The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Hello, everyone. Welcome. Welcome to the session on the Dynamic Coalition for Accountability of Internet Governance Venues. My name is Robin Gross with IP Justice, and the other co-facilitator today is Farzaneh Badiei. This session is a follow-up to the one we held last year on Accountability of Internet Governance Venues, and we -- we're doing a follow-up to that session now and exploring the formation of a Dynamic Coalition to continue to evolve this discussion over the course of the next few months or the next year or so. So we want to talk about some of the basic objectives and basic criteria of accountability and the basic kinds of mechanisms that are available and what's effective and what's not effective, and hear a variety of perspectives from different stakeholders on the needs of the stakeholders in these venues.
So let me get started with our first -- where's Jeanette? There you are. Okay. I didn't see where you landed?
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I managed to sneak by.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Let's introduce our first speaker today. We're going to questions at the end and discussion at the end, so if you've got questions, please save them until the end. Our first speaker today is Jeanette Hofmann, who's a professor -- she's the director of Internet Policy and Governance at Humboldt institute for Internet and Society, so she's going to talk to us about the importance of accountability in these types of venues. Jeanette.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: Thank you, Robin. I thought I'd provide sort of the bigger framework of why this Dynamic Coalition is really a good idea for the whole area of Internet governance, not just for the IGF.
What I'd like to say is that globalization implies that more and more decisions nowadays are taken outside of national jurisdictions, and also in addition to multilateral organizations and processes, a growing number of efforts are emerging, which are sort of private-sector-led and not any longer under control of national governments, and this is what many people refer to as the rise of private authority in transnational regulation means that many of the safeguards we have developed on the national level in terms of constitutions simply are in effective, they have no teeth, they don't apply, and that means that for private authority and the organizations who try to exercise that, they have to come up with their own means of looking for legitimate solutions and means that help others to hold them accountable.
And that often creates sort of strange situations in an organization. Of course they want to be in control, but they have to be sort of answerable to other parties, be it users, clients, governments, whoever, but how do they do this? Do they want to hand over control to people they cannot control? Obviously not.
So it's not easy solutions that we see for this problem. Most would agree in principle that it is good to be accountable to other organizations, also to create a stable regulatory environment, but how to do that and who is supposed to decide how it is going to be done, we can see with ICANN right now how enormous tensions are created in dealing with this problem, and I think that this Dynamic Coalition would be good in sort of working on that.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much, Jeanette. Our next speaker is Jan Scholte, who is at the -- is a professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and he's going to talk to us about what he sees as key criteria for accountability.
>> JAN SCHOLTE: Thanks, Robin. Apology also. I'm in absolutely no demand at the IGF, but the two things I've been booked have to be done at the same time. I'm going to give my remarks, and it's not any reflection, but this session was moved in time. So I'll go to the other one.
I've been involved in the accountability questions on the current Guyana transition, so that's where I've come in, but these remarks are about accountability in general, and I guess they're Scholte's nine questions, really. One is what accountability actually is, and a one-liner is just to say accountability is processes whereby actors answer for their impacts on others, processes whereby actors answer for their ICT acts on others. That's where you -- impacts on others, and you say what makes up accountability? And it's consisting of four dimensions. One is transparency, because you can't answer to people if you can't be seen; one is -- the second is consultation, you can't answer to people if you don't talk to them; third is evaluation, you can't answer to people if they aren't reviewing what you do; and the fourth is redress, so when you make mistakes, you answer for those mistakes and correct them.
Now, for me that's all four of those dimensions. People sometimes get a bit hung up on the review and redress and forget about the transparency and consultation event.
It may also be good to ask what accountability is for because people go to accountability for different things. Maybe they want people to comply with the law, maybe they want people to have good financial management, maybe they want people to listen to the democratic accountability, maybe they want people to have moral probity, so Paul Wolfowitz does things he shouldn't do and is removed from office. Just make sure accountability is for four purposes and you want to make sure what the purpose is when they clash, because you can't satisfy them all at once and it gets political.
Who is accountable for what, this may be the fourth question, and Internet Governance, there's so many cooks in the kitchen, it's often not clear who should be answering for certain actions or omissions. You've got so many intergovernmental, private, regional, global, local, national. I mean, there's more institutions than you know what to do with, so which one is actually answerable for a particular fault is open to debate sometimes.
Then there's the question of to whom they are accountable. If you've actually figured out who's accountable, to whom are they accountable, and that could be a mess as well because it could be a whole range ranging from business to Civil Society to governments, to intergovernmentals, et cetera, et cetera, and again, who are you answering to? We also get a fudge by talking about the community, which is a way of not asking -- asking that question, but anyway.
Then there's through what mechanisms do you get the accountability, and there you can -- again, you can have a unilateral veto of the U.S. Government, and I think most people say, well, that's probably not the best way to have accountability of a global public good. You can have intergovernmentalism and go through the government, or you can go through the multistakeholder policymaking, you can go through deliberative forums like the IGF, and I suppose if all else fails, you can take to the street. And through practice, accountability works through a mix of those mechanisms, and again, it just gets messy.
