IGF 2016 - Day 4 - Room 4 - DC on Accountability


The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Hello, everyone.  We'll start the session now.  Welcome to the Dynamic Coalition on Accountability.  My name is Farzaneh Badiei.  I'm one of the co-leaders of the Dynamic Coalition on Accountability.  What we are going to do today in our session.  This Dynamic Coalition was created in 2014 and it was supposed to focus on ICANN accountability, but we need to have a discussion on broader issues and other Internet Governance organisations as well, now that we are kind of at the end of our discussion about ICANN accountability.

What we are going to do, in the first segment of this session we are going to discuss what has been done with ICANN accountability, what issues have been covered and how these issues are related to the other Internet Governance organisations.

And in the second segment of the session we are going to talk about what we are going to do with this Dynamic Coalition, what is the focus of the Dynamic Coalitions.  Those who are not members should become members of the Dynamic Coalition.  I'll go to Milton and start with the broad accountability and ICANN accountability in specific.  Thank you.

>> MILTON MUELLER:  Thank you, Farzaneh.  So as you know, ICANN has just gone through a major reform process, as part of the IANA transition.  Many of us are relatively pleased with the reforms that we got out of that, but there's also an implementation problem.  So we have to engage in a lot of detailed follow-up work in order to make sure that the reforms are implemented in a way that will work.

So there's a whole range of different activities going on in what is now called Work Stream 2.  For example, there is an implementation of the rules for the appeals process, the independent review process.  There is a Human Rights Working Group which is trying to implement a framework for interpreting ICANN's commitment to respect human rights.  There is some questions about how ICANN's accountability is affected by jurisdictional issues.  Am I forgetting any major follow-up?  Oh, there's the accountability of the SOs and ACs.  And there is transparency Working Group.  There's six or seven, nine different subgroups working on Work Stream 2, implementing the various accountability reforms.

As a general comment I would want to say that in terms of, if you look at the Internet community as an autonomous self governing community, which I think we should, independent of nation states, we can claim in effect a big victory in that these implementation reforms are taking place.  Of course, as Spiderman says, with great power goes great responsibility.  We have all kinds of burdensome follow-up duties to make sure that these reforms are actually implemented in a way that works.

And that's where the rubber really hits the road.  We really have to follow up and make sure everything works.

Now, I'm going to give you one example of an area where I think we have stumbled a bit in our Work Stream activities, and that is with the independent review process.  One of the key aspects of the independent review process is to make sure that ICANN has what is in effect a judicial appeal system where if ICANN does something that is violating its bylaws or it is creeping out of its mission and trying to become too powerful, we can challenge it, just like you can challenge a government in a constitutional court and say you are violating the law.

So this is very important.  In particular, many of us fought for, in civil society many of us fought for kind of an ICANN First Amendment, if you will, which says that ICANN shall not engage in content regulation designed to keep ICANN in its narrow technical coordination mission.

Now, when writing up the implementation rules for the independent review process, the lawyers wrote up something and it was pretty good.  We noticed there was a very short time limit on challenging these decisions or policies.  And in particular, there was a 45-day limit.  You must file a challenge.  If you think you have been harmed by one of these rules or policies, you have to challenge it within 45 days when you become aware of the harm.  That's a bit short, but it is not terrible.  Maybe that should be extended by a month or so.

But the real problem came in that there is a hard one-year limit on making any challenges to anything, so that if something happens a year later, nobody can challenge it.  When this was first proposed there was a big discussion on the list.  Everybody said, you know, this is too short.  We need to change this.  But somehow those changes were never made.  Now ICANN has put out for public comment a document with these rules which contains this 45-day one-year limit.  One thing I would hope is that all of you become aware of this and your organisation can file public comments calling for an extension of these time limits, or if not an extension.  For example, it is not clear to me why there should be any limit on any fixed limit.  It possibly should be a time limit in which if you are aware of the harm, you should have a limit within which you can file an appeal, but the idea that there should be an overarching one-year or two-year limit seems to me to be unsupportable given the nature of the appeals process.

Its purpose is to limit what ICANN can do to make it stay within the boundaries of its bylaws and its mission.  I see no reason why there should be a time limit.

Anyway, my organisation, the Internet Governance project, will be filing comments on that.  I know that several others will be.  If yours can, I encourage you to file public comments in that proceeding.  Let me quickly pull up.

