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Re: [Membership] Peripheral comments on MAC recommendations

Daniel, please ignore me if these are points the MAC has already covered, I haven't had time to absorb all the fine detail. However, I haven't seen any comment on them elsewhere. If you find some of the statements rather coarse-grained, it is the hope that someone can come up with an subtle economic rebuttal of the high cost of enabling participatory democracy.



Daniel Kaplan wrote:

A 21:34 28/04/99 +0200, Mark Measday a écrit :
However the economics looks dangerous. ICANN would be promising to send
mail and authenticate theoretically every internet user in the world,
that's going to require staff, databases and a mailing operation (unless an
efficient internet alternative can be found or membership can be subsumed
into another existing entity like ISOC). That's probably ten dollars a head
by the time you have a few thousand members. Surely it would be
cost-efficient to charge a flat fee?

Well, I'm not so sure. Speaking of myself (but being a member of the MAC),
I believe:
- We don't anticipate that many people to join AL membership. We'll be
happy if we're wrong. If we're right, though, total cost will be very
bearable, even if cost-per-member is high.

If they are going to elect nine at-large directors, there need to be a sufficient number to counterbalance the business and professional interest of the others. Otherwise it's a trade association (and there are plenty who want it to be that). It wouldn't be possible (even fair)  to continue with that number of at-large directors, or to give them any effective power, if their constituency is only a few hundreds.
- Since the membership fee will have to be low in any case (at least we're
sure to have consensus on that in the MAC), collecting it might add another
burden, and probably cost more than it brings. In many countries people
don't have credit card, and anyway we can't make credit cards mandatory
even where they are heavily used. Other means of collecting money, in
various currencies of course, will be extremely costly.

However, I suddenly wonder: Why haven't we contemplated charging
organizations and not individuals? Is it a silly idea?

Charge organizations a multiple of the individual fee according to the stated number of employees in their annual accounts? Presumably charges should also apply to professional members and not only the at-large membership?
And the question of demographic pricing is incorrect.
Internet users in deprived areas are the rich elites. They are well able to
bear the fees. Flat fees would be much simpler to operate. Also on-line
registration as below.

Thay are also students, teachers and researchers in public universities,
civil servants... Who are often reasonably well-off for their country, but
very poor for developed countries' standards. In Vietnam, if you make
U.S.$200 a month, you're a wealthy person.

Their organizations would join, as those people would be ill-advised in many cases to join as individual members? ICANN's job is in its name, if it is interested in flattening global wealth differences, it should ask for a different mandate?
How will this reflect global diversity? Either members join as they wish
(i.e. approximately North America 45% Europe 30% AP 20% LA 5% Africa 1% or
will you be prioritising on price?

As they wish. There should be no procedure for accepting or rejecting
members, except by verifying that they provide the necessary information.
However, ICANN should develop a program in order to reach out to the
Internet community, giving priority to areas where users are least informed
and likely to join spontaneously.

Why not assume that most people are honest and allow on-line registration
to stand, with publication of the registrants? Then details could be
required if challenged, conceivably paid for by the challenger. This should
minimise the cost of registration, voter fraud and allow quick and easy
on-line registration.

We discussed that at length in the MAC, of course. I supported offline
verification (maybe an even more stringent one, such as require a copy of
some official ID, which would not be checked by ICANN but just kept in
store for whenever it might need it) because I believe the value of
litigation against AL elections for some organization who have a stake in
delaying reforms is so high, that we are sure they will do it unless ICANN
can show it has taken reasonable steps to verify the validity of its
membership (sorry for the non-lawyer language).

In my country of birth and conceivably other social outliers, there is little formal requirement to have official ID, but you exist nonetheless, so you may be down to birth certificates even in Europe. I dread to think of the verification processes for Kurdistan and Kosovo.

Who apart from known jokesters is going to bother to falsify and sue on this matter anyway? If it is other members of the organization, could not membership state an obligation not to sue others for actions within the ambit of the ICANN? (ok, naive statement)

Presumably the recent european data laws need to be taken into account
also. There would be specific other restrictions on the use of data
concerning EU citizens.

Not many, I believe. Access and correction rights on his/her data by a
member, which I don't anticipate to be a problem.

Isn't that very similar to the problem of correct whois data (to take a topical exemplar) which detains so many fine minds and some much administrative processing effort at NSI? A slightly exaggerated parallel, but not different in kind, merely scope. And presumably the exclusions for use of EU addresses for resale etc would complicate any database reuse more than the exclusions currently drafted.
Thank you Mark,


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Mark Measday

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