Last couple of points, because I was asked to keep this brief. Then there's the question of how effective are the mechanisms, do they achieve the desired outcomes, do they attract compliance?
A big one is how equitable are the mechanisms, and I was in the session before and the room was making comments about, you know, how equitable the mechanisms, are all the affected parties heard, so, again, we've got lovely talk in Internet governance about consensus and community and public interest and bottom-up processes, and it all sounds very cozy, but whether it actually fulfills those criteria of equity is something that I think one has to ask about.
And then finally, the question that's also preoccupied the CCWG in the transition, how accountable are those who exact accountability, so who watches the watchers? You end up, I think, getting circles of accountability and mutual accountability, so everyone has to be accountable at some point, including those who say they're holding the other ones accountable. That's me. Thanks.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you, John. Our next speaker is Farzaneh Badiei with the Internet Governance Project.
>> FARZENEH BADIEI: Thank you, Robin. So Jan covered what I wanted to say, so I'm going to be very brief. The Internet governance organizations and venues normally have various mechanisms, either formally or informally to hold them accountable, and this Dynamic Coalition is formulated to look at a wide variety of these mechanisms, so they could be, like, going to court or arbitration or it could be, like, private disputes, resolution, or through multistakeholder processes to hold the organization accountable, so -- yeah, so at the next stage of this session we will hear the mechanisms that different IG organization haves in place.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thanks, Farzaneh. Our next speaker is Erika Mann, who is a board member with ICANN, a member of the board of directors. Erika.
>> ERIKA MANN: Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Robin. Such a pleasure to be here. Let me maybe briefly summarize and explain a little bit what is already at place, and then I'm sure we will have later a discussion and debate what do we want to achieve in addition to what we already have.
So I think what is very interesting -- so when I joined ICANN about five years ago, and I was in international politics 15 years before, so I was used to working in very international environments, was a member of the European Parliament and always worked on trade issues and issues related to Internet or telecom regulation.
So what is fascinating is that when you look at how much already evolved in the ICANN ecosystem, it is really astounding because you will find very few, if at all, bodies, you know, which have this -- this idea, first of all, to create something quite novel in the way that the whole organization and all the related stakeholders want to work together and how they want to develop policies.
In a political world, you have typically a quite, you know, arranged policy arena. There are the regulators and then there are the ones that want to help to shape policies. It's either, you know, the classic lobbyist or NGOs or whoever it is.
In this world, you see all these ecosystems, the different one, merging together into one ecosystem, but just in itself something very novel and very fascinating and interesting.
Of course, one has to be clear because of the novelty of the character what we do, this creates obvious tension because none of our -- I would say of the -- you know, the way we as an individual community, an individual stakeholder in this process, we have our own views, we have our own history, we typically have our own viewpoint be a certain topic, there are different industries and different sectors involved, so naturally there are tensions which arise, but I must say when you look back -- and I can look back now five years, and I was involved before, so I'm overlooking quite a long time, so I would say the way we find and solve conflicts is actually fascinating and it's something the -- many actually have an interest in understanding if it isn't something one could copy.
Now, when you look in the -- I would recommend everybody who is not totally familiar with the way we work, the publication about the accountability of ICANN is actually quite good, so when you look into the website -- and I would recommend you go to the website of ICANN.org/resources/
So my recommendation is look at these three pillars. You will find accountability, transparency, strengths, you will find information about competition and consumer trust there, you will find information about -- for example, the ombudsman as well. We have an ombudsman, quite often forgotten the function and role of the ombudsman. But what is fascinating -- again, you'll find this on the same page -- examples. They're not complete but they're examples of accountability and our transparency practices.
And again, just maybe a few because we tend to forget and overlook what kind of achievements this actually is, what we have achieved over time.
So there's one thing which we -- the public comment. So all the stakeholder communities, when they have a policy change or a needed consultation, they will ask for comments. They will allow the public to comment on it. Again, it's not something you will find in many different environments, very few, actually.
Something totally different, which looks so natural to us now, but when you look back in the history, it was actually a quite complex process to evolve, languages or external participation, which, again, opens a different window and a different door into our processes because it allows people to participate who can't travel or who don't want to travel because of whatever reason, they can participate. This was a long process. I remember when the first time we had this done, that we have these external video -- the possibility to have external helps being present. It was difficult for our technical management team to run it. Now it looks natural, we are getting used to it.
So I'm just mentioning this because you will see when you look at this, there's so many mechanisms in place, and somehow -- and this is maybe the human nature -- we always want more. This is just the way we are, and it's good. It's a good process.
So I just wanted to mention what we have so that we are reminded, and then looking forward, I'm sure you will make a short introduction what we want to discuss. Thank you so much for inviting me again.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much, Erika.
Our next speaker is Paul Wilson from APNIC, and Paul's going to talk about some of APNIC's accountability mechanisms.
>> PAUL WILSON: Thank you very much, Robin and Farzaneh. I'm from APNIC for the Asia-Pacific, and we're a member of what's typically referred to as the technical community, and I want to talk about how accountability works in our environment and the ecosystem around us.
