No, ICANN does not represent the “global Internet community”
Dominated by U.S and Europe. Don’t flame me; I supported the ICANN transition. I also am aware of the limitations of ICANN that are generally ignored. In particular, some who know better called this a victory of the global Internet community.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true.
The global Internet community is not represented in ICANN in a meaningful form. The Board and the staff they appoint make essentially all the decisions. ICANN is a model of community participation in discussion, a good thing. But a close look at the detailed process shows the community neither makes decisions or chooses those who do. An early process of elected members was shut down.
One-third of the Internet – Mainland China – is not represented. According to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadi, they could not be represented while NTIA had control. In addition, the board members are European, American, or mostly in sympathy. (I have traced the ties of the handful from the global South.)
The majority of Internet users are not in the countries well represented in ICANN. The gap is growing rapidly.
Around late next year, Africans with 3G and 4G Internet connections will pass 320M, the U.S. population. The 4G revolution in India will very quickly add 200M more. China is already over 600M, as well as 270M with landline broadband, about as many as the U.S. and Western Europe combined. About 2/3rds of the world’s Internet users have minimal representation in ICANN.
I take the position that effective Internet governance is impossible with half the Internet users excluded. I am not blind to the authoritarian nature of China and other regimes, but they are part of the world. We need a “Nixon goes to China” moment.
Unfortunately, the board is essentially self-perpetuating. Unless the board members choose to change things, ICANN does not represent the global Internet community.
The Internet Society has a $30M/year subsidy from dot org registrations. We can and should be the most powerful consumer advocates on the Internet. Accurate analysis is an important first step. Dave
Internet Society congratulates global Internet community on successful IANA stewardship transition.
01 October 2016
The Internet Society Board of Trustees joins the Internet community in celebrating today’s historic milestone whereby the stewardship of the IANA functions will be transitioned to the global Internet community.
Today’s IANA stewardship transition fulfills a vision of multistakeholder governance set forth nearly 20 years ago. The work undertaken by the global Internet community to develop a robust, consensus proposal for the IANA stewardship transition demonstrates the legitimacy of the collaborative approach to governing critical Internet resources. By allowing its contract with ICANN regarding IANA oversight to expire, the U.S. government has demonstrated its continued support for the multistakeholder model.
“Today’s outcome confirms the strength of both the community and the multistakeholder process in tackling issues important to the continued growth and evolution of the Internet,” said Gonzalo Camarillo, Chair of the Internet Society’s Board of Trustees. “We commend the NTIA for its trust and confidence in the multistakeholder Internet community to achieve this important accomplishment.”
As an interested party to the transition, the Internet Society has been involved in the IANA stewardship transition since the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to withdraw from these core technical functions of the Internet in March 2014. Throughout the development of the plan, the Internet Society strongly supported the transition as the means to ensure the continued smooth operation of the global Internet.
“The expiration of the IANA contract is a remarkable testament to the persistence and courage by many individuals and organizations to do what is best for the Internet,” said Kathryn Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society. “We look forward to working with ICANN to implement the processes set out in the proposal to ensure its success. We are confident that, working with (and through) ICANN, the Internet community is committed and prepared to carry out stewardship of the IANA functions in an open, inclusive, transparent and accountable manner.”
The IANA transition is a powerful illustration of the multistakeholder model and an affirmation of the principle that the best approach to address challenges is through bottom-up, transparent, and consensus-driven processes. To fulfill our shared vision of a global Internet of opportunity, the multistakeholder community must apply the same level of commitment to connecting the unconnected and strengthening global trust in the Internet. The Internet Society is fully committed to playing its part to ensure the Internet grows as a platform for innovation and collaboration.
Finally, the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society would like to thank all those actively committed to this transition. In particular, the Board notes the significant contributions of the IANA Coordination Group, especially ISOC appointees Narelle Clark and Demi Getschko.