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C-F No. 4 - Comments  
Comments on 
Cyber-Federalist No. 4 -- Analysis of the ICANN-Named At Large Nominees

Alf Hansen
Christoph Weber-Fahr
Vint Cerf comment, reply by Hans Klein, and reply by Vint Cerf
Carl Malamud
Hans Klein
David P. Reed


Alf Hansen
Candidate, At Large Director for Europe
6 September 2000


The reader might get the impression that my background has no end-user
perspective. That is not true.

I have always worked in a non-commercial environment. As the manager of
the ccTLD for .no, I have always tried to ballance the interests of the
service providers with the intersts of the consumers and the public. My
votes in the Board will be based on my values about what I think is
right for the common public, not for special groups.



Christoph Weber-Fahr
13 August 2000

One aspect I missed from your analysis - and one I found rather disturbing - is ICANN's choice of candidates from European monopoly telcos. 

I can only talk about my home country here, but Deutsche Telekom was - and to some extent still is - infamous for their anti consumer stance and arrogance towards the 'simple' customer, who, not long ago had no choice but to subscribe to them and was treated accordingly.

Historically, Deutsche Telekom has been the main enemy of the traditional online and BBS scene, and network research here was forced to manoever around them and their ridiculous laws (they forced,  for example, the German part of the internet to run on top of X.25  long into the nineties).

Still today Deutsche Telekom, by shamelessly exploiting their local loop monopoly, is the main reason for Germany's high and mostly  metered Internet access prices, and is fighting tooth and nail any attempt to get competition into that area.

I have few doubts that France Telecom is comparably well regarded by  French netizens. So it is a complete mystery to me how ICANN could  imagine two faceless bureaucrats from these organizations would be suitable candidates to represent the average netizen, while a large number of available well known and respected netizens all over the  place apperently were never asked.

A number of these now come up via self nominations, but the process seems to be specifically designed to prevent their success.


Vint Cerf
9 August 2000

At 12:10 AM 8/9/00 -0400, Vint Cerf wrote:

just one question about the analysis, you sort of put me in the "supplier" pigeon hole. I just wondered whether my involvement with ISOC/ISTF, Gallaudet University (board member), Wiley (Networking Council series) and other assorted educational and research activities (e.g. Internet2, IPNRG) counted for anything in your calculus.

I hope this isn't mistaken as a complaint - I just wanted to understand more clearly how you chose to put people into categories.


At 10:47 PM 8/10/00 +0200, Hans Klein wrote:

Dear Vint,

Sorry to not be responsive to your message.  I hadn't checked my ISTF mail folder until today.

First, let me say it was an editorial oversight that I used only your last name in the article.  I apologize and want to assure you that absolutely no disrepect was intended.  Sorry to Alejandro, too!  I also misspelled Ms Cattaui's name. (I posted a correction on the comments page at )

OK, now on to the question of categorization.

Many people do many things;  you, Vint, do more than most.  I truly respect that.

The reason I categorized you as representing the perspective of the supply industry is in part because of the simple fact of your employment relationship with MCIWorldcom.  But probably more significant than that is your leadership role as a founder of the Global Internet Project (GIP).  ( See: ) 
[Editors note (14 September 2000): this link no longer works, and the GIP site no longer seems to host this page.]

From my perspective, GIP certainly looks like the supply industry.  For a visual support for that, I recommend to anyone to go to the GIP member page at: (a neat collection of logos)

GIP is also a who's who of ICANN Board members (+) and At Large nominees (*):
   British Telecom (+)
   Deutsche Telecom (*)
   MCI Worldcom (+)
   Fujitsu (*)
   GTE (BBN) (*)
The secretariat is: 
   Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) (*)

So when I read your press announcement on behalf of GIP's work with ICANN, I see that as a defining institutional association.  I believe that your perspective on ICANN is related to the GIP role -- more than it is related to the Gallaudet University role, for example.

I note that GIP's mission statement ( includes the following:

"Members come from leading Internet-centric companies REPRESENTING the telecommunications, software, financial services, and content sectors."

"GIP participants believe that to ensure continued growth and innovation, the Internet MUST be kept free of unnecessary international regulations and national laws that impede or inhibit its growth."

"The GIP CALLS UPON GOVERNMENTS to encourage private sector solutions to Internet policy challenges."

(I added the caps.) 

This seems like an organization that (actively) represents the supply industry.  You do seem to play an important role in it.

I have *no* *problem* with the GIP.  I have *no* *problem* with a leadership role.

But I think such institutional affiliations help an outsider understand the perspective a Board member brings to ICANN.

No disrespect is meant in all this, and I apologize if the Cyber-Federalist came across in any way as disrespectul. 

I do value your feedback, and I am very grateful for your willingness to engage these issues.

[Editors Note: some URLS in the message above were updated on 14 September 2000, to point to relocated pages.]


