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ICANN comment process

I think it is very important to encourage remote participation, and here's why.
As Vint Cerf wrote in a recent RFC, the Internet is for **everyone**.  Yet
every time someone wants to see ICANN move in a particular direction and
posts a message to that effect on the IFWP list, the ICANN chair responds "Come
to Berlin". Oh my, so very helpful.

A trip to Berlin involves a commitment upwards of $1,500 and several days,
at least two of which are spent in the air unless you live in Europe.  Most
people have neither the financial resources, the responsibility-free time,
nor the steadfast commitment to fly into Germany to make an brief
appearance, speak their peace, and then watch the nine ICANN board members
go behind closed doors to decide the fate of Internet administration.

And--despite the puffery produced yesterday by Ogilvy, ICANN's PR
firm--referring four times on a single page to ICANN's public open
meetings--all discussion and decisionmaking by the board memebers will
occur out of the public eye, behind closed doors.

ICANN's chair should be advising those who desire to impact these secret
decisions, not only to, "Come to Berlin" but also to participate remotely.
Clearly, she assumes we all have sufficient free time and money to play in
ICANN's sandbox.  Effective participation absolutely should not require a
physical presence half the globe away from one's own abode.

So, I encourage everyone to use all available mechanisms to partipate
remotely, although there are significant pitfalls. For Internet users in
the U.S., the meeting will be held in a time zone that requires us to
forego sleep.  For those using computers with older chips, you won't be
able to download the software required to receive audio feeds.  Also, it is
still unclear how one can participate in real time through the Internet,
how ICANN will handle such submissions.

The Berkman Center will host RealAudio and RealVideo streaming media feeds.
Here are some of the details posted on that page.

REAL TIME TEXT can be submitted over the Internet, however, no e-mail
address is  provided yet.

        Requires 28.8kps connection minimum but 56K will be far less
        Real Player 5.0 (or later), which may be downloaded free from Real
Networks.  A link is on the Berkman site.  People should download before
the day of the meeting.  However, older computers, particularly older 68030
Macs, cannot run Real Player.
       Meeting day connection instructions are not yet posted on Berkman site.

TIME CONVERSION:  This is the squelcher for real time participation.
* DNSO General Assembly: May 25
        Germany (1:30 pm- 5:00 pm)
        EST (7:30 am-11:00 am)
        PST (4:30 am-8:00 am)  Don't know conversion for Asian coastal zone.
        Possible participation through

*  Public forum: May 26
        Germany (9:00 am-5:00 pm)
        EST (3:00 am-11:00 am)
        PST (12:00 am-8:00 am)

Meetings of the Membership Advisory Committee and Government Advisory
Committee, both on May 25, are apparently closed.

All DNSO constituency meetings occur on the same day, at the same time.  So
you have your choice of running around like a plucked chicken on the
morning of May 25, or settling in at a constituency room for the duration.
IMHO, the constituency set-up is just a way of separating the substantial
domain name interests into competing lobbying committees of the whole.

The day-long open meeting on May 26 is so crammed with important topics,
that any one of them could fill the entire agenda.

And then, after you have spent $xxxx on your tickets and lodging plus
another $50 on the Open Meeting and achieved your few moments of ICANN's
attention, realize that the reward for your dedicated effort occurs on May
27, when these nine board members retreat from view to discuss and decide
the following issues  without any public accountability except to
themselves and ex-post-facto minutes:

* Recognition of Domain Name Supporting Organization Constituency Groups
* Formation of other Supporting Organizations
* Independent Review Advisory Committee recommendations
* WIPO Final Report, including annexes
* ICANN membership structure
* Geographic diversity provisions of the ICANN bylaws
* 1999-2000 ICANN Budget
* Transition to a permanent Board and CEO
* Staff appointments, hiring and administration

Substantial remote participation will move ICANN towards greater online
involvement, and away from funneling input through a quarterly World Tour
that only works for those with deep pockets.

Come to Berlin. . . come to Santiago.  This just rings hollow when the
board decisions are made in secret.  Instead, I say it's time for all the
board members (not just the chair) to come to the global community online,
come to the Internet, come to the open process.

Ellen Rony                                                       Co-author
The Domain Name Handbook         ____        http://www.domainhandbook.com
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ISBN 0879305150              (oo) -^--                   +1 (415) 435-5010
erony@marin.k12.ca.us            W   W                         Tiburon, CA
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