actively participating in this process will be in DNSO constituency
formation meetings, and that they will therefore be unable to attend
the "open" GAC meeting? This was also the case in Singapore. It is
well and good to be concerned about openness, transparency, and
fairness, but rather than simply being concerned wouldn't it be more
useful to actually do something so that the GAC was open,
transparent, and fair, for example holding a meeting when others
could attend?

Michael Sondow
 "We need to be able to judge which is more important - the
 images on the screen, the mechanisms that produce them, or 
 the world that they are striving to represent."
                                     --Oscar Kenshur
International Congress of Independent Internet Users (ICIIU) 
        http://www.iciiu.org       iciiu@iciiu.org 

Consumer/Citizens Organizations:

Consumers Federation of Australia
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Consumers' Association
World Consumer Protection Organization
Consumer Project on Technology
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Alert
National Consumer Coalition
American Counsel on Consumer Interests
Consumers Union of the U.S.
Consumers International
Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue
Liga Acción del Consumidor
Consumer Affairs Council of the ACT
Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs
Instituto Brasileiro de Politica e Direito do Consumidor
Consumers Association of Canada
Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios de Chile
Consumer Council, Denmark
Suomen Kuluttajaliitto
Organisation Générale des Consommateurs, France
Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Verbraucherverbände
Kentro Prostasias Katanaloton
Hong Kong Consumer Council
National Association for Consumer Protection in Hungary
Indian Federation of Consumer Organisations
Consumers Association of Ireland
Comitato Difesa Consumatori
Consumers Union of Japan
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations
Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor
Association Marocaine des Consommateurs
Nederlands Consumentenbond
Consumers Institute of New Zealand
Consumers Federated Groups of the Philippines
Russian Consumer League
Association of Slovak Consumers
Consumers Institute of South Africa
Consumers Union of Korea
Federación de Usuarios y Consumidores Independientes de Espagna
Sveriges Konsumentråd
Consumers' Foundation, Chinese Taipei
Uganda Consumers Protection Association
Ukrainian State Committee for Protection of Consumer Rights
National Consumer Council (UK)