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My rough proposals for the ALAC

(Inglese, messaggio sulla lista Atlarge-Discuss, 20 Luglio 2002)

[atlarge-discuss] My rough proposals for the ALAC

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  • Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 12:10:25 +0200
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After hearing the first round of opinions on the subject of ALAC
composition, I would like to share with everyone the (personal)
thoughts I've been having in the last weeks, with an important note.

This is not the structure I'd build if I had a clean sheet and I was
asked to draft a democratical system for representation of the public
in the administration of the Internet. I'd possibly have direct
elections for the Board, and so on. However, I think we also have to
understand the present scenario, and, if we want to participate in
this process, we have to draft a proposal which has hopes to be
accepted by the present Board, and to fit in the Blueprint, that has
been de facto approved in its skeleton by the Board in Bucharest.

Of course, we also have the option of presenting a completely
different scenario or to call ourselves out of the process because we
think that there's no space for any meaningful representation of the
public in the Blueprint; personally, I think that we should still be
constructive, even while telling clearly, if we want, that we are
worried about the very reduced space that the Blueprint leaves for the
public, and pushing to get more space (for example, asking more Board
or NomCom members for the ALAC, or voting powers for the ALAC liaison
in the Board).

So, there are three major options for choosing the members of the
1) having them appointed by the NomCom
2) having them appointed by a list of accredited "At Large Structures"
or organizations, one each (ie the ALOC model)
3) having them elected online by a membership

Option 1 would encounter great opposition in the users community, so
I'd avoid it if we could find something different that works fine. In
fact, representatives of the public should exert some sort of control
and pressure on the Board so that it really acts in the public
interest - so they should not be chosen by the Board itself.

Option 2 would possibly bring to a good Committee, but would present
some problems: organizations of very different size and type would
have the same kind of representation, potentially there could be
hundreds of accredited orgs which could create a huge and unmanageable
Committee, and there would still be significant opposition by those
who don't trust indirect representation. (Or, you could try to "weigh"
organizations in some way, but it would be very difficult to have
trustable and coherent figures on each organization's real numbers. We
could end up with the ALAC being dominated by INEGroup :-) ).

Option 3, though supported in the community and possibly the best one
in theoretical terms, still has the same practical problems that the
original At Large elections had (though I think they can be overcome),
and I guess it would be very difficult to get support for it in the

Thus my idea is that we should have a Committee whose members are
selected with more than one method.

For example, let's suppose that we have a Committee whose size is
fixed at 20 members (I think you can't have less if you want to be
somewhat representative of the global users, and more would be even
more unmanageable), with one year term (to allow more rotation and to
have short terms that also non-professionals could afford). Then you
could have 10 elected members and 10 appointed members.

The appointed members could be selected by one of the following
- appointed each year by 10 different At Large Structures, one each,
selected randomly with provisions to guarantee rotation and
geographical diversity (ie at least one org from each Region); (in
this case, however, I don't think you can enter into how each
organization should select its representatives; each one should do as
it likes)
- nominated by the ICANN NomCom;
- nominated by an ad-hoc NomCom appointed half by the ALAC and half by
the Board.
(I like the first much more than the others)

The other members would be elected according to the following scheme:
- all At Large Structures supply their individual members to a general
individual membership of a sort of "supporting organization", which I
called ALMO (Membership Organization); the various Structures take
care about identity verification as they already possibly do, perhaps
with some minimum method requirements and some random verifications by
the ALMO itself;
- the ALMO manages to hold online elections for 2 representatives in
the ALAC from each Region;
- the ALMO also elects a small panel, with the only purpose of running
the organization and managing the elections;
- as an option, the panel elects its Chairman, who can be the 21st
member of the ALAC if we want to break parity.

The ALAC would then elect its Chairman, its Board liaison, and its
NomCom members (which I still hope will be in the number of four).

In this schema, the ALMO would be a very simple and low cost
organization - no mass physical mailings, no direct customer care,
just some online resources, a small budget for common expenses and
election costs, and possibly a Secretariat person supplied by ICANN,
who could in fact be the same person devoted to the ALAC. (At least
one staff person for At Large support is needed in any case.)

So you would still have an individual membership, but it wouldn't be
the ICANN membership - it would be the membership of an external
super-partes organization with which ICANN could have an MoU. There
would be online elections to satisfy partly those who look for online
democracy, but they would be managed by an external organization, thus
ICANN would not directly have to support the burden of making them
practically work, and the related criticism. I think that these two
points might help in overcoming the Board's extreme doubtfulness in
accepting to have online elections again - personally, I think that it
is important to have elections.

Of course, such elections would elect half of a Committee which in
turn would elect one non-voting Board member - so I can't see how even
the worst and heavily captured or unrepresentative elections could
seriously endanger ICANN's effectiveness. On the other hand, the
concept of online elections would at least be accepted inside ICANN,
and would allow to build a starting point from which, once the
mechanism is up and running, we could try to extend the number of
elective positions in the organization.

Of course we have intermediate alternatives - for example, we can
recommend a fully elective composition of the ALAC, and see how the
ERC reacts; it might not be a bad idea. We should also think at some
ideas about identity verification mechanisms.

But as I said, these are just my personal thoughts, that I'm sharing
around in these days. I've posted this message a few hours ago on the
ALOC list and didn't get any feedback yet, if not for a "thanks" by
Denise Michel. I think that it's crucial to find a proposal that can
be supported as widely as possible in the community: by us, by the
other ALOC organizations, perhaps by the GA or by other parts of the
ICANN community. This will be the only way to get our proposal
vb. [Vittorio Bertola - v.bertola [a]]<------
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