I could talk for a while about this, and I think I've got five minutes or so. I hope I'll be able to cover it pretty well in five minutes, which shows you that I think -- I hope you'll see that we've got a pretty straightforward accountabilities where we are.
The work that we do is in a sort of Internet tradition. We're actually relying on a lot of what's happened before, and that tradition has involved an openness by default. We're not -- what I'll say about APNIC is not particularly unusual in that sense, but I'll show you how that's actually evolved over the last 10, 20 years.
APNIC is one of five regional Internet registries, so the technical community is quite diverse, but the five Internet regional registries are fairly similar to each other. We're responsible in each of our regions, five regions, we're responsible for the allocation and management of IP address space, v4 and v6, and autonomous system numbers, which is another critical numeric resource, for the administration of those resources in the public registries and processes like transfers and management of the holdership of those -- those resources. We've been going as a system since the early 1990s when the RARs were created out of the ITF process as an action to that community and have been formed in the years since then. Some of us for more than 20 years.
And today we cover a membership of over 30,000 amongst us in total, 30,000 of the ISPs and network operators that build the Internet around the region.
So we do a pretty important job, and accountability has always been an important part of what we do. Each of the RARs is a legal -- is obviously an incorporated legal entity, and we are all formal membership organizations, so we've got pretty standard membership mechanisms -- membership-based mechanisms for things like electing boards, for reviewing annual reports and activity plans and budgets and so forth. You won't find any great surprises in our structures in terms of being basic membership models.
We don't exactly follow the same model, however, we're all bottom-up organizations, so as you could imagine five membership organizations could each evolve differently as time goes on, so there are things that we do differently in terms of accountability.
So in the case of APNIC, for instance, we have annual formal financial audit, which is available to members, and that's voluntary but full financial audit. We every two years conduct a formal independently run survey of our members and stakeholders and make the reports and responses to that available.
So some RARs do things along those lines a little differently, some have board structures with particular subcommittees to take charge of different parts of the governance of their organizations.
We've actually, as I say, evolved somewhat differently, but in fact, just in the -- in about the last year we've seen the focus on accountability brighten and sharpen, mostly due to what's happening in the ICANN framework. We, again, voluntarily found that it would probably be useful for us collectively since the RARs work together to maintain the system of IP address management, we felt it would be useful to publish a matrix of our accountability mechanisms and structures, so there's now on the website of the NRO, which is our umbrella body, you'll see a matrix of all the accountability metrics and how they compare across the RARs.
So now that's at the organizational level. We have, as I say, legal bodies with transparent membership-based structures. We also, in each case, in each of the five cases, facilitate in different ways according to our specific community requirements and desires -- we facilitate an open policy process which is not restricted to members but is open to the entire community of our region, and that's a bottom-up consensus-based policy development process where each of the RARs currently on a six monthly schedule twice a year will host and coordinate a policy development forum, a meeting in which the community members can come together and make decisions, proposals, discussions, and so forth on policies that become binding on the RAR in terms of their management of the resources that they -- that they're responsible for, and so in that -- I think in that case, we follow a sort of similar tradition of absolute openness and freedom to participate in those processes, as I mentioned in terms of our membership structures.
We maximize access to those meetings, particularly these days through remote participation, video broadcast, through captioning, through recording of transcripts and keeping them available on the website for future reference, and all that stuff, in order to make the processes as transparent and as accountable as possible, so if you think of the five RARs, we hold ten of these meetings per year, thousands of people potentially who -- actually who are participating in those meetings directly, remotely, and through open mailing lists as well.
I'll just mention we do work in the ICANN context, and there is a link to ICANN through our regional policy processes in that there is a global policy process which allows five regional processes to converge on a single global policy as needed, and that policy is handed to ICANN for its implementation through the processes of the address-supporting organization, so the supporting organizations, if you're aware, were an original part of ICANN's structure, and since ICANN was basically founded, we have had the address-supporting organization as the mechanism of taking policies into ICANN, and that's fairly important at this time because that ISO structure is pretty clear. There's a very clear separation of the policy formation from the policy implementation, and the implementation is by IANA within the ICANN structure, and that actually -- I won't be talking right now about ICANN accountability, but it has -- that structure has made the accountability question for the numbers community much, much simpler for us than for the names where there are many internal structures within ICANN and external and so forth.
I think over the last 20 years the RARs and as members of the wider technical community have changed and put more focus and more attention gradually onto openness, transparency, and accountability.
I think back in the earlier days, 20 years ago, we were open, but it was passively open. You know, the doors were open, and if you knew the door was there, you could come through it, no problem at all, but definitely for the last ten years we've taken a much more intentional and active approach to making sure that people know about the door and that it's open and that when they come in, they can expect to participate and to have access in ways that are predictable and documented and formalized to the extent that we can.
So I sort of see -- I see the difference between simple passive openness and a sort of conscious multistakeholder inclusive attitude as kind of like the difference between sort of a neutral nondiscriminatory approach and an antidiscrimination or affirmative action sort of approach where you've decided that you're not just passively open to being where you want to be but you're deciding where you want to get to and taking actions accordingly. That's all I wanted to mention for now. Thanks, Farzaneh. I'll hand it back.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you, Paul. Our next speaker is Izumi Okutani.
