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Comments on Civil Society Statement  
CivSoc of CPSR
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    Civil Society Statement 

Last updated:  2 August 2000
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Civil Society Statement


Earlier draft

Comments (most recent listed first)

Mike Roberts (President of ICANN)
Cameron Smith

Mike Roberts
President, ICANN
30 July 2000

I think your group needs to self-assess how it can promote its views 
in a more mainstream manner.  Much of the manifesto discussed in 
Yokohama is wide-eyed utopianism.  Railing away at ICANN because it 
doesn't meet some ideal model of democracy is likely to be about as 
effective as complaining that the US Congress is too dominated by the 
money of those who finance political campaigns.  Everyone knows that, 
the question is how do you work from within the system to balance 
competing interests, many of which possess economic power.

Economic strength can be a powerful lever for the advancement of 
democratic uses of the Internet.  It already has been.  The US 
taxpayer investment in defense research, of all things, was 
fundamental to getting it off the ground in the first place.  DARPA 
funding of Jon Postel permitted him to promote the Internet in 
obscure corners of the globe where 99% of the people didn't have a 
clue as to what the network would ultimately be able to do for their 
country in promoting open scholarship and democratic reforms. 
Industry sponsorship of UCAID/Internet2 has made it possible for over 
a hundred US universities with several million students and 
researchers to have broadband network access and facilities at a 
small fraction of the going commercial prices.  Partnership between 
the for-profit world and the non-profit world in promoting public 
interest goals is a feature of our work, not a defect.

I know a lot about technology- based non-profits.  I've been a 
founder and/or principal business planner for five of them and 
advisor to others.  The private non-profit corporation model is and 
will continue to be very effective in advancing public interest 
goals.  Ira Magaziner and his colleagues in the government were 
knowledgeable about this when they put the form of the new 
organization that became ICANN into the White Paper.  The success of 
ICANN in finding substantial international consensus among a variety 
of economic and non-economic interests in its policy development 
activities thus far is evidence that the basic model is working.

But being bitter and throwing rocks over the fact that minority views 
are not always successful is fruitless.  All democracies operate one 
way or the other on the assumption of the greatest good for the 
greatest number.  So does ICANN.  If you are on the losing end of a 
vote one day, you come back the next and try again.  When my wife and 
her environmental allies lose a vote at the Coastal Commission over 
something like a property "taking" fight, they regroup and go back to 

Right now, one of the problems you have in influencing ICANN is that 
your principles and your central policy focus are obscured by a lot 
of trivia like asking to see general ledger data.  Since we continue 
to be very poor, and even still have a negative net worth, what 
conceivable value to your policy influence is knowing more about the 
fact that we have not finished putting the White Paper's contemplated 
financial structure in place?  Trying to find dirt in the books is a 
waste of your scarce time and effort.  That's what auditors are for. 
They're plowing through our records now and you and everyone else 
will see their report on the website in October as is required by the 

Without meaning to put words in your mouth, I suggest that some 
thought about what significant policy issues ICANN will be 
considering over the next year, and how your group might, through 
study and participation, be influential in shaping the outcomes of 
the associated debates, is the way to go.  Whatever the errors and 
mistakes of the past, about which arguments will continue 
indefinitely, there isn't any going back, especially in Internet time.

Thanks for listening,

- Mike


Cameron Smith
ApplyatLarge web site (
2 August 2000

I am from a group of ICANN@large members at (a  nascent community for @large members since the official site is so poor).  We are preparing a petition to raise some specific points about future  ICANN elections, which we would host on a service such as Before we put the petition up, would you like to comment on the wording  or content of it, given the CPSR's statement on ICANN elections?  As you can see we cannot decide on a title either. The scope of the petition is intentionally much narrower than the 'Civil 
Society Statement' so that it is straightforward for people to decide  whether or not they agree with it.

What do you think?
At Large Democracy/Direct/Leadership Initiative

We believe that ICANN's power and credibility lies in its ability to represent the Internet community as a whole. We believe that the will of the At Large community should be a significant factor in all decisions taken by ICANN. Without this, ICANN will fail and disappear. We believe that this can only be accomplished with an effective, transparent and democratic process of election to the ICANN board by the At Large community. Therefore we are very concerned by some of the resolutions taken by the ICANN board in last meetings (in Yokohama, Japan, 12- 17 July), which potentially endanger the powers and democracy of the At Large members representation. Given these considerations we ask the ICANN Board to approve the  following points:
1)  the remaining four At Large directors must be elected by  At  Large members during 2001.
2)  when an At Large director leaves his/her seat for any reason, he/she must be substituted as soon as possible by voting by At 
    Large members
3)  all candidates for At Large ballots in future elections must be nominated by At Large members.
4) all At Large directors must have the same powers and prerogatives as other directors.
5)any change in ICANN bylaws relating to the At Large community or election procedures must be subject to direct approval by a ballot of At Large members.


Nobuo SAKIYAMA, preparatory committee for Japan Chaper of CPSR, Japan

below is my comment.

> 7. Artificial scarcity and centralization should be avoided.
> Control points and artificial scarcity in DNS create barriers to Internet
> access and foster regulation of users.

DNS issue is not only on the name space problem.  I think that DNS
Security Extension (DNSSEC, RFC2535 to 2539) will be a hot issue in
the near feature.  (Although DNSSEC is not widely deployed yet,
current RFC on "Root Name Server Operational Requirements" (RFC 2870,
BCP40) already says " Root servers MUST be DNSSEC-capable", and
VeriSign acquired NSI).

In DNSSEC, public keys for signing zone files is distributed in DNS,
and the key validation model is mainly "on-tree" validation, that a
chile zone's key is signed by the parent zone's private key.  The root
zone's key becomes the master key.

This means that registrars become some kind of Certificate Authority.
Claims on the CAs may vary between the commercial organizations and
non-commercial organizations or inidividuals, and commercial-friendly
rules may not be handy for non-commercial organizations or individuals.

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