At-Large Consumer-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 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.