>> IZUMI OKUTANI: Thank you. I am a policy liaison, so we are registry in Japan that is under the APNIC region, so we pretty much do the Japanese version of what APNIC does and we collaborate very closely with APNIC, of course.
And in addition to our role as the number resources registry, what we do is we actually share these discussions around the number resources, the main name, or recently around the wider Internet governance issues that may be of an interest for the Japanese community, so first thing is to make sure that they actually keep up-to-date about the discussions, and the second is that we want to have the voices from the Japanese community reflected back to the -- to the wider overseas from the Japanese perspective community.
And so I've been more familiar with the number resources community because I've been working on this arena for over 10 years, and I'm relatively new to ICANN or IGS. I want to share, like, a little bit of observation about the differences between these communities.
So in our case, since the RARs are more regionally structured and also APNIC is quite -- very recognizing, that many in the region has linguistic cultural diversity, they don't assume everybody thinks their way or people are not as vocal or not as eloquent, you know, this is atmosphere, it's all right, so it actually makes it easier and encouraging for those who -- who actually want to speak, and JPNIC also has their own regional -- national forum that actually have discussions around the policies, discussions in Asia Pacific region, so we can actually feed back what's been happening and discuss in our own language, and then give our feedback to the APNIC community.
So at the beginning, when I first joined the APNIC forum, there weren't many participants from Japan who are active, but now as a result of these better communication between -- collaboration between our national community and the regional community, we now have people making presentations, making proposals in APNIC forums, even people -- some of them even sharing, so this is something that I see as an interesting development.
So compared to that with ICANN or IGF, it's a global platform, so I think it's -- it's a common issue. I mean, it's not because -- it's not a fault of a particular forum, but I think it's the way that it's formatted that it makes it challenging to reflect the views of different people from different regions, and of course, English is spoken, so it's easier for -- it's not just about the language or being able to speak, but language actually is very close to -- closely related to how you think or how you act, so the process and the kind of discussions is very influenced by English-speaking kind of people, and it's not -- it's not intentional that it's that way, but I think those people who speak English, it helps to be super conscious that, you know, there are people who think differently and maybe I don't know -- start about speaking slowly and think of other ways that accommodates participation. For example, this morning I think there was an -- an approach that was suggested that people don't necessarily feel comfortable to speak openly at microphones, and it sometimes helped to have, like, separate dialogue in smaller groups, so these may be the kind of things that would actually make it easier and for people to express opinions.
And so how we can actually improve things in platforms that only has communities or places where it only has a global platform. I think it's not realistic to split them into different forums, so maybe having, like, a submeeting or subcommunity that actually allows people in regional or national basis and have discussions, and then if there's a way to feed those discussions into a global platform, that actually might make it easier and encourage people to share their views.
So I already see this partially happening within ICANN. For example, I think they have, like, regional hubs and then they have meetings that people get together on a regional basis, and I see, like, for -- I attend the Asia-Pacific ones, and I see people who don't usually speak so vocally in wider sessions, they actually share their opinions. But the people who are there are only from that region, so they don't get to, you know -- others don't get to hear it, so if there's a way we can actually, you know, feed the discussions there into sessions or, I don't know, forums where wider ICANN participants participate, that might be something helpful, and maybe some more thing can be said about the IGF. So, I mean, there's a lot of recognition around national and regional IGFs already, and I think the challenge is that how do we actually feed the discussions that's happening there into the global IGF in an effective way, so it might be something that we can think a little bit more about.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much, Izumi.
So we've heard from some of the key players in the global governance accountability frameworks. Now let's hear from some of the stakeholders and some different stakeholder perspectives on accountability.
Let's start with Keith Drazek, who represents the business community or I should say is a member of the business community. Keith.
>> KEITH DRAZEK thank you. My name is Keith Drazek. I work for VeriSign and participate in the registries stakeholders group, which is part of the organization at ICANN.
So Robin, I think I'd like to start with maybe just some high-level views about accountability and sort of some of the processes that we follow in terms of public input and the things that I think are critically important, and maybe where I've seen things improve over time, and then I can speak more specifically about the experience of gTLD registries, our engagement in the GNSO, or anything else anybody else want to talk about.
In brief, I think one of the key components of accountability and transparency in an Internet Governance framework or in the context of a registry operator participating in the policy development processes that we work in is the importance of public input. There needs to be an opportunity for review and accessibility is critical at the review stage.
If a topic has been discussed or is under discussion in a working group or in a community process, there needs to be the opportunity for newcomers and for anybody that's interested to review the work and to contribute, but part of that review and contribution to the work underway is having the accessibility to be able to understand, to have appropriate language support, and to make sure that -- and, you know, in terms of making sure that people from different cultures and different language backgrounds have the opportunity to engage.
The next phase is the opportunity for input. There need to be appropriate tools for after the review and after the understanding of the work at hand to provide input, and whether that's a public comment period or some other phase or stage of the community engagement, you need to have the ability to provide input and you need to have the tools to be able to do that.
