Comment Close
Date
Statement
Name 

Status

Assignee(s)

Call for
Comments Open
Call for
Comments
Close 
Vote OpenVote CloseSubmissionStaff Contact and EmailStatement Number
n/aCreating A Consumer Agenda at ICANNCOMMENTGarth Bruen TBCTBCTBCTBCn/aTBC

 


FINAL VERSION TO BE SUBMITTED IF RATIFIED

The final version to be submitted, if the draft is ratified, will be placed here by upon completion of the vote. 



FINAL DRAFT VERSION TO BE VOTED UPON BY THE ALAC

The final draft version to be voted upon by the ALAC will be placed here before the vote is to begin.

 


FIRST DRAFT SUBMITTED

At-Large Proposal for Creating A Consumer Agenda at ICANN

Intent and Authority: Based on ICANN Bylaw section 2.3, which states: ”To the extent feasible and appropriate, delegating coordination functions to or recognizing the policy role of other responsible entities that reflect the interests of affected parties” we the At-Large community propose the following agenda to enhance consumer protections and end user accountability within the Domain Name System in order to hold ICANN to mission statement: ”(3) This Corporation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person...The Corporation is organized, and will be operated, exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes ... pursue the charitable and public purposes of lessening the burdens of government and promoting the global public interest... AND (4) The Corporation shall operate for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole" 

Consumer definition: For the purposes of this proposal a “Consumer” is any person who uses the Internet for any purpose. 

 

1.  Standard for ICANN work (the "Preamble Principle”)

Our proposal is to attach a mandatory document and test to all ICANN policy changes, expenditures, and DNS expansion projects. This required preamble to all ICANN work will be an explanation of the expected impact and/or benefit of the particular work to the consumer and end-user. The intent of this preamble will be to help guide ICANN’s work to focus on the user in the way it conducts all business. In most cases, this would be a brief paragraph describing how a particular policy change or project would affect the Internet user. In issues of expenditure over a to-be-determined amount, a cost-benefit analysis. The concept is ultimately simple, no work should begin and money should be spent until the possible impact on the Internet user or the intended benefit is stated. This is not a prediction of outcome, but an alignment of goals. 

Example: Improving DNS Security

Q: ”How will this impact/benefit Internet users?"

A: "Improving DNS Security will improve overall security for the Internet user”

 

Example: Document Disclosure

Q: ”How will this impact/benefit Internet users?"

A:  "Increasing access to ICANN documents will improve transparency to the Internet user"

Without this feature, ICANN should not undertake any effort and ALAC should not endorse as a matter of practice. 

 

2. Restructuring of ICANN Compliance

Actions and decisions of ICANN Compliance impact consumers on many levels world-wide. However, ICANN Compliance is imbedded in within the Business division of ICANN. As a mater simple structure this would appear to be a conflict of interest for an organization that exists as a public benefit corporation. Clearly, specific contractual compliance is a legal concern and the execution of compliance actions should be a legal function. However, the community has minimal insight into practices and work of ICANN compliance. ICANN Staff often views the relationship between ICANN and contracted parties as a private relationship. However, the structure of ICANN makes this much more complex. A separation of compliance functions with more community oversight is called for. Some of the options to consider are A) Making compliance report directly to the Board, B) Separating legal contract execution from technical compliance investigation, C) Creating a cross-constituency review committee for compliance decisions, D) Completely outsourcing compliance, or some combination of changes.

 

3. Direct Messaging to the Consumer

ICANN has developed guides for attorneys, journalists, and law enforcements but not for consumers. Existing “beginners guides” deal specifically with At-Large and not end users. Our proposal is the development of a Consumer Guide to ICANN as a collaboration between ICANN staff and At-Large to ensure that the message ultimately reflects a mutual understanding between ICANN and the consumer.

 

4. Due Process for Domain Disputes

At the moment, there two methods for disputing a domain name: 1) through an inaccurate WHOIS record and 2) trademark infringements through UDRP/URS. These two situations do not represent the various issues consumers might have with domain names. The total measure of consumer complaints (as they apply to domains) should be measured and it should be then determined if there is an ICANN process. if a process exists it needs to be promoted and analyzed, if it does not exist it should be created.