The closing date for public comments is the 10th of January.  They are called the updated supplementary procedures for independent review process.  Comments were opened on the 30th of November, so we have 39 days, in every part of the world part of a holiday period, to file these comments.

Internet Governance is a never ending struggle, accountability is a never ending struggle.  I hope we can stay on the ball here.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you, Milton.  We go now to Tatiana.

>> TATIANA MARTINS:  Thank you very much, Farzaneh.  I will start from the broader perspective.  I think that we still don't know what human rights mean.  From the perspective of the accountability of the international organisations.  If you have a look at the human rights international instruments, they are for governments only.  So is the duty of the governments to protect human rights and enforce human rights.  The question is, what does that have to do with Internet Governance organisations?

Well, if we have a broader look, there are some other instruments, like the so-called overriding principles.  The UN guiding principles for human rights.  These were developed for the big supply chain businesses to make them avoid violations of human rights, for example child labour, slavery, torture, and so on.

They were not developed with organisations that are dealing with policymaking in mind.  So the question is, what kind of obligation, what kind of commitment these IG organisations which are dealing with Internet Governance have with regard to human rights?

Apparently this would be the obligation to respect human rights, the obligation to take human rights into account in policymaking.  Apparently this obligation has to avoid inclusion of the enforcement of human rights because it is still the duty of the governments.  I don't think any of us want a private judgment, a private enforcement because the limits of such enforcements are unclear.

So what does respect for human rights mean for IG organisations?  Well, we have one example and it is kind of the process of accountability already mentioned that we have human rights in the Work Stream, too.  We are working on this in Work Stream 1.  It was clear with the U.S. government going away, there is no hard stop for any human rights violation, that organisations -- ICANN as an organisation will not be accountable in case if human rights violations will happen.  So in the Work Stream 1 we developed a human rights bylaw.  We wanted a commitment but it was accepted as a core value for the respect for human rights.  We are trying to figure out in the framework, what it means to have respect for human rights.

We are struggling with the overriding principles.  There is a debate whether these principles are for ICANN.  They are for supply chain businesses.  We decided, this is in the first draft now.  It is out for the consideration of the bigger group, we decided that human rights for ICANN will mean that ICANN will take human rights into consideration in the policymaking processes.  Of course we are trying to draw the fine line between respect for human rights and enforcement of human rights.  ICANN will not be able to, for example, use human rights as a tool for content regulation because we know that copyright is a human right.  So there are different human rights that actually have to be balanced.  This is why we also have it not as a commitment but as a core value.

So this is one of the examples.  And this story has not come to its end yet.  We are still figuring out, because later maybe in the framework of implementation of this commitment there will be two different streams for human rights.  One of them would be to take human rights into account in the policy development processes and the second one would be to avoid human rights violations in the operations.  That's where, I don't know, that's where we might consider some of the overriding principles.  I can definitely say I don't think they are applicable to the Internet Governance organisations.  I think ICANN can set up a perfect example how to develop these this commitment without, how to say, boring the principles or the obligations which were developed not for this type of organisations.  Thanks.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you very much, Tatiana.  Now we go to Steve Del Bianco about the stakeholders groups and decision makers accountability.

>> STEVE DEL BIANCO:  Thank you.  I worked extensively on this transition.  As you know, the stakeholder groups that were defined in ICANN's bylaws have specific representative communities and, therefore, they are creatures of the ICANN bylaws.  In ICANN, only in one incidence did it reach out and recognize an existing body, the IETF.  They created the stakeholder community and assigned different responsibilities and roles to those communities.

In this transition, I think for the first time we created a structure where the organisation ICANN is more accountable to the stakeholder groups in the bylaws.  Prior to this instead of ICANN being a membership organisation such as the one I run, net choice, and many of the civil society groups are nonprofit organisations that answer to their Members.  In the case of ICANN it was explicitly not a membership organisation.  There was no way for the members to exercise routine accountability powers such as blocking a budget, changing a buy law or spilling the board of directors if they felt they had gone off the rails.

Two years later we have in fact succeeded at creating accountability by which the stakeholder community can hold the corporation far more accountable than we ever have before.  That's definitely an outcrop of the transition, but it was not anticipated in the transition.  The IANA functions wouldn't have said anything about accountability, but we came together and used the leveraging to get the accountability we never had.  We'll call it accountability to the stakeholders.