And then comes the assessment phase. Once public input is provided, there needs to be an assessment, there needs to be a consideration, there needs to be an evaluation of the range of public comments. And at that point, you need -- whoever's doing the staffing work, whether it's a community member or ICANN staffer or whoever it is, we need to acknowledge every input. We need to show that every individual input, everything that's been submitted is at least acknowledged. It doesn't mean that everything has to be acted on or incorporated. That's part of the difficult work of staffing and difficult work of going through the consideration and the assessment phase and developing a consensus position, but everything needs to be acknowledged.
And then at the end, the output coming out of any public input or public comment process or multistakeholder working group, is the output needs to show our work. We need to clearly be able to demonstrate that the inputs were considered and assessed and acknowledged and then there needs to be a clear explanation as to why things were accepted and incorporated and why certain things weren't, and I think the key there is that for those who are coming to these bottom-up consensus-based multistakeholder processes, there's a risk that people provide input but feel like their input was ignored, and that's a risk because that's the first opportunity to lose a newcomer who may be very interested in engaging but feel that they're not being heard.
So at a high level, I think those are the -- sort of the critical steps or phases or commitments that we need to make as those who are involved in these types of processes.
I will say that in my experience in ICANN that each one of those, I think, has gotten better over time. There were times in ICANN where you didn't know whether your comments were being considered. You knew they may have been ignored, and you couldn't tell why, but I think that there's been a dramatic improvement in ICANN, in the ICANN community, certainly within the GNSO, that we have a lot more visibility into the process and the work. And a lot of that is a testament to the work of the staff. This is hard work, it is difficult work, it's time-consuming work to do the public comment period assessments, and I think there's a clear commitment at ICANN today to make sure that that work is done and that it's done transparently and clearly and that people understand how we got from point A to point Z or wherever you stop on the continuum.
The -- so I could talk more about gTLD registries. Let me just comment. In the context of the accountabilities -- CCWG, it's actually also -- what I've just described is the approach that the CCWG itself has taken in terms of assessing public comment, review -- you know, taking input, doing the assessment, acknowledging input, and showing the work in terms of the output. I think -- and so the CCWG accountability, I think, has shown and has reflected what ICANN itself has been doing in recent years. So I think that's a really positive development.
Now, I can talk about gTLD registries and the fact that we have accountability through contracts, which is what unique in the ICANN, you know, sphere. Unlike ccTLDs, gTLD registries have contracts, we have accountability built in going both directions. There's accountability for ICANN in that contract, there's accountability for us as registries, and there's registrar accreditation agreements that flow down those obligations and the accountability mechanisms. Happy to talk about that if anybody would like.
And certainly we could talk more specifically about GNSO policy processes if we like, but I'm going to stop there and hope that we get some questions from the room and from the remote participation.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much, Keith. Our next speaker is Jyoti from the Center for Internet Society in India, and she's a member of Civil Society, so we'd like to hear a perspective from Civil Society. Thank you.
>> JYOTI PANDAY: Thank you, Robin. Legitimacy and accountability are critical issues for Civil Society organizations and for governance mechanisms. It's hard to imagine democratic values of governance, especially multistakeholder processes without Civil Society engagement, therefore, accountability becomes very important given that there are often competing interests and incentives when there are various stakeholders negotiating within a certain ecosystem.
So from my -- from Civil Society perspective, in my opinion, I see three aspects for why accountability is important. First, Civil Society organizations are important for monitoring and see the level of reforms and what the authorities have done, and in reality, how much progress the authorities have performed in this sense.
Through these steps, the role of Civil Society on the decision-making bodies grows. The reputation of organizations that lead governance for the Internet as legitimate and accountability stewards of those missions is vital to their ability to recruit allies to the cause and maintain their positions as stewards.
If these stewards leave questions about the legitimacy and accountability unanswered, the risk of organizational identities and capacities that depend on these voluntary commitments often, this then becomes a policy lever for Civil Society to push for further reforms.
Second, whenever there is regulation or governance, there is an exercise of power, and in order to prevent abuse of power, there needs to be accountability. Accountability, therefore, empowers Civil Society to negotiate with other stakeholders, and these negotiations can happen both in terms -- with private companies through contractual obligations or with governments, and an example of this would be the surveillance program in India.
Third, Civil Society organizations often mobilize people and resources through commitments to social values and missions that enhance the public good. The existence of transparent and accountable systems often becomes the only way that Civil Society can actually participate and engage in these processes, so from a method of engagement perspective, accountability becomes really essential tool for Civil Society.
So in conclusion, developed and strong Civil Societies is one of the guarantees of democracies through its active participation, following the work undertaken by the authorities, performing analysis, and by participating, Civil Society assists authorities for pushing reforms and makes the steps for creating accountability that is totally necessary for good governance. That's my two bits on it. Thanks.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much. Our next speaker is Jorge Cancio, a representative from the Government of Switzerland to give us a perspective from governments. Jorge.
>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you, Robin, and thank you for the invitation to this meetings.
