" ITREALMS: CIRA petitions ICANN, alleges non-accountability

Thursday, March 30, 2006

CIRA petitions ICANN, alleges non-accountability

CANADIAN Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has petitioned the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), suspending funding among other supports for alleged lack of accountability, transparency and fairness in its processes and precisely on renewal of dot-com agreement with VeriSign.

The letter dated March 17 and endorsed by the duo of chairman, CIRA board of director and it’s President, Clyde Beattie and Bernard Turcotte respectively, said that despite influential role being played by ICANN on Internet Governance, there are some short comings in the management of ICANN.

CIRA’s involvement has been in participating actively in events leading to the creation of ICANN; helping create the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO); chairing the ccNSO working group on IANA; voluntarily contributing funds to ICANN; hosting the ICANN Montreal meeting; supporting the ICANN Vancouver meeting in many ways including being its main sponsor; and generally promoting the value and benefits of ICANN to the world community.

It claimed that ICANN’s meetings of late are held in departure from its core values citing the instance of VeriSign’s latest agreement with ICANN.

“It is in this context that CIRA, wishing to see ICANN succeed, and expecting ICANN to follow accountable, transparent and fair processes, makes the following recommendations to the ICANN Board,” CIRA said in the letter.

Some of the recommendation, however, bothers on accountability, transparency and fair process.

On the accountability, CIRA said ICANN’s accountability to its stakeholders, including to the global Internet community is critical because ICANN’s legitimacy is premised on stakeholder trust.

“When ICANN is seen to be unaccountable it loses stakeholder trust and therefore its legitimacy,” the group declared.

Noting that ICANN must change its structures, formally and publicly including its by-laws, to ensure that ICANN and its board are accountable to stakeholders, and that board decisions are subject to formal checks and balances.

“A veto of Board decisions by a super-majority of Supporting Organisations would be an acceptable change,” CIRA stated.

On transparency, the Canadian body said that many important board discussions were held and many decisions taken behind closed doors, which leaves little or no formal record-keeping of these meetings beyond publishing the agenda and reporting the decisions made.

“We accept that the ICANN Board should be able to hold non-public meetings if necessary and should be able to meet in camera to discuss specific issues. However, the basis for any such action must be justified and that justification reported publicly,” CIRA advised.

On the third, fairness in processes, CIRA stated that in order to build and maintain trust and legitimacy, ICANN must establish and follow publicly documented and formally approved processes, which must be created in consultation with its stakeholders, in an accountable and transparent manner.

CIRA also said its suspending all voluntary contribution of funds to ICANN; consideration of any accountability framework; decline to host or be a major sponsor of any ICANN event; and cease chairing the ccNSO’s IANA Working Group” until its demands are rectified.

CIRA further expressed optimism that ICANN could live up to the multi-stakeholder, bottom-up, principles on which it was established.

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