There is a second layer of accountability that we are exploring in Work Stream 2, 1 of the nine projects that Milton Mueller discussed a few moments ago.  That's the project on the SOs, the stakeholder organisations and AC, the advisory Committees, trying to understand the extent to which they are accountable to the communities they were designated to serve.

My own group is the constituency groups at ICANN.  We are to serve business users and registrants or the domain name system.  The question that we have to confront is:  Are we open and transparent to the business community that we are supposed to serve?  Are we inviting to new members when they attempt to join the VC?  Is eligibility ever in question?  Are we accessible, affordable, welcoming?  More importantly, do we actually do outreach to communities that are poorly represented on the BC?  That could be certain sizes of business, could be geographical and linguistic diversity that we need to get representation.

Another question is, how are we with eligibility for officers in elections?  Do we have procedures that affect how we make decisions, conduct polls?  Are we accountable for sticking to those procedures?  Can they be appealed by one who feels they were wrongly excluded where a decision was reached without following the rules?  Each SO, stakeholder organisation and advisory Committee in ICANN is currently undergoing a self examination as to whether it is truly accountable to the stakeholder groups that they were designated to serve.

We won't finish that work for several more months, but out of it I hope that we can make recommendations for how each of the groups can perhaps improve its accountability to the group they were designated to serve. 

I hope that gives you the kind of overview you were looking for.  I'm happy to follow up if there's more you wanted to learn.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Great.  Thank you, Steve.  Lee, would you like to make an intervention now?  Yes, like the broader perspective?

>> LEE HIBBARD:  Thank you very much for the invitation to this.  My name is Lee Hibbard from the Council of Europe.  We have 47 Member States.  It serves over 800 million people in the Pan-European area.

It serves those people and it is, if you like, accountable to the Member States in that construction what is very important is that we are accountable to assure that we have human rights protection and safeguards, the rule of law and democracy.  With regard to cutting to the chase, regarding the Internet, I think the reason why the Council of Europe is here in the IGF, here in Internet Governance space, is here in ICANN, for example, working as it works is to assure that as we go forward with our understanding of democracy with human rights and rule of law that we ensure they are not just theoretical and illusory but practical and effective.  These are living -- these are living documents and that's the role of the European Court of Human Rights is to assure that those are modern and effective and dynamic.

I think to be very short is that we are here to assure that these individuals have rights and freedoms.  As we have become more and more online, we live our lives more and more online, those rights and freedoms follow us.  They don't become more and more distant.

And I'm thinking of nondiscrimination.  I'm thinking of integrity, et cetera.  That also includes the accountability of other snugs.  As Tatiana said in terms of ICANN, it's still being worked out about what human rights means in that context.  We are part of that process trying to work it out.  We try to provide inputs.  We just produced an independent report on community top level domains to help as an input to the process, to help us on how communities can, you know, their requests are processed with regard to human rights dimensions.

I think to conclude, we feel very much like one of the actors trying to work it out, like we all or.  As the fast pace of technological change makes it incumbent on us to be accountable, dynamic and effective. 

Does that respond to your needs?  Thank you.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thanks, Lee, for that.  This microphone is working, yes.

Matthew, if you can tell us more about the ICANN accountability as a whole?  Then we can just wrap up this segment, thank you.

>> MATTHEW SHEARS:  Thanks, Farzaneh, Matthew Shears, Centre for Technology.  Like many here and at the IGF, I was very much involved in the accountability and transition work.  Steve covered a lot of this but I want to pick up a couple of point and perhaps broaden the landscape a little bit.

One of the great lessons from within the Working Group itself is that we have to be accountable to each other.  That accountability to each other is at the foundation of some of the things that ensured that we could work together.  We had an accountability within the Working Group and to each other to be cooperative, to be willing to compromise, to be flexible.  Yet there was, of course, an understanding that the work in that Working Group, we would still have our respective views.  Those views would be upheld.

So that accountability not only is vis-a-vis the board, it is not only vis-a-vis the communities within ICANN, but it is also in the Working Groups and the work that the communities do together.  That is an important kind of dynamic and very small concentration of another sense of accountability.