I haven't prepared, really, a statement or well-thought-out point of view of government, but I would share some ideas on a personal basis.
If we are talking about IG venues in general, I think that in order to have a discussion about accountability, we have to look into the basic elements of each of these venues because depending on what the venue does, the organization does, what its mission is, and what interests are affected, the accountability structure will be very different.
So that's a very important thing, and of course, if -- of those interests, public interest or public policy issues are affected, then there is a role for governments, a role which may be on a regulation basis, on a participation basis, on an oversight basis, or on a (No English Interpretation) basis with traditional exposed control that may be very different, depending on the organization we are talking about.
So whenever we have identified the interests at stake, probably it's an interest, especially in the international environment, and when we are talking about organizations which affect the global public interest that the most fullest extent of the diverse interests are fully included and that -- I think in the discussion this came up, what have been the moves and also the efforts of some of the organizations to bring in to the organization people from other parts of the world, people with different cultures, with different languages, and we see a process which is improving over the years, but it's certainly still a challenge for many of the organizations because if you look into, really, the very active participants or those who are in a position of shaping the decisions, there is still a room for improvement.
So once you know who all the people who are relevant, you have to look also how they may be represented because it's very different to have direct interests, specific interests, which may probably be very well organized, and it's -- we remember what Michael Rosen wrote. So who's representing the people affected? And how do we make sure that they are in the -- in the processes and in structures which are needed to do what the organization at stake has to do.
And then we get into the more, let's say, specific or sometimes reactive tools of accountability, good governance, redress, transparency, openness, fairness, how do we -- how do we handle that, and certainly, the -- I don't know whether 10,000 emails or more in the CCWG accountability discussions (Giggling).
In the end, after all the stress, it's a school of -- of how to come up with solutions which are sensible to many different people, and on the many different people, it's a challenge because some of the organizations are more homogeneous, perhaps, in the very, very technical field, you have the engineers, and while they may be personally very different, but they have a common background and they think similarly, be it in Japan or be it in Europe, they have something in common, but -- although they may be diverse because of their culture, but if you have, like in other organizations, not only have engineers but you have politicians, you have policy people, you have people with economic interests, you have a lot of business sectors, you have Civil Society, it's putting in a basket, pears, apples, oranges, and it's very difficult to come up with a system and structure some processes where all of these people may have a say and the final outcome is regarded as fair and equitable by all the participants.
And if you add to that what Jeanette said at the beginning of the session that this is an international and a global context, the challenge really grows to a very high level.
So I will let it with that, and I hope these thoughts have been of some use. Thank you.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much, Jorge.
So before we talk more specifically about the Dynamic Coalition, let's see if there were any questions from people in this room or from remote participants, if we have any. So if there are any questions, please just come on up to one of these microphones and feel free to -- or comments. It doesn't have to be a question -- feel free to queue up if there are any.
Did we have any remote participants?
>> (Off microphone)
>> ROBIN GROSS: We have a question. Please introduce yourself.
>> NADIRA ALARAJ: Nadira Alaraj from the Arab IGF, AMAG. I'm not talking -- I would like to thank Farzaneh for inviting me for this. I'm thankful for formulating the topics and that you covered the different issues of the -- that have the good governance of -- sorry -- the accountability, but I was thinking from the -- as AMAG member from the IGF, I could feel that there is -- there is -- it's hard, like even within the AMAG, I can't really -- it's not possible tow have accountability, so you are talking about ICANN that is being achieved a way ahead building this, but as the role of this coalition, I don't know how -- how you are going to influence the different bodies, not just ICANN, which is already formulated, which already have its own structure. That's my point of view.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thanks. I think that's a really good question, sort of what would be the strategy or how would we influence what some of these different Internet governance venues are. Does anyone want to take that one? Anyone? Erika.
>> ERIKA MANN: No, just maybe -- it's very difficult, this room is so big and so long, so I'm not sure if I really understood your question well, so I want to be careful.
I think we have -- any time you look at the Internet, the way we operate as ICANN, we have a very small responsibility, unique, but a quite small responsibility, very technical as well, very novel in many ways. When you look at what Keith was mentioning about the new GTLEs, which is practically kind of a pioneering work even in our domain name world to some degree, so I think this is something which one needs to look at.
And then, of course, there's so many -- over the last year so many internet business -- new business models evolved. Sometimes they're connected to it. Some of the other Internet players think maybe there's a connection. In other ways, you know, in other sectors and areas, maybe they're departing and have different ideas and want to do something different. I think we are all in the process of figuring out, you know, how this -- you know, this whole ecosystem or how one wants to call it, to evolve. We're all part of it to some degree, all with our own responsibilities.
Now, when you look into the broader world, how we connect, you know, as ICANN, I mean, we have a connection, for example, to what we call the ISTAR, so these -- you know, again, quite like ISOC, but many others as well which are quite unique, ITEF, which are more IRB, which are more technical in nature, so, yes, there are corporations. Sometimes there are even contractual agreements between different players in this world, so these kind of relations exist.