At 07:03 PM 8/10/00 -0400, Vint Cerf wrote:

Dear Hans, 

 your remarks in the Cyber-Federalist were not disrespectful, at least I never felt them to be. What I was concerned about and continue to have concerns about is the apparent assumption that my various professional affiliations somehow dictate (or, worse, limit) my perspectives to those affiliations. 

In the IETF, it is generally felt that when we work in that arena, we set aside our institutional or industrial or organizational affiliations and we work on what seems to be the best for the Internet's technology. I am not so naive as to assume that everyone's actions are completely free of some institutional bias, but by and large, I think participants in IETF try to rise above that.

I honestly feel that the same may be said for the members of the ICANN board. At the same time, I'm fully aware that anyone participating in something like the ICANN board brings to it the sum of his or her experience and that experience itself may be stronger in some areas than others. In the GIP, I do try to represent an industry perspective - that was the intention in forming GIP. However at ICANN, I try very hard NOT to represent industry alone or the protocol/technical community, alone, or any other group alone. I see the job of ICANN director as much broader than that and that ICANN, and those who depend on its choices, are not well served by narrowly viewed perspectives. 

Really, it was my feeling that the board members had been "pigeon-holed" that  prompted me to ask about the method you chose to "categorize" the board members. In fairness to your readers and to the board members of ICANN, I would ask that your next issue reflect this somewhat different formulation of Board perspective. I understand that you and many others may not agree with me or may argue that the members of the board won't be able to rise above their daily responsibilities or their principal experiences, but I'd like to have the opportunity to express this alternative perspective of what I think is incumbent on all board members: to take the broadest view possible in trying to help guide the ICANN staff in matters of policy.


Vint Cerf


Carl Malamud
8 August 2000

I read your analysis.  Overall, quite good.  However, I know several of the folks on the list and your comments about Rob Blokzijl [one of today's directors] struck me as way off base.  RIPE, the organization he heads, may look like a "research network" organization, but the reality of networking in Europe is that "normal" users went under the "research" guise in order to get connections.  Rob really battled on behalf of normal users for well over a decade.  Among other things, he was personally  responsible for making that groups like EUnet and NLnet (some of the first ISP's available to users not from government and research) were able to operate.  He also worked very hard to help many of the East European networks get up and running.

I'm sure he'd be happy to talk to you.  He's quite responsive and reachable by email at [].  I think you'd find your assessment of his ability to represent people might be a bit off.


Hans Klein
8 August 2000

I consistently misspelled the name of Maria Livanos Cattaui.  This has been corrected in the web version.  I apologize for this mistake.

David P. Reed
8 August 2000

Peter Drucker is famous for a variety of things, but one that sticks in my 
mind is his comment that organizations pay far too much attention to their 
best customers, and far to little to their current "non-customers", who are 
typically the biggest sources of innovation and value creation.  Echoes of 
that concern come from Clay Christensen in his book The Innovator's 
Dilemma, and in Schumpeter's notion of "creative destruction".

Virginia Postrel characterized this as the "stasist" vs. "dynamist" 
perspective - or perhaps the idea that we live in an equilibrium or mature 
state built around "the best of all possible Internets".

I raise this issue because one dimension that will be crucial as ICANN sets 
a context for the evolution of "The" Internet is getting the right balance 
between focusing on "users" vs. "uses", between actual "uses" and 
unrealized potential "uses" yet to be enabled.

It is all too typical for an organization to organize its constituency 
around today's biggest, best, and most powerful stakeholders and their pet 
uses or applications.  As the authors and writers above point out, this 
inevitably leads to a brittle market.

Why is it crucial for ICANN's board to include "potential" uses in its 
ambit?  It is crucial that ICANN make decisions that do not prevent 
discovery of new opportunities or enable current major stakeholder groups 
(either in the Internet's applications and its technology, or in industries 
that may have to adapt to new potential value creation opportunities) to 
stymie development of new systemic applications of connectivity.

I have written about two very likely categories of new applications that 
will be directly affected by policies that focus too closely on 
specializing the net's architecture to support today's most popular and 
successful uses (in an essay that can be read on my web site ).  Even today's policies, 
responding to a perceived shortage of IP host addresses by requiring ISPs 
to be stingy in handing out IP host addresses to customers, are having a 
severe impact on transaction costs in those new applications.

Thus, I think it is crucial for ICANN to include user representatives who 
understand how to think about new uses.  Candidates need to be measured and 
understood on that dimension, which includes both a sense of architecture 
and a sense of how economic value creation yet to happen may affect their 
constituencies.  This is not just a technical issue, but includes a sense 
of how to represent potential users and potential uses not yet realized.

Other than Lessig, whose perspective is well known through his writings to 
include these kinds of considerations, it is quite difficult to gain access 
to the experience, knowledge, and feelings of these ICANN candidates on 
this crucial dimension.
- David
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