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[ncdnhc-discuss] At large presentation

I'm in the GA, and Denise, Esther, Vittorio, and Izumi Aizu and on the panel 
to present a report on the at large organizing effort.

In Accra, the board has called for bottom up at large "structures."   She 
reports $17k in contributions for at-large.org, and asks for more money. 
16 "at large structures" have been created or designated by the effort.  The 
implication is that all the groups who are listed on the at-large.org web 
page are on board with this new approach.  There is some talk of creating a 
"structured role" in policy making, and input into the board decisions. 
She ends with a slide that says that greater involvement of governments and 
establishment of 'meaningful' participation by individuals are not 
necessarily mutually exclusive.   Esther then jumped in to say some people 
didn't support a greater role by governments.

Izumi Aizu and Vittorio Bertola appeared on the pane with Esther and Denise, 
and were generally supportive of the presentation by Esther or Denise.

Esther made a confident (almost smug) presentation.  She said "I hope you 
walk away with an appreciation by the huge amount of progress that has been 
made."  Earlier the at large was an "incoherent" idea, now it is something 
with .5 million people engaged through the 16 groups, and a structure in 
place to provide input.  If ICANN becomes government controlled, it will 
become too powerful.  It is really important that ICANN be controlled by 
users, by the participants, than by governments.

I just had my time at the mike from the floor... and went through the 
basics...   The proposal for "at large structures" eliminates any votes by 
individuals.  The White Paper gave individuals 8 of 19 board seats.  In 
Cairo this was reduced to 5.  In Accra, the 5 elected seats were phased out, 
but there was some hope that there would be an at large SO with maybe 3 
seats on the board.  Now you have an at large "structure" that at best can 
place 1 member on a 19 member nominating committee for some board seats, and 
no one can explain even how that 1 person is selected.  To present this as a 
success for enhancing the power of individual internet users is absurd.  I 
said it was not true, as implied by Denise Michel's presentation, that the 
groups listed as part of the at-large.org effort support the elimination of 
elections for ICANN board members or the proposals in the blueprint to 
dismantle democratic mechanisms (http://www.at-large.org/at-large-members.htm).

Denise said that CPSR was in fact supportive of the new "at large 
structures" approach, and had joined in submissions on this to the ICANN 
reform.    I'll let Andy Oram and Hans Klein respond with any helpful 
clarificatons on this point.

This was followed by a presentation on the Canadian Internet Registration 
Authority (CIRA), which recently concluded its elections.   Alexander 
Svensson then asked a series of good questions, asking about how the elected 
members addressed issues of mission creep, why participation has declined in 
elections, and about "outreach" in the elections.  I asked if there was 
fraud?  And also, how much does it cost to audit the elections?  The CIRA 
rep said that mission creep had not been a problem, the board had kept 
things fairly narrow, and that many people seemed satified with the CIRA 
operation, and were just didn't feel the need to be bother as long as things 
were working ok.   The last CIRA election had about 1,000 voters.  The CIRA 
has an external audit function, which ended up questioning about 100 votes, 
and ended up rejecting about 10.  The cost of the audit and verification 
proceedure was about $3,000 for the June 2002 election.

James Love, Consumer Project on Technology
http://www.cptech.org, mailto:love@cptech.org
voice: 1.202.387.8030; mobile 1.202.361.3040