Of course, then there are the layers around. Some of them are embedded into our world, which makes it so unique. The governments, for example, they are really sitting a part of our ICANN system and they're defining their policies, infusing their topics and their policy into the -- into the consultation process so that we find a consensus -- an idea world and a consensus involved, but of course, there are governments which are maybe not participating or organization, which are relevant as well, so I think you raised a good question.
So how can we bring and how can we see this whole world, if I understood you, being connected and shaping maybe for the public interest maybe in an ideal way the best policies?
>> NADIRA ALARAJ: May I comment? Nadira, there is the point because you're mentioning that even with your scope of future work is you're going to include the IGF, but I could see the relation with the -- the RAR and ccTLD and ICANN, but also -- because already these are kind of well structured, but including your scope also with the IGF, it's going to be hectic work.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I mean, speaking of the ISTAR organizations, I didn't even know that this sort of gathering existed before they made the statement that suddenly brought them on the agenda everywhere, right? It was a meeting of organizations, since, I mean, I knew about the existence of each of the individual organizations, but they -- that they would meet and sort of write letters to the U.S. government or anything of that, I wasn't aware of that, and I would not say that this is a very accountable way of dealing with the community, but I wanted to bring up another point.
If we look at other policy domains, usually accountability is defined between those who make policies and people outside of that policy domain. I would say in fact the whole idea of national institutions is that equally powerful players try to hold each other into account, but when you look at the Internet governance space, it seems that it's always the same people who talk to each other. I'm exaggerating a bit, but it is a bit like that.
No, I mean, look at the people here on the panel. You might have seen us many times before, so I'm just wondering whether it's not a bit of self-serving what we are doing here.
>> ERIKA MANN: What's the conclusion?
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: I'm not concluding anything, I'm just questioning an approach to accountability that we are pursuing so far. Is it really enough that the people who sort of share problem perceptions, sort of appetite for self-regulation as opposed to something else, there are lots of -- how should I put it? -- share norms that empower the people who are playing relevant roles in that space. Is that good enough or would we actually need to think of accountability mechanisms towards people outside of the space?
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you very much. Paul, did you want to add something?
>> PAUL WILSON: I'm not sure if I do. The -- the ISTAR group met, I think, three times before a statement, as people and organizations do, and that was certainly not a secret meeting. In fact, we each reported back to our communities what seemed relevant to report from those discussions, and the very first time we decided to do anything jointly as a public correspondence was the -- was the statement you refer to, so I'd like to think we live in a sort of permissive society where we should be allowed to talk to one another and meet together if we feel like it and so forth.
>> JEANETTE HOFMANN: No.
>> PAUL WILSON: No, says Jeanette. I think an example a across the board is an example I learned during the WSIS days, which is that one of subsidiary, which recognizes the world is a complex place, and the best way to deal with a whole set of complex issues is to put the solutions into the hands most closely to those affected, so I don't think -- I don't think we can really ask for our hope for a single coordination. I think we've got to be comfortable with the concept of subsidiarity and the idea of that there are many communities and many -- and the idea that there are many communities and overlapping structures, and subsidiarity is that we are self-determining in some independent manner. I know Jeanette has said we have an appetite for self-regulation, and sure, there is an appetite for self-regulation that also comes within that model, but it also doesn't deny the possibility that there are certain things that -- for which self-regulation doesn't apply.
But I would deny that there should be external regulation on the ability of a few organizations to get together and talk to each other.
>> JEANETTE HOFFMAN: I didn't talk about regulation. I need to correct that. I didn't talk about regulation. I said being held accountable by people not part of -- being part of the community. That is something else.
>> PAUL WILSON: I think accountability is context actual. If I'm accountable to someone, then I am obliged to -- I'm able to be called to account to that person for the thing I'm accountable for, and I think we often miss the fact that there are other accountabilities. They may be accountabilities to a wider community, but I don't think it's possible to accept we're accountable to everybody by default, that doesn't work.
>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Great discussion here. I think she also asked about effectiveness of this Dynamic Coalition in general and what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, so I think one of the good objectives of this Dynamic Coalition is that we reach the outsiders and we ask them their opinion, and this is -- this was like one of our purposes to do the Dynamic Coalition, have this session, to talk to the outsider out of ICANN accountability process and understand their views and ideas as well.
As to like how we can change the organizations by this Dynamic Coalition, I would say that's a very ambitious task that I don't -- we can discuss their mechanism, but I don't know how we can measure our effectiveness. And so if we can go to the general discussion about how we can go forward with this Dynamic Coalition, what would be the objectives, what do you think we missed out, and we need to add, that would be great.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you, Farzaneh. That's a segue to how to operationalize this corporation. So we have set up a mailing list, and we'd like to encourage anyone to join if you're interested in participating in this discussion, and so you can find that mailing list on the web at Http -- excuse me. It's Mailman.netgov-accountability.
>> (Off microphone)
>> ROBIN GROSS: Yes. At the end. Please introduce yourself.
