CYBER-FEDERALIST No. 5 September 6, 2000
THE ICANN MEMBER NOMINATION PROCESS
Civil Society Democracy Project (CivSoc)
The Member Nominations phase of the ICANN elections ends this Friday (September 8). With just a few days left, we can begin to see some likely nominations and some electoral trends.
The most useful website for following the elections is the ICANNnot
site, which summarizes each region's election. That site is located
In what follows, I summarize the present state of each regional election and speculate about the future.
Europe has had the highest turnout of any region, with over 32% of all activated members voting (21% of all members in the region.) Europe also has the fewest open positions for member nominations -- only 2 of 7, with the other 5 positions already filled by ICANN's nominees.
The two candidates most likely to win a nomination are Andy Mueller-Maguhn and Jeanette Hofmann, both from Germany and both with strong credentials for representing civil society concerns on the ICANN Board. The clear leader is Mueller-Maguhn, with more than twice the endorsements of any other candidate. Mueller-Maguhn is the Speaker of the Chaos Computer Club (www.CCC.de), an organization that promotes issues like privacy and freedom of information. (My German colleagues have uniformly emphasized that the term "chaos" refers to its philosophy of freedom and non-hierarchical organization.)
Jeanette Hofmann is a university-based social scientist who has done extensive studies of the IETF. She is a founding member of the European chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (www.CPSR.org) and a signatory to the Civil Society Statement (www.civilsocietyinternetforum.org).
Two other leading European candidates are Lutz Donnerhacke and Dmitri Bourkov. Donnerhacke is a co-founder of FITUG (www.FITUG.de), which is a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (www.GILC.org). With about 800 endorsements, he is only about 250 votes behind the Jeanette Hoffman at the time of this writing. Bourkov, the only non-German candidate with large numbers of endorsements, has a background in the technical areas of network development in Eastern Europe and Russia.
The region with the greatest contrast to Europe is Asia. There, only about 12% of activated members have voted (less than 5% of all Asia regional members.) Asia has three candidate positions still open, but so far only one member has passed the 2% threshold for nomination.
The leading candidate is Hong Jie Li from China, who has over 1000 votes. He has a business background and expresses concerns about business development. Three other candidates each have between 400 and 500 votes. Kuo-Wei Wu, from Taiwan, has a background in the technical and research community and is active in APNIC. Jon Ho Kim, from Korea, is an expert in intellectual property law.
The fourth candidate is Yukika Matsumoto from Japan. She is the only leading Asian candidate to strongly advocate civil society issues. She has worked with NGO's, most notably JCA-NET, which is the Japanese member of the Association for Progressive Communications (www.APC.org). At the time of this writing she has the third-highest number of votes, but has still not passed the 2% threshold needed to win a nomination.
Election data for Asia is available at:
The North American region has three clear leading candidates for its three open positions. All three have strongly supported values of civil society.
Karl Auerbach was a co-founder of the Boston Working Group, which played an important role in ICANN's creation, ensuring that there would be an At Large membership. His extensive reform platform for ICANN can be seen at: http://www.cavebear.com/ialc/platform.htm . Barbara Simons is the former President of the Association for Computing Machinery (www.ACM.org) and founded its Internet Governance Project (http://www.acm.org/serving/IG.html), which supported the work of Kathy Kleiman. Simons is also a long-time member of CPSR. Both Auerbach and Simons have endorsed the Civil Society Statement (Auerbach contributed significantly to its creation.) The third candidate who has also passed the 2% threshold is Emerson Tiller, whose platform supports free speech and open democratic governance of ICANN.
Election data for North America is available at:
In this region one candidate has emerged as a clear leader, although a second person may still pass the 2% limit. With the majority of ICANN members located in Brazil, it is not surprising that both candidates are from that country.
Claudio Silva Menezes has over 800 votes out of a total of 924 at this time. He works for the Banco do Brasil in IT management. In a distant second place is Aluisio Nunes, with 60 votes. He is an independent consultant in strategic management and marketing research.
Election data for Latin America are available at:
Although only 54 votes have been cast so far in this region, the rates of participation are roughly equivalent to North America. Here the threshold to surpass is the fixed limit of 20 voters. Two of the three candidates are still far below that, with 8 and 6 votes.
The leading candidate here is Calvin Browne of South Africa. He is a director of the corporation managing the .co.za domain name space, which is the South African equivalent of .com. He also has years of experience participating in activities of ICANN and the Internet Society.
Election data for Africa is available at:
These data allow one to speculate on what the future holds.
Clearly nationalism is a strong factor in these regional elections. In each region, the leading candidates are citizens of the countries with the most voters. The big countries are Brazil, Germany, United States, South Africa, and China and Japan.
In two regions -- Europe and North America -- voters have shown a clear preference for candidates expressing concerns for free speech, privacy, and democracy (what I here call "civil society values.") Every single successful candidate in Europe and North America has advocated civil society values.
For the final elections in North America, where Lawrence Lessig is also a candidate, fully 4 of the 7 Board candidates in October will likely be explicit supporters of such values. (This multiplicity of candidates does not risk splitting the vote and causing them all to lose, because the election rules will allow for the aggregation of votes.)
In Europe, only 2 of the 7 likely candidates in October seem to have a strong background in civil society issues. However, they are both from Germany, the country likely to exercise the greatest influence on outcomes. Thus, 2 of the 3 final German candidates will almost certainly be strong supporters of such values.
In Asia, there is still some chance that one civil society candidate may make it on the ballot -- Yukika Matsumoto. Otherwise, that region's electoral choices in October will largely be among candidates from the industry and technology communities.
In Africa and Latin America, the candidates with the clearest civil society orientation will be those nominated by ICANN. Both of ICANN's African nominees endorsed the Civil Society Statement (see: http://www.cpsr.org/internetdemocracy/friends-of-civsoc.html ). One of ICANN's Latin American nominees, Raul Echeberria, also endorsed the Statement and was the recipient of an endorsement from the Association for Progressive Communications (www.APC.org).
Between now and Friday's election deadline, a few questions remain. The biggest question is whether Asia voters will nominate Yukika Matsumoto, the only advocate of privacy, speech, and the public interest who has a chance to get on the ballot. In Europe, Jeanette Hoffman could still lose her position to Lutz Donnerhacke, although support for Hoffman seems to be increasing as the deadline approaches.
The election rules do allow members to switch endorsements. Yukika Matsumoto could still benefit from a last-minute wave of switched endorsements, particularly of other candidates with no prospect of success declare their support for her. That may allow her to pass the 2% threshold.
In October the big question will be whether voter behavior in this phase will be repeated in the October election. Today's voter behavior has been characterized by considerable support for candidates supporting civil society values. If the October elections look like the Member Nomination phase, then new Directors may be elected who will supplement ICANN's current concern with property rights with a concern for speech, privacy, and consumer rights.
The Civil Society Statement is available at:
Candidates and readers are welcome to comment on this analysis. Comments on the previous Cyber-Federalist, No.4, have been offered by: Vint Cerf, Christoph Weber-Fahr, Carl Malamud, Hans Klein, and David Reed. See: http://www.cyber-federalist.org
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