 

5. In-Fact Reviews of Internet Use

The community is regularly provided with statistics on domain registration but with little data on actual use of the DNS. It would be useful from a consumer perspective to understand how the DNS is being used, for example: how many existing domain names are actually in the zone files or linked to an IP address? How many domain names are in active use as websites or name servers as opposed to simply being warehoused? How many domains were used in abusive attacks or compromised by malware in a given year? How many domains were used in spam this year? How many domains had intrusions at the registrar, registry or hosting levels? How many domains are owned by commercial entities as opposed to individuals? How many domains are engaged in commerce and how many are purely informational? 

These are the kinds of statistics that would tell us in fact how the Internet is being used and how consumers may be impacted.


  • No labels

14 Comments

  1. Below is my original raw statement:

    Colleagues,

    Many of you were in the room when I discussed the issue of an ICANN end-user/consumer agenda with the board and CEO. For those who do not remember or were not present, Steve Crocker essentially stated that it was the responsibility of At-Large to draft a consumer agenda and put it forward for ICANN to implement.

    Challenge accepted. 

    I suppose this would fit easily under Bylaw section 2.3 "To the extent feasible and appropriate, delegating coordination functions to or recognizing the policy role of other responsible entities that reflect the interests of affected parties." Since we and our constituents are the affected parties here, let us create this specific agenda which has so far been missing. 

    I have a number of recommendations and I of course want more and comments on what I propose.

     

    1. Setting a basic standard for all ICANN work 

    I discussed the concept of a "Preamble Principle" in meetings, but let me re-state it here. At-Large is often puzzled by the actions of ICANN because they only seem to benefit contracted parties or some other narrow slice of the community. The failure to properly execute an organization's mission is related to incremental intent. If each piece of work is not conducted with the mission in mind, the output will not meet expectations. 

    So when we look at an outcome and say "this is bad for Internet users" or "this has nothing to do with Internet users" it it likely because the intent of project did not start with the mission.

    The ICANN mission statement states in part: "(3) This Corporation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person...The Corporation is organized, and will be operated, exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes ... pursue the charitable and public purposes of lessening the burdens of government and promoting the global public interest...etc AND (4) The Corporation shall operate for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole" https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/governance/articles-en

    We all know this, but do we begin work this way?

    What I propose is that all ICANN work (including our own) start with the question: "How will this impact/benefit Internet users?" In some cases, this can be answered with a simple statement of "Improving DNS Security will improve overall security for the Internet user" OR "Increasing access to ICANN documents will improve transparency to the Internet user". In some projects, this may require a cost-benefit analysis with the global Internet user in mind. So, in general no work should be done and no money should be spent until this question is answered. If the question cannot be answered, or some party refuses to address the issue, ICANN should not undertake the effort.

    This is a philosophical change intended to keep the outcomes in line with the mission. My next proposal is a structural change which would bring more of the community into the way it deal with end-users and consumers.

     

    2. Restructuring of ICANN Compliance

    In a separate meeting between ALAC and IPC the group came a general consensus that the compliance department be restructured. Users, brand-owners, business and contracted parties are all equally frustrated by the function of compliance. There is an open question about whom the office protects, the Internet, the community or just the organization? Of all functions the compliance appears to touch the Internet user directly when most other functions only do so indirectly. Some of the options to consider are A) Making compliance report directly to the Board, B) Separating legal contract execution from technical compliance investigation, C) Creating a cross-constituency review committee for compliance decisions, D) Completely outsourcing compliance, or some combination of changes.

    I put this forward as a item that already has some support from another constituency.

     

    3. Direct Messaging to the Consumer

    Look at the ICANN website and you will carefully drafted guides for Lawyers and The Media, but not one for consumers. The "beginners guides" deal with joining At-Large, this is specific about the way ICANN deals with us, not the end-user. We should work directly with staff to create a guide for consumers.

     

    There are other areas, of course, but I wanted to get this started.

  2. First, love the above. A significant thought and start. Thanks.

    Second, as to the use of the "consumer" term. A few years back I wrote about Thomas Jefferson's writing of the Declaration of Independence and his scratching out the work "subject" and inserting "citizen." (See post and graphic here.)

    I consume Cheerios, bananas, and HBO. Sometimes I use the internet to research or purchase those items. But I don't consume the internet. I use it.Sometimes, when I order from Amazon I might use it in a consumer mode. And today today, when we consume items on the Net we are subjected to a litany of abuses. I need protections as a user. User protections.

