" ITREALMS: Complaint about ICANN’s new complaints office

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Complaint about ICANN’s new complaints office


ICANN executives that this new process would be relevant and responsive to those prior URS complaints, we were willing to wait and see who was appointed as the new Complaints Officer and how the process would work. 

We presumed that the hire for this new post would be an ICANN outsider, in order to eliminate any prior relationships or internal culture acclimatization that might create a perception or reality of bias; and that the individual would have a strong background in handling corporate accountability and effectively resolving complaints arising from within and outside an organization.

That announcement was made today –
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that Krista Papac, Director of Registry Services and Engagement for ICANN’s Global Domains Division, has been named as ICANN’s Complaints Officer.

We have serious concerns about this choice — and they have nothing to do with Ms. Papac, for whom we have the highest personal and professional regard.

But how can any individual who has worked for years within ICANN’s GDD be expected to cast prior experience and relationships aside to thoroughly and dispassionately investigate a complaint brought against GDD actions generally, or those of a specific member of the GDD staff?

More specifically, in regard to ICA’s longstanding complaint about imposition of URS through the RA renewal process, Ms. Papac was the principal GDD staff contact for all five of the RAs which we have objected to. So how can she be expected to objectively deal with a complaint about ICANN actions for which she had primary responsibility? In effect, we’d be asking her to investigate her own official actions.

Again, ICA is awaiting full information about the new complaints process and the available relief it may afford before deciding whether to test it. But given Ms. Papac’s primary responsibility for the very official actions we’d be complaining about, it seems like we would be compelled to ask her to recuse herself from handling the complaint. Whether she would, and who ICANN might then select to handle the complaint, are unanswered questions to be resolved down the road.

Regardless of the answers, today’s development reiterates the need for the Work Stream II Accountability process to recommend modifications that significantly enhance the powers of an independent ICANN Ombudsman reporting directly to the Board.

It seemed clear to us that ICANN should have sought a disinterested person with a strong and demonstrated background in effective corporate responsibility to handle this important new post. That it instead selected an ICANN insider seems like a major unforced error. And 
that’s our complaint of the day.

By Philip Corwin contributed this from ICA.
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