The interesting thing about the accountability work at ICANN, it has gone through such an incredible review process and we really turned overall the stones as much as we could.  We assessed all the ways in which ICANN the organisation should be accountable.  Now, as Steve said, we are going through the same thing with the supporting organisations and advisory committees which raises an interesting question in my mind.  I'm happy that there is a Dynamic Coalition on accountability.  We can put it to interesting use.  If we expand this notion of accountability and we look a little bit more broadly beyond ICANN, because at the end of the day the inter-linkages between the organises and the overlapping spaces that these organisations have within the Internet ecosystem actually do dictate in a way that we have similar levels of accountability or indeed similar accountabilities.  I think that's an important factor for us to consider as these dependencies probably are most likely to grow when we are addressing things like IETF standardisation an protocols and addressing things like RIRs and if we can push the ecosystem further out.  Of course it depends on how we define the ecosystem, but we might find that the interlinkages overlap to such a agree, we have to push that out further.

There is an interesting concept we may be able to address.  That's one of the things that Farzaneh is going to tee up in the second part of this.  What do we mean by accountability within an Internet space as a whole?  We've done a lot on ICANN, but what about some of the other players?

I think the value of doing that is that we could possibly learn something from the other organisations and the Internet ecosystem as to how they address accountability.  That will strengthen our overall accountability.  That is another way of looking at what we've done in ICANN and taking it and looking at it more broadly and possibly looking at the ecosystem as a whole. 

Thanks, Farzaneh.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thanks, Matthew.  So now we can move on to the second segment of this session, which is about what should be the scope of this Dynamic Coalition?  What should we focus on?  And what should we collaborate on?  Which organisations, what processes?

So to give you an example, during last year we, with the Dynamic Coalition members like around, we received around ten comments on the MAG, multi-stakeholder advisory group at IGF.  That is one of the very small issues we took up.  We came up with a couple of comments and recommendations.  But the question now is, where are we going?  And what is the scope of this Dynamic Coalition?  What do we want to do with it?  Do we want to work on RIRs?  Do we want to take what we have learned from our involvement with ICANN accountability to other processes and discuss them?

And so this is an open question for the participants.  If anyone has comments, please?  If you don't have comments I'm going to call on you and you are going to make a comment.  Okay.

Yes, please.

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you very much.  I do agree with Milton that this time limit doesn't have any reason to be.  I know that some subgroups will finish in this time limit, but there is some subgroups who will not finish their work.  And if we make them high up, perhaps the result will not be the best.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Sorry, are we talking about ICAAN accountability here?

>> AUDIENCE:  I am talking about the subgroups, Work Stream 2.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Okay.  Yes, subgroups of ICANN in WS2, yeah.  Basically my aim here, the goal that I was trying to achieve here was to kind of broaden the scope and not to be specifically focused on ICANN and see what else we can work on.

For example, I think Lee suggested we can also look at the processes at even intergovernmental organisations.

>> LEE HIBBARD:  Thank you.  I think that, I'm speaking freely here, but the world multi-stakeholder, of course, is used everywhere here.  That is a big word for people, loaded with things, but I think the intergovernmental organisations are trying to understand what multi-stakeholder means in their own processes.  There are circumscribed procedures with very circumscribed actors, in particular Member States but not only.  There are observers, et cetera.  So it is, it needs to be worked out exactly to what extent multi-stakeholder features in the functioning of the intergovernmental organisations.

Speaking to different colleagues, they are here because they are interested to find out what that means.  I hope they take it back to their spaces.

From any organisation, the Council of Europe, multi-stakeholder has been written down in texts that have been adopted by Member States, which means to say there is a recognition on paper of the fact that multi-stakeholder dialogue on Internet Governance is important.  Therefore, there are efforts being made to be multi-stakeholder.  That means I can tell you that currently opening up to companies, for example -- this is an intergovernmental organisation which has Member States, governments primarily at its heart.  We are looking to engage in regular dialogue with companies in order to assure that there are practical and effective respect and protection of human rights.  So it is work ongoing.  I think it is very important that we are here to try to engage with that.  But it is still an ongoing process and I don't think we have a clear, yet a clear understanding about what that means.  But I think it will come.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Okay, thank you, Lee.

So Jan wants to make a comment and we have Jeremy, a remote participant.  Thanks.

>> JAN SCHULT:  Thanks.  I think the idea of taking the coalition broader is promising.  There are a lot of things that could be done.  As several speakers said, ICANN is unfinished business.  I wouldn't leave ICANN behind.  Work Stream 2 has so much to do and accountability is never finished.  It's a bit like democracy:  Always pursued, never achieved.

