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ICANN Bucharest Meeting Topic: Status Report on At-Large Organizing

12 June 2002

Status Report on At-Large Organizing

June 12, 2002

TO: ICANN Board of Directors
FROM: Denise Michel, At-Large Coordinator (Acting)
SUBJECT: Status Report on At-Large Organizing

In response to the Board's decision in Accra that "ICANN should have a robust At Large mechanism for meaningful, informed participation by Internet users of the kind recommended in the [At-Large Study Committee] ALSC report," a grass roots, self-supporting effort to establish At-Large structures worldwide was launched last month. This memo provides the Board with information on the progress the ICANN community has made thus far in creating (as directed by the Board) "At Large structures built upon bottom-up, self-organized, local Internet community institutions and other organizations that meet the general criteria of openness, participation, and self-sustainability."

With no funding currently available in ICANN's budget, the Board authorized the acceptance of initial contributions to support the creation and nurturing of At-Large structures. Esther Dyson, a member of the former ALSC and former Chairman of ICANN, led initial fundraising efforts, and I am coordinating the organizing and fundraising efforts on a temporary basis. (I am the former Executive Director of the ALSC). Thus far, a total of US$17,000 in donations has been received from Esther Dyson, Salesforce.com, Timothy Andrews, and Verisign, and we are seeking additional private sector support.

A website and mailing list was established last month at www.at-large.org to distribute information and assistance for the creation and growth of At-Large structures, and notices were distributed to individuals and organizations.

As directed by the Board, At-Large structures can be new groups or existing organizations that will involve and represent individual Internet users on issues that fall within ICANN's mission. At-Large structures have been asked to commit to:

  • Meet general criteria of openness, participation, and self-sustainability;
  • Engage in outreach to, and education of, individual Internet users about ICANN and ICANN issues;
  • Involve individual Internet users, aggregate views, and identify relevant Internet user priorities;
  • Solicit the opinions of their members on these issues; and
  • Work with other ICANN stakeholders to address issues and develop positions on Internet policy issues that fall within ICANN's mission.

At this writing, 15 At-Large structures have been created (or designated) representing over 500,000 individual Internet users in over 70 countries:

(Worldwide)

(Africa)

(Asia-Pacific)

(Europe)

(Latin America/Caribbean)

(North America)

  • Institute for the Study of Information Technology and Society (InSITeS) (www.cmu.edu/insites)
  • Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (Civil Society Democracy Proj.) (www.cpsr.org)
  • California Democratic Party, Computer & Internet Caucus (www.ca-dem-net.org)

To guide, encourage and help with preliminary At-Large organizing efforts, a temporary, informal At-Large Organizing Committee recently was formed. Their work is being conducted primarily via email and the website, and focuses on:

  • Conducting outreach, identifying individuals/groups worldwide (individuals, academic institutions, businesses, non-commercial/consumer groups, and other non-governmental organizations) interested in relevant Internet user issues and At-Large organizing;
  • Managing surveys and discussions on specific relevant issues, as determined by user indications of interest or ICANN's policy-making activities;
  • Identifying common (and conflicting) objectives and interests relevant to Internet users and ICANN's mission; and
  • Establishing mechanisms for coordination and cooperation and policy development among At-Large structures and with ICANN stakeholders, including supporting the Board's directive on At-Large, which states that "the Board Committee on Restructuring, working in conjunction with the President and staff, is instructed to ensure that their ongoing efforts at crafting a blueprint for ICANN reform include (a) workable mechanisms and procedures that enable meaningful opportunities for participation by the full range of Internet users, including individuals, academic institutions, large and small businesses, non-commercial entities (including consumer groups), and other non-governmental organizations, (b) an appropriate role for those interests in ICANN's coordinating and management structures, and (c) appropriate mechanisms to minimize disruption during the reform implementation process."

The At-Large Organizing Committee comprises representatives of At-Large Structures, as well as one member each from the former At-Large Study Committee and the former NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS) group. The Committee currently includes:

The goal of the At-Large structures is to represent individual Internet users in ICANN's development of policies and practices for the management of the DNS, which will help ensure that ICANN operates as a private entity for the benefit of all members of the Internet community. These organizations and their members are concerned about, and involved in, a variety of Internet issues, and members of the At-Large Organizing Committee are discussing which ICANN issues they will work together to address. Under discussion are issues on which they could provide a collective "individual Internet users" perspective, including:

  • Internationalized domain names;
  • Practices and policies for registering and transferring generic top level domain names (gTLD's);
  • Requirements concerning provision, access to, and use of "who is" data;
  • Domain-name intellectual property issues;
  • Introduction of new top level domains (TLDs,);
  • Implementation of IPv6;
  • Fair allocation of address space; and
  • Participation and representation of At-Large in ICANN's policy and decision-making.

Members of At-Large Organizing Committee are submitting initial comments to the Evolution and Reform Committee regarding representation and participation of At-Large in a reformed ICANN. In the near term, it is expected that the Committee will continue to focus their efforts on supporting the formation of At-Large structures, providing input on ICANN reform, and identifying and providing input on key ICANN issues.

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