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WSIS Deal: Oversight

The UN Secretary-General has been invited to “convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.” Everyone can see his/her hearts’ desires in the WSIS deal: ICANN can believe that it has survived for another day; governments can believe that they will have “an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance”; and there will be an enormous meeting in Greece by the second quarter of 2006 to start the Internet Governance Forum going.

Here’s the “oversight” paragraph:

77. The IGF [Internet Governance Forum] would have no oversight function and would not replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions or organisations, but would involve them and take advantage of their expertise. It would be constituted as a neutral, non-duplicative and non-binding process. It would have no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet.

ICANN needs to strengthen its legitimacy so that it is apparent to the world that ICANN doesn’t need oversight from a UN body or any other multi-government institution. This will take a lot of work—we’re barely at the beginning. I’m focused on paying attention to the steps that are necessary to get there.

By Susan Crawford, Professor, Cardozo Law School in New York City

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Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Nov 17, 2005 2:39 AM

My comments in response to Ram Mohan on circleid a few days back tend to mirror just what you said


And let me repeat that I’m really happy that what you say tends to bear me out in what I said, and that I’m really glad that ICANN chose you to be on its board.

We need bridge building here, lots of it. And ways to minimize friction and work together. Not conflict. Not offended ranting on blogs. And especially, we need a heightened sense of awareness on how to work best with the new IGF that’s been created.

A lot of the IGF’s remit (addressing even spam / cybecrime etc) is not within the scope of what ICANN does but ideally (hopefully) that shouldn’t stop ICANN contributing in those areas too, and acting as a voice / rallying point for the registrars (who, come to think of it, are an essential part of the equation given the way spammers register thousands of throwaway domains a week..).

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