Other places where you can go?  The IETF certainly within the core Critical Internet Resource institutions, the IETF tends to be quite self congratulatory about its accountability arrangements and having a critical look at that.  Everyone should be open to critical examination.  That is certainly a place where one could look.  RIRs, I know that APNIC did a big review in recent times so one could look at that and see how that could be taken into the other RIRs.  The intergovernmental organises, they tend to focus on:  Oh, we are governments, therefore we are accountable.  I don't think that follows by any means.  A lot of my past work was done on wood institutions and there was a lot of work done on transparency and correction and so on and so forth there.

Another place where one could look, in the academic literature it is called transgovernmental networks.  Transgovernmental networks is global governance by governments but not through Intergovernmental Organization but through informals.  The GAC is a good example.  The GAC has no status in international law.  But the GAC is, it's people from ministries coming there.  Ministerial officials.  They are not elected.  Their accountability to Parliaments, officials, legislatures, so on and so forth is not clear at all.

Looking at the OECD on issues, looking at the GAC, the transgovernmental officials, they get away from it.  We are governments, therefore we are representative and accountable.  Therefore, their accountability to officials is by no means law.  They are not under international law, so it's hard to hold them up to law either.  One can go on and on and on.

The question that Matthew raised about the accountability of the space as a whole is intellectually very interesting, but I wonder practically how one would do it.  I have a little bit of background.

This is my four by four on the various, acronyms, not written out.  All of the different institutions involved from global to local, public, private, and hybrid involved in Internet Governance.  Looking at these collectively and saying how is this all accountable?  I don't know.  A Nobel prize is waiting.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you, Jan.  Jeremy is remotely attending and would like to make a comment.

>> AUDIENCE:  Hello.  Can you hear me?

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Yes, we can hear you.

>> AUDIENCE:  Great.  Thanks for inviting me to the meeting, Farzaneh.  I have a couple of suggestions.  I think I would like to see some more work done on the IGF itself and the MAG.  I have been in touch with Jody from the Centre of Internet Society or formerly, from India when she wrote, she was employed there when she wrote a paper called "Mapping MAG:  An Analysis of the Membership 2006 to 2016."  I found this really useful and I think something that we could use and maybe publish as an output of the Dynamic Coalition if we were to update it.  It shows very clearly that the MAG is unduly dominated by the industry and government stakeholder groups, and there is a lack of transparency in the way that the selections are made.

Some of the statistics that she came out with in this analysis are really striking.  The technical community has only 5 percent of representation on the MAG over the period that she studied.  Industry has about 40 percent representation.  Governments also about 40 percent.  She also looks at the gender balance, which is very bad.  And her conclusion -- I'll read out a couple of short paragraphs from her conclusion because it is interesting.  She says the opaque and vague selection criteria for the MAG members and the lack of clarity on their scope and remit led to a deficit of trust.  The lack of trust significantly curtails MAG's legitimacy as an effective body for steering the IGF towards developing solutions.  Historically there has been failure in documenting the selection criteria for membership, and limited transparency around MAG's decision making process.

The data shared by the IGF Secretariat confirmed that there were no records of the nomination procedure and that the membership list was missing for a year -- which is incredible.  Further there was some confusion on the organisational source that the nominees were representing while serving on the MAG

This opens up glaring questions.  One, on what criteria are members selected and rotated? 

Two, is an objective evaluation undertaken or are representatives hand picked by criteria and priorities defined by the UN?

Three, is there sufficient information on what the UN Secretary General is looking for in candidates?  These issues are well-known and documented but there has been no progress on finding solutions.  IGF and MAG will benefit from clarifying the issues.  Increasing transparency in the procedure and MAG working and decision making will be a huge step towards strengthening and building trust in this unique multi-stakeholder mechanism.

That is just the conclusion of her paper.  I would love to be involved in some more work on this.  And if we could set aside some of the Dynamic Coalition's attention to this issue and maybe publishing something as an output, that would be really great.  I notice that this Dynamic Coalition wasn't one of those that participated in the publication of outputs and the issue survey this year, but I would love for us to do that next year as well.  These are some of the things I would like to suggest.

