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Proposed membership in At-Large Constituency (ALC) of ICANN

Luc Faubert, of ISOC-Quebec recently posted an invitation for ISOC chapters to become members of the At-large community (ALC) of ICANN. We are already members of the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC).

Luc's invitation

From: Luc Faubert

Date: Feb 3, 2007 2:45 AM
Subject: ALS certification with ICANN

Hello fellow ISOC chapter leaders,

We are currently trying to get better representation of the North American At-Large community within ICANN. Many ISOC Chapters are already certified At-Large Structures (ALS). Would you consider applying? The application is quite simple. Certification usually takes a few weeks.

The idea is to have more groups on board as we structure the North American Regional At-Large Organization to bring together the region's groups, nominate our reps to the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and have our voice heard within ICANN.

See http://alac.icann.org/correspondence/structures-app.htm for more info and a link to the application form. See http://alac.icann.org/applications/ for a list of certified ALSes.

I would appreciate hearing from you on this.


- Luc Faubert

ISOC Québec


Is there any conflict in being members of both constituencies?

Would it make us more or less effective in terms of influence? We haven't done much with ICANN so far as an organization, but we should try to in the future -- it's an essential part of the discussion of Internet governance issues.


Danny Younger's argument against membership of the At-Large at the Feb 15, 2007 AGM

It can be downloaded here.

Response from Luc Faubert - Feb 18, 2007

Thanks for this, Joly and Danny.

ISOC Québec will consider joining NCUC so we can participate in both the At-Large and NCUC.

Regarding participation in At-Large, from our perspective, if we are going to try to convince the ICANN board to reinstate board representation of the user community, we have better chances of accomplishing this by already being part of At-Large.

Having said this, I want to say that I understand and respect Danny's position.
Luc Faubert

Veni Markovski's response pro membership of the At-Large at the March 15, 2007 isoc-ny meeting.

Veni Markovski argued that ICANN needed constructive input from the Internet community, and that lack of input rather than an intentionally antidemocratic stance on the part of ICANN leadership, was the real problem. He suggested that, as of now, the At-Large represented the most effective method of such input. Danny Younger is trying to maintain old schemes that while perhaps nominally more democratic in structure, failed to be effective in practice, and were thus discarded. Participation, and wider participation, are what counts and the At-Large, particularly via the influence of Roberto Gaetano, is the best current avenue for that.

Audio Recording

! These audio files seem to have got lost when we switched servers in late 2007
I'll try and dig them up

  • Click here to play the whole thing.
  1. Are we able to be members of NCUC and At-Large simultaneously? mp3
  2. Statement - Participation is Key. mp3
  3. But why At-Large? mp3
  4. How do At-Large and NCUC influence ICANN? mp3
  5. How is the ICANN board nominated/elected? mp3
  6. Is ICANN the government of the Internet? mp3
  7. What are ISOC-NY's options? mp3
  8. Why the At-Large over the NCUC? mp3
  9. What are the major issues facing ICANN? mp3
  10. ( Bulgarian vs USA ISP discussion) mp3
  11. ( broader participation) mp3
  12. Are there issues specific to At-Large? mp3
  13. Are there advantages in being members of both At-Large and NCUC? mp3

Response from Sebastian Ricciardi, ISOC Argentina

Mar 23 2007

Hi Joly,

I have been a member of ALAC until the LAC RALO was launched. During that period, I have worked with several ISOC Chapters, including ours in Argentina, to ensure a productive participation and a factual involvement in the development of ICANN policies. Of course this the development of policies within ICANN is only a part of the more general scope that many ISOC chapters, and ISOC itself, have.

During the chapters meeting we have in Sao Paulo, we had the opportunity to discuss this issue. ISOC Chapters´ participation in the ICANN At Large Structure is a sensitive issue that should be carefully considered by each of the chapters across the world. In this regards, Luc´s invitation and ISOC NY proposed debate could produce a very interesting insight for other chapters, the BoT and ISOC Staff.

In this debate, imho, we should consider different aspects:

a. ISOC involvement in the At Large should be framed in a larger context, which is the involvement of ISOC and its chapters across the world in the development of Internet policies and regulations, as a part of the Public Policy efforts we are committed with.

Naturally, in Public Policy activities, there are different opportunities both for ISOC and its Chapters: while ISOC could be very effective in communicating at high level with ICANN, the NRO, etc. (even the UN lately), its chapters have more opportunities in local interactions, particularly with governments. This is one of the advantages we have as a worldwide organization: the opportunity to work at different levels.

In this line of thinking, chapter involvement in different ICANN constituencies, i.e. the At Large, the Non Commercial Users Constituency ­or both - represent for all of us more opportunities than threads. Of course, we should be well coordinated to ensure the primacy of ISOC core values in our statements, opinions and involvement, since these are the fundamental principles that guide the entire organization.

b. ISOC and ICANN are different organizations, with different roles, and both have a significant role in the development of the Internet. Having different roles, it is completely natural that many ISOC chapters choose to not to participate in the development of ICANN policies, and focus in some other important aspects of the Internet development instead, while some other chapters may choose to have a high level of involvement with ICANN.

c. Regarding the ALAC and-or the NCUC, we might want to appreciate the fundamental differences between them: NCUC is a regular constituency of the Generic Name Supporting Organization, and as such it has a vote in the Names Council, and a scope that is related to Domain Names and the development of policies within the GNSO. On the other hand, the ALAC is an advisory committee to the Board, and as such it has a Liaison to the Board (non-voting) but a scope that is not limited to the DNS, but much broader. At the same time, while the NCUC structure is quite simple, the ALAC has a regional organization based approach, with its own merits and pitfalls.

Danny’s comments on the ALAC role and the ICANN reform should be also taken in account: some people believe that we should not participate in the ALAC as it would be some kind of recognition of an illegitimate situation. I wonder how this would change by getting involved in the NCUC instead, but I don’t want to start another argument here. On the other hand, some of us believe that any change should be patiently and relentlessly driven from the inside. Others gave it a shot, got frustrated, and finally quit.

d. I know this is getting long, but would also like to address the actual influence that ALAC has (or has not) in the ICANN process. We should recognize that the ALAC has been dysfunctional in the last years. Its members have a constant debate about the Committee’s priorities and goals, and this situation was many times reflected on its results. Some other times, ALAC statements were practically ignored by the Board. My personal opinion is that the ICANN Board would take in account ALAC documents and opinions if they were the result of a consultation among a wide community of users, and not only the opinion of a few individuals. Many times our discussions with Board members ended up in the necessity of deploy the regional structures (RALOs) and start gathering opinions from a broad range of organizations. In ICANN Bylaws, ALAC has few tools, but important ones: The Committee has the power to start a Policy Development Process on the GNSO ­ but cannot take part on it once it has been initiated -, and elect five NomCom voting members. We also use to attend different constituencies and cross constituencies meetings, and our travel expenses to ICANN meetings were paid by ICANN. I am not analyzing here the merits of this situation, but I do want to give you a complete insight of the situation.

e. Getting back to the beginning of this reasoning, I think that ISOC Chapters should participate in any ICANN constituency or committee if they believe that this would be a good way to fulfill ISOC mission and promote our core values. The real questions here are not related to ICANN but to ISOC itself: Would it be beneficial for ISOC and for the entire Internet community if ISOC chapters get involved in the development of ICANN policies? If so, should this effort be coordinated? How? Would these efforts leverage ISOC´s leadership and recognition? IMHO, these are the questions we should ask to ourselves.

Best regards,

Sebastian Ricciardi
VP ISOC Argentina Chapter