    Tom

    jefferson-citizen-vs-subject.jpg

  3. This is a very useful framework of action, elements of which are in discussion in the CCT RT.  I urge more discussion and hopefully, a consensus position emerging in due course.

     

    Carlton

  4. I Love the concept.  And I particularly like Thomas' reminder that we are talking about citizens.  Citizens become consumers when they use/purchase something.  Citizen is a much broader term - and the people who are the ulttimate beneficiaries (or otherwise) of ICANN polilcies.

    My initial task is that the above is actually a couple of things.  The first is a checklist that we all should use.  Do we involve ourselves because the issue will impact citizens.  And we ask that question every time we involve ourselves in a WG/policy statement - with the answer to the question right up front.  And that statement will be the framework in which responses are developed.

    One thing that I have been on about for years is to get ahold of the Ombudsman's complaints data (or do we have on with Chris gone?) He once told me close to 80% of complaints they receive are out of his jurisdiction, but, as I have pointed out to the ATRT@ team and our new COR, those complaints may weell be about issues that need to be addressed

    Next - Compliance is a separate issue.  Please, let's not conflate the two.  The first task is doable (I know that's not a word).  The second is much larger - and harder to tackle.  So let's begin with the first task and get something to the Board.

  5. FIRST DRAFT SUBMITTED

    With my proposal in [SBT]

    At-Large Consumer[/end-user]-Focused Agenda for ICANN

     

    Intent and Authority: Based on ICANN Bylaw section 2.3, which states: ”To the extent feasible and appropriate, delegating coordination functions to or recognizing the policy role of other responsible entities that reflect the interests of affected parties” we the At-Large community propose the following agenda to enhance consumer protections and end user accountability [maybe it is my bad understanding of English but is-it not accountability to end-users?] within the Domain Name System in order to hold ICANN to mission statement: ”(3) This Corporation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person...The Corporation is organized, and will be operated, exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes ... pursue the charitable and public purposes of lessening the burdens of government and promoting the global public interest... AND (4) The Corporation shall operate for the benefit of the Internet community as a whole" 

    Consumer[end-user] definition: For the purposes of this proposal a “Consumer[end-user]” is any person who uses the Internet for any purpose. 

    1.  Standard for ICANN work (the "Preamble Principle”)

    Our proposal is to attach a mandatory document and test to all ICANN policy changes, expenditures, and DNS expansion projects. This required preamble to all ICANN work will be an explanation of the expected impact and/or benefit of the particular work to the consumer and end-user. The intent of this preamble will be to help guide ICANN’s work to focus on the user in the way it conducts all business. In most cases, this would be a brief paragraph describing how a particular policy change or project would affect the Internet user. In issues of expenditure over a to-be-determined amount, a cost-benefit analysis. The concept is ultimately simple, no work should begin and money should be spent until the possible impact on the Internet user or the intended benefit is stated. This is not a prediction of outcome, but an alignment of goals. 

    Example: Improving DNS Security

    Q: ”How will this impact/benefit Internet users?"

    A: "Improving DNS Security will improve overall security for the Internet user”

    Example: Document Disclosure

    Q: ”How will this impact/benefit Internet users?"

    A:  "Increasing access to ICANN documents will improve transparency to the Internet user"

    Without this feature, ICANN should not undertake any effort and ALAC should not endorse as a matter of practice [principle]

    2. Restructuring of ICANN Compliance

    Actions and decisions of ICANN Compliance impact consumers on many levels world-wide. However, ICANN Compliance is imbedded in within the Business division of ICANN. As a mater simple structure this would appear to be a conflict of interest for an organization that exists as a public benefit corporation. Clearly, specific contractual compliance is a legal concern and the execution of compliance actions should be a legal function [I am afraid that if we define compliance as “just” a legal function, it will return to ICANN Legal – and we already try that.]. However, the community has minimal insight into practices and work of ICANN compliance. ICANN Staff often views the relationship between ICANN and contracted parties as a private relationship. However, the structure of ICANN makes this much more complex. A separation of compliance functions with more community oversight is called for. Some of the options to consider are A) Making compliance report directly to the Board, B) Separating legal contract execution from technical compliance investigation, C) Creating a cross-constituency review committee for compliance decisions, D) Completely outsourcing compliance, or some combination of changes. [I don’t think that it is already time to suggest solution. Let’s keep this document as an issue statement.] 