Also I would note that earlier in the early days of this Dynamic Coalition, there was some question about whether the will accountability of trade negotiations or trade agreements would be within scope.  Since then, we have had a lot of attention paid this year to the issue of trade in the Internet.  And a number of stakeholders came together to say that they would like to form a separate Dynamic Coalition on that topic.  So I think that's probably good news in that we can complement the work that each of the Dynamic Coalitions does, and I think having one that is dedicated to trade in a broader sense, not just accountability but including that, would be able to draw on the work that this DC does and vice versa.  Maybe we don't need to devote too much of our own attention to that issue but we can complement the work that the new Dynamic Coalition on trade will be doing.

I think that's all I have.  If there are questions or comments, I'm happy to respond.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Okay.  So I think we are getting a little bit, we are talking about too many things here and maybe we should be more focused on what we really want to do.  If we want to pick an issue, for example transparency.  Or I don't know, some kind of issue that we can look at with all organisations or do we want to look at one organisation for a period of time and then take action and be involved with that organisation?

So that is what I think we should think about.  Corrine, you are next and then Milton.

>> CORRINE CATH:  Hi, Corrine here.  My capacity is a student at the Oxford Internet Institute.

I think obviously the work of the Dynamic Coalition is super timely.  The work on ICAAN is a good example.  I did research on the Internet task and ran into some of the issues that Jan mentioned.  RIPE set up a Task Force on Accountability that I'm on.  There's a lot of people in the ecosystem who are worried about this right now.  In terms of focusing on one specific organisation or one specific topic, I think it might actually be more interesting to get the lay of the land by inviting different individuals to come and speak and have them talk about how they see accountability because it is very clear that there is no one definition of it or one way to procedurally do it.  Something that I would be very worried about is saying we are going to focus on just transparency or we are just going to focus on you human rights, because I feel to a large extent sometimes these concepts either get conflated with accountability.  I see the same thing happening with multi-stakeholderism.  Some people say we have multi-stakeholder models, hence we have accountability.  These are not the same thing.

It is important that we structure the conversation where we understand these are the different actors in the ecosystem.  These are the different ways that they approach accountability.  These are the different concepts and procedures that go into it when they do it.  Then say this is what we can learn from it.  On the basis of that, build a next step to move forward on how to ensure accountability for Internet Governance.  Just my two cents.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you, Corrine.  Milton?

>> MILTON MUELLER:  Yes.  I think the concept of a Dynamic Coalition has always been a bit vague.  I think it was the attempt of the IGF to assist with something that actually had outcomes that would not be part of the forum.  I'm not sure exactly.

What I hear here is not a very clear conception of what the coalition should do.  I hear a lot of different ideas.  I don't think it's feasible to follow up on all of them unless you come up with a better way of operating.

So I do think it's a mistake to say oh, we only do ICANN accountability here or only do IGOs.  The we should be willing to do accountability about any issue that affects any institution within the Internet Governance environment.  However, just to go back to the example I gave you about the IRP process, to really know when an accountability issue exists, you have to be deeply involved in these organisations.  So when I say, when I hear people say we should cover ICANN, the World Trade Organization, all the RIRs, the IGF itself and seven other institutions, we are clearly in the realm of a not feasible demand on our time and resources.

So could there be some working mode in which we set up a process by which people report back to us who are interested in different things, and then we focus our efforts on priority issues?  I really think we have to grapple with the allocation of resources.  I would note that the chair, convene or of this accountability Dynamic Coalition is a volunteer.  This is not part of her job, day job.  And it is not part of my day job.  I think maybe Matt could be drafted into running the thing.


>> MILTON MUELLER:  It's a question of practicality.  What are we going to focus on?  What are concrete tangible objectives that could be done within the resource constraints that we have?

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you, Milton.  Yes, did you have some ideas on what we can focus on?  Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  I have, but I think it was already in the queue.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Sorry, I didn't see you.  Kovan, and then Matt.

>> My name is Kovan.  I'm part of the ICAAN board but I speak for myself.  So to give some guidance and I like Milton's take on finding priorities.  I think one part which -- it is very importance tan to go for the highest value target.  We can not look at all of these organisations.  I think there is something which should be clarified.  And it can be very useful for this developing country to think about, is the -- owe for this DC to think about, it is the value change of how things happen. 

I will use an extreme example.  There are so many less extreme ones happening on a daily basis.  Say IETF.  If they decide today to say any resolver, which looks up names, after it doesn't find some they should go look at a second registry which will be set up as defined in RFC.  That will by pass everything that has been said in Work Stream 2 and the whole ICANN setup and everything.  It can happen in theory.

