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[Membership] Thoughts on Membership
I'm sorry I haven't been following the MAC discussions
very closely -- I've been focusing on the DNSO formation
discussions, which I've barely been able to keep up with.
I did spend the entire day yesterday, however, reviewing
the last month or so of discussion on this list. Rather
than reply to multiple threads, however, I thought that I
would just summarize some of my thoughts on membership:
Why a membership?
IMHO, the White Paper split the representation among
the ICANN Board to balance the existing stakeholders,
with the interests of the emerging stakeholders. A
membership allows for an orderly process of including
these new stakeholders as they emerge onto their own.
In other words, it's a way to prevent capture.
[Note ==> The interim ICANN Board has already changed
this delicate balance as outlined in the White Paper.
Their decision to give an appointed president a seat
and a vote on the board has significantly changed this
balance of power. It needs to be revisited.]
Another reason for a membership is to ensure that ICANN
remains accountable to all Internet stakeholders. When
the administration of the technical functions leave the
US Government's control, ICANN will be deciding public
policy issues that normally are the purview of governments.
So, in addition to preventing capture, a membership
provides accountability without governmental interference.
What are members?
I've seen the arguments for -- all people, all people and
organizations, email addresses, domain names, IP address,
etc. IMHO, the definition of a member should closely
relate to the definition of a stakeholder. Using this
metric, here are what I consider the *minimum*
stakeholders for the various organizations:
ICANN: Any person who has access to the net.
DNSO: Any person who has a domain name.
ASO: Any person who has an IP address.
Now, it can certainly be argued that these stakeholders
are too narrow. I would support these broader definitions,
ICANN: Any entity that will be impacted by the net.
DNSO: Any entity that uses a domain name.
ASO: Any entity that uses an IP address.
Initially, it may be difficult (if not impossible) to
qualify these definitions. If that is the case, I would
support using a *temporary* definition or shortcut (i.e.
like anyone who has a domain name instead of anyone who
has access to the net).
What is an entity?
Many of the discussions centered around whether companies
and organizations should be considered stakeholders.
Unfortunately, it is entirely too easy for companies and
organizations to be created from thin air. I could create
100's of companies tomorrow, if I was so inclined.
For this reason, I believe that companies and organizations
*can* be considered members, but only to the extent that
they represent the atomic unit of membership -- a person.
There are various ways to accomplish this. One simple way
would be that a "person" member could designate one or more
"entities" as their representatives. These entities, in
turn, would have a vote proportional to the number of
"person" members who have designated them as such.
Direct, Bicameral or Representational voting?
If we assume that the atomic unit of membership is
a "person", then the rest of our decisions have to
do with how to count their votes.
Under a direct system, each "person" member would
vote directly. Under a representation system, each
"person" member would designate an "entity", who would
then vote on their behalf. Under a bicameral system,
a "person" member would get both a direct and at
least one indirect vote.
Normally, I would opt for the bicameral approach.
Since we are only talking about electing *half* of
the ICANN Board, however, this decision is not as
important as it might normally be. The main
distinction here is how quickly the membership
can affect change. The more direct the voting,
the quicker the change.
In summary, I still think the bicameral approach
is the best. Whatever the voting, however, I
strongly support the "person" as the atomic unit
President, Iperdome, Inc.