    3. Direct Messaging to the Consumer

    ICANN has developed guides for attorneys, journalists, and law enforcements but not for consumers. Existing “beginners guides” deal specifically with At-Large and not end users. Our proposal is the development of a Consumer Guide to ICANN as a collaboration between ICANN staff and At-Large to ensure that the message ultimately reflects a mutual understanding between ICANN and the consumer.

    4. Due Process for Domain Disputes

    At the moment, there two methods for disputing a domain name: 1) through an inaccurate WHOIS record and 2) trademark infringements through UDRP/URS. These two situations do not represent the various issues consumers might have with domain names. The total measure of consumer complaints (as they apply to domains) should be measured and it should be then determined if there is an ICANN process. If a process exists it needs to be promoted and analyzed, if it does not exist it should be created.

    5. In-Fact Reviews of Internet Use

    The community is regularly provided with statistics on domain registration but with little data on actual use of the DNS. It would be useful from a consumer perspective to understand how the DNS is being used, for example: how many existing domain names are actually in the zone files or linked to an IP address? How many domain names are in active use as websites or name servers as opposed to simply being warehoused? How many domains were used in abusive attacks or compromised by malware in a given year? How many domains were used in spam this year? How many domains had intrusions at the registrar, registry or hosting levels? How many domains are owned by commercial entities as opposed to individuals [and or non-for profit org]? How many domains are engaged in commerce and how many are purely informational [social exchanges?]

    These are the kinds of statistics that would tell us in fact how the Internet is being used and how consumers may be impacted.

    1. Trying to reply within the document, not working well

  6. During the Public Interest WG meeting on 21 September 2016, I was asked to post the WORD version of my comments, as well as a clean WORD document with just the statement.

     

    Statement (docx)

    Statement & Alan's Comments (docx)

  7. To follow up on the oral comment I just made in the monthly EURALO meeting (20.12.2016), here are my comments in writing:

    • Consumer seems to suggest that the only type of relationship between that individual and ICANN or its components is of a commercial nature, stipulated by contract.
    • The global Internet user has rights, as recognized in many instances, including efforts in recent years to improve transparency, accountability, but also the public interest.
    • Therefore, I request that in its written statement, ALAC point out that Consumer cannot be used to represent or replace the Global Internet User in all cases. The spirit and the letter of the statement should reflect this adequately.
  8. Sorry for taking so long to respond, and I apologize for not taking the time to describe my use of "consumer" to you all specifically. Even though we like to think the Internet is free, it isn't really. "Free" services are often based on click-throughs, advertising impressions, and the scraping of our data related to our use.

    If you read a newspaper online, it is paid for the advertising placed on the site as you read it. 

    If you buy product online (and most people do!) you are supporting the site financially. 

    In many locations fees and taxes paid through utilities or the government go to funding of infrastructure. 

    In these contexts we are consumers. 

    Parties within ICANN routinely dismiss anyone who does not have a direct financial stake in the DNS. "Users are losers". If we insist on using "user" as the group being protected, the answer is going to be that ICANN and the contracted parties have no responsibility to do so. 

    I am not going to fall on the sword over this, but I wanted to make a point.

    1. Again, I really do not like the term 'consumer'. Garth, in your examples, yes we do purchase things on line.  But just as often, WE are the product that Google/Facebook, etc are selling to the advertisers.  So please, let's NOT use a term that implies that this is about money.  It is about protecting Internet users.  I suggested 'citizen', but am happy with Internet Users.  I know it's not glamerous, but it makes it clear that everyone who uses the Internet for whatever purpose should be behind the policies that ALAC is proposing.

  9. Garth, you did make it clear that a "consumer" is anyone who uses the Internet, so the "definition" is not an issue. However, every time this has been discussed, people ignore that unique definition and spend a lot of time discussing whether users are consumers. So despite your point, I suspect if we continue to use the term consumer, we will distract from the real message we are trying to send. I would suggest as an alternative, we near the top, point out that although we are using the term "user" as in the At-Large mandate, we are talking about those who consume Internet resources in all of its definitions....

    1. So, since "Consumer" is in the title of this agenda, what do you think should be the alternate? (Let's switch this to live call when it comes up)