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ICANN Openness and Transparency: Actions Speak Louder than Words

ICANN has announced that they will be having a Special Meeting of the ICANN Board on 19 February 2010 (3:00 UCT) to discuss the “upcoming ICANN International meeting.” It is reasonable to assume that the 17 February 2010 security update will be a topic of discussion, as well as some of the bottom up community driven efforts to foster remote participation. Specifically, some of the contracting parties have been evaluating the possibility of participating in the Nairobi meeting through the use of teleconference facilities at a remote venue. ICANN technical staff has gained valuable experience in this area using similar technology to facilitate participation by ICANN Board Director Rita Rodin Johnston.

I trust that the ICANN Board will make the right decision balancing the obligations that ICANN has to the global Internet community, with the safety and security of those ICANN stakeholders that participate in person at these ICANN events. However, the ICANN Board needs to gain the trust of the global community in connection with this and other important decisions that it will be making. That is why it is critical that the ICANN Board begin providing audio and transcription records of its Special Board meetings. In fact this request for the ICANN Board to follow the same practices that it does in connection with its in person Board meetings is a subject of a recent Reconsideration Request that I filed with ICANN.

Under Rod Beckstrom’s leadership, ICANN has taken a number of positive steps towards increasing openness and transparency, particularly with regard to staff compensation. Providing an audio and transcription record of the Special Meetings is the next step that must be taken. As recognized in my Reconsideration Request, there may be some truly confidential material that may need to be redacted/witheld, such as specific security steps that ICANN, the local host and the Kenya government are taking. However, the community should be provided the same information and briefing on potential security threats and remote participation options to enable them to make an informed decision regarding their participation.

By Michael D. Palage, Intellectual Property Attorney and IT Consultant

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Transparency unveiled Antony Van Couvering  –  Feb 20, 2010 6:48 PM

The decision of new CEO Rod Beckstrom to tweet, within minutes of the decision, that ICANN’s Independent Review Panel had found in favor of ICM Registry, and concluded that ICANN Board had acted wrongly in refusing .XXX, is to me an excellent indication of a refreshing change in attitude toward much greater transparency.

Finally We Agree on Something Michael D. Palage  –  Feb 20, 2010 6:59 PM


In full agreement. That is why I applauded Rod’s leadership in posting the detailed compensation of senior ICANN staff. In the coming months there will be decisions made by the ICANN Board where we will be on opposite sides of the debate, thus resulting in a process that produces winners and losers.

Regardless of whether who wins or who loses, I think the entire ICANN community needs to see the how the ICANN Board deliberates and makes these decisions.  Just like the community can sit in the audience and watch the ICANN Board meetings on the Friday at regional meetings, I firmly believe the community deserves that same openness and transparency in connection with Special Meetings (teleconferences).

So hopefully we can find another point of agreement in supporting my Reconsideration Request for audio/transcript records of all ICANN Board meetings.

Best regards,

Michael D. Palage

+1 - the more transparency the better. Antony Van Couvering  –  Feb 20, 2010 7:10 PM

+1 - the more transparency the better.

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