As it has happened in many, Dot Onia happened because IETF put in a special use and they did that because actually a if you, had an implementation which has millions of users.

There is a high value chain, a few browser interfaces: Chrome, Firefox.  If today they decided to use dot browser for their stuff, it will be there and people will start using it.  IETF will add it to special use after some time and it will bypass all of those mechanisms set by ICANN and others.  It will be wise to first of all understand, and if you think it's valuable to acknowledge the role of these technical people and this model, and then decide if you want to do something about that, let's think about -- I mean, this should be from various perspectives.  Should we hold browser people accountable?  Should we hold IETF accountable in a different way?  IETF is accountable for themselves an have good measure for that, but IG people don't have any input to that directly.  Do you want the channel there?  Is it possible to work at IETF, to come up with ideas.

So I think this is the highest value target in this chain which has been ignored for many, many reasons.  Biggest reason being ICANN and the names industry are being very visible.  Yes, they have a lot around them, but to be honest from my point of view, the reason is because there's a lot of money in that industry.  What ICANN does, the importance of the names is not higher than numbers or routing or any of the other technical parts of the Internet.  And most of the focus of these Committees as I observed mostly goes to names because the ICANN structure is there.

I this it is wise to look at wider, like the real role of the technical community and do we want to hold them accountable or not.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you, Kovan.  Adam?

>> ADAM PEAKE:  Good morning.  Adam Peake.  First, I think talking about ICANN seems a bit just duplicating something that is going on elsewhere and potentially leads to confusion rather than anything particularly helpful.  You bring people into that process but don't have two parallel conversations.  I was confused walking in a little bit late and hearing Milton talking again about accountability.  It's the third time.

I thought the purpose of this Dynamic Coalition when it was established and that was some years ago, was really it was about looking at organisations and venues involved in Internet Governance and their different processes and policies, are they accountable, are they standing up to the standards that we think are appropriate?  We do have some new standards we worked on, because I did work on ICANN accountability and has moved that sort of thought forward.

I thought it was looking at other bodies working on Internet policy and trying to decide, mapping out what those might be, what their procedures are, what their policymaking processes are.  Are they transparent and accountable and looking at people working on them and where are their opinions coming from?  What weight should they have and should we trust them?

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thank you.  That needs a lot of research, a lot of resources.  And we are trying to kind of find out how we can do things with limited resources. Matt, do you have a comment on this?

>> MATTHEW SHAOERS:  Yes.  Thanks, Farzaneh.  I actually think Adam is absolutely right, but as you came in a little late in fairness to the panelists we were using ICANN accountability as a point of departure.  But I think you're right and that should be the purpose of this Dynamic Coalition.  That is also what we are here to discuss and to talk about.

One thing that might be helpful when we think about how do we understand accountability across the ecosystem is perhaps to look at ways that we've addressed this in the Work Stream 2 work that Steve was referring to earlier on, where even within the ICANN community the different SOs and ACs, supporting organisations and advisory committees have different communities and in some ways similar or differing accountability mechanisms.  It might be useful to follow the work that Work Stream 2 did, sending out a series of questions, what are your accountability policy and processes?  That might be an initial way, maybe we select a smaller group of organisations within the Internet ecosystem and take that kind of approach.  It shouldn't be too consuming, but it might be at least a start in the direction that we want to go.  Thanks.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  So we draft questionnaires and send it to organisations and they will never answer.


>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  But I think that's one way to go.  No, I'm just trying to see where we can go.  But yes, that is one of the ways, we can put that as a way forward.

Jan, you wanted to make a comment?

>> JAN SCHULT:  Yes.  Jan Schult.

People raised the question what would the purpose of the Dynamic Coalition be, looking for a way going forward.  You want to do something that others aren't doing and do something that is useful, important.  I can think of three possible things.  One is, as was already done earlier in regard to the MAG, a venue to highlight accountability problems in the Internet ecosystem wherever they might occur.  This would not be the place that actually invests them, though they might identify the problems and suggest that other people do something about it.  That's one thing.

Another thing, what IGF is particularly good for is comparing practices.  This can be a place where different people from different institutions and different accountability processes, come together this year and say I'm involved in the RIPE and other people are involved with the ICANN.  People can talk to each other and learn from each other and help each other forward.

The third thing that comes to my mind, and perhaps excuse me if this is maybe a little bit more academic, but I don't think so.  I think it's an important political point.  Not necessarily to look at accountability of the ecosystem as a whole in the way that Matthew was saying before, but there is an interesting investigation to say what work is accountability doing in the Internet ecosystem?  What is this practice?  What is this discourse?  What is its role and significance in Internet Governance as a whole? 

If I can, I sometimes wonder, for example, that I never, very rarely hear or much less often read references to democracy in Internet Governance.  Sometimes I even wonder whether accountability is almost a kind of proxy or substitute for democracy.  But then it only highlights only aspects of democracy, and other things get more shunted aside.  Does or do our preoccupations with accountability -- and they are almost obsessive sometimes -- do they drain attention away from potential attention to questions of justice of various kinds?  Because we are so wrapped up in all the accountability discussions, so on and so forth.

This may be me as the more critically inclined academic, that's the work that I'm supposed to do.  I don't know if something like that is interesting for a panel at the next IGF an get people involved in the accountability processes to reflect on what work in a deeper sense of politics this accountability is doing.  I'm trying to identify things that this coalition can do that are not being done elsewhere and those are the three things that come to my mind.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Great.  That's helpful.  Thank you.

Until now we have discussed having questionnaires about accountability mechanisms of different RIRs or Internet Governance organisations as a whole.  So we approach them and also comparing practices as Jan suggested, and also we can look at the significance of accountability of Internet Governance institutions and why it is significant.

Nigel, would you like to speak?  Sure.

>> Sorry, if I could make one, Nigel Hicks from ICANN.  I think that looking at the accountability of organisations is actually very interesting and important as well.  Because I think what we often hear is organisations talking about their multi-stakeholder credentials and how they take the views of stakeholders into account.  There's a lot of difference between taking the views of stakeholders into account and actually working with stakeholders to produce results.

So I am not suggesting that one can do a comprehensive study on these issues necessarily, but I know UNESCO is doing some work on this as we speak.  There is a real difference here.  It is not just Internet Governance organisations.  It is organisations that are doing work on Internet public policy.  So whether they are UN organisations or whether they are other sort of regional organisations.  I think it's quite important to look at that.  Thanks.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Thanks, Nigel.  That's a very good point.  So we should look at Internet Governance policy processes.  Okay.  So the name of this Dynamic Coalition is the Dynamic Coalition on Internet Governance Organisations.  We changed the name.  We can focus on like policy.

Yes?  Sure.

>> Okay.  So I guess the response to my concern about having too broad a scope and too many things to do was to multiply it to include all Internet policy processes?  No, come on!  This is the Internet Governance Forum.  We are going to focus on Internet Governance institutions at a minimum.  We cannot be looking at everybody who does public policy.  Then you get into 192 nation states.  We are not going to be evaluating the accountability of national governments.  I don't think we have any standing to do that.  I mean, we can all have opinions about that, but that's way beyond our scope.  So again, where are we?  We need to define a procedure for these Dynamic Coalitions.  Obviously they meet annually.  There might be a call for reports or something where people compare and contrast, or people who are following different institutions address their accountability issues or something like that.

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Okay.  So what I'm going to do, I'm going to compile the suggestions that are being made here in this session.  Then I hope you will join our mailing list if you haven't joined already.  We can start the discussion there and see what we can do and what would be the way forward based on the suggestions we received today.

Are there any other comments?

(There is no response.)

>> FARZANEH BADIEI:  Okay.  So for the past year, let me tell you a little bit about the accountability of this Dynamic Coalition, because the accountability of the Dynamic Coalition is normally at the Internet Governance Forum there are three people working on a paper and they come out and say oh, we have this paper recommendation by the Dynamic Coalition.  So I thought since we are the Dynamic Coalition on Accountability we should not do that.  So we have not really worked a lot on any kind of document because people are not active.

So there is not going to be much, like a lot of traffic on the mailing list, but it would be good if we want this Dynamic Coalition to move forward to follow up and respond to emails and also pick a recommendation and see where we are going.  Even if we see that no one has time, we can make it inactive.  And later on active again.

So I think we are done now.  In an hour?  Other comments?  Thank you very much.  This was very helpful for me and the Dynamic Coalition.  Thank you.  Bye.


(The session concluded at 11:16 CST.)