>> JUDI OKITE: Thank you very much. My name is Judi Okite. I wear many hats, so for now I will wear the hat of Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. I think one of the very important things that you may need to do is to make it clear. For myself when I was coming here, when I read the title, "Accountability of Internet Governance Venues," my thought was physical venue, right, so I think it would be important to make that very clear that that is not what we are talking about because at some point I got very lost when I'm hearing about ICANN and I'm hearing about -- and I'm thinking, Okay, we are talking about the venue here? Yeah. So that clarification would be good. Thank you.
>> FARZANEH BADIEI: Thank you, Judi. Actually, that was a question I wanted to ask because venue is a very legal term that we use normally when there's a policy or a law made in a certain sphere, then -- or an organization, we call that a venue, a law-making venue, so we came up with the word, but I think we need to change that, and that's a very good point. Thank you very much.
>> ERIKA MANN: I just want to say something because I think you said something really relevant because we all live in our little bubbles, you know, and everything for us is so natural. I mean, whatever we discuss and debate in our own little worlds, the ICANN world, the technical world, the domain name world, and the IGF world, so we have our little bubbles, and we tend to forget there is a world outside of it. I mean, we are part of it, but we still tend to forget, so I think reminding us, it's very helpful. I think it will be still good, you know, to hopefully -- you know, hopefully we're not frustrating you too much, and hopefully you will have some interest in being part of this debate would be nice.
>> FARZENEH BADIEI: So my next question is which organizations should be the focus of this Dynamic Coalition. Can we also focus on ccTLDs? I think that's Martin Boyle, so Martin, I wanted to know if you have any opinion whether ccTLDs could be the subject of the Dynamic Coalition on Accountability. Thank you.
>> MARTIN BOYLE: Quickly tries to hide his chewing gum so he doesn't choke on it. Martin Boyle from Nominet, the dot UK Internet Domain Name Registry. I think there is probably quite a significant difference between a ccTLD which works in a very clear legal jurisdiction and the wider policymaking framework of an international framework.
Certainly -- and just using Nominet as an example, we are under UK law, we device our policy working with our local community, and that includes the government, but it also includes Civil Society, technical community, and businesses, and we could be subject to local regulation if the government were so to decide that we were behaving in an anticompetitive manner.
Now, that seems to me to be a rather different framework to one where you cross international boundaries and you need to bring together a very much wider community to decide whether you meet or fail to meet that sort of general accountability that was talked about earlier.
I think there's one area where there is a slightly different position, and that is inevitably the IANA service, and for there, there are a number of ccTLDs, by all means not all, who see the forum for developing policies associated with the IANA as being something collectively in the venue that is the ccNSO, to use your terminology. Like a previous speaker, I don't like the term "venue" at all, but then I'm not a lawyer, thank God.
So in that particular case, yes, you're in a collective environment because essentially the rules that the IANA functions operator will use to carry out changes have to be defined, and in this particular case are defined within ICANN, although I could name quite a number of ccTLDs who -- that would not see ICANN of having that authority.
And certainly for ccTLDs because the vast majority of us do not have contracts with ICANN, essentially the current arrangement is that ICANN performs a service for the community and some ccTLDs, again, probably a goodly number of them, pay voluntary contributions to cover the cost of that service plus also the policy forum within ICANN. Does that answer your question?
>> FARZENEH BADIEI: So your answer is no?
>> MARTIN BOYLE: Well, I thought you might like me to explain why my answer was no.
>> FARZENEH BADIEI: Yes, great. Thank you very much. That did answer my question.
So we are going to focus on binding -- sorry.
>> ROBIN GROSS: (Off microphone)
>> JORGE CANCIO: No problem. I just want to comment that if we are going to enter into this business of discussing accountability of different international, I guess Internet governance organizations, I -- it's always good not to reinvent the wheel and look for best practices applicable, for instance, to international organizations, to INGOs because there's a lot of work being done on that, and we can certainly profit off that work. Thank you.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Thank you. Okay. Yes, please, we have a question or comment from the audience.
>> AVRI DORIA: It isn't a question so much as a comment and a negative reaction to the -- there are organizations that somehow are excluded from being looked at for accountability.
For example, some CCs may indeed stay within their national borders. Many don't. Many of them go out there and act like international, you know, things to be sold on the international market. I think that if the DC is going to presume to go around looking at the accountability factors of organizations involved in Internet management stewardship, governance, whatever word we want to use, there shouldn't be any sacred cows, and the fact that some organizations might be under national law shouldn't really make a difference. Certainly that's something you would have to take into account in terms of looking at it that it does what it does, perhaps because of international law or national law, and, therefore, that's an extenuating circumstance or that's a constraint it behaves within, but to say that, you know, you're going to look at some things but not all things seems to me a mistake.
>> ROBIN GROSS: We can take turns.
>> (Off microphone)
>> AVRI DORIA: We could both stay.
>> MARTIN BOYLE: If I may, Martin Boyle from Nominet again. I accept that there are some ccTLDs that behave as if they were gTLDs, but at the end of the day, their prime responsibility is to serve their local community, and I still believe that their local community is the right place for that accountability to take place.
There is a separate set of accountability, though, if -- and I start off by saying -- better start off by saying Nominet does not have a UK-based-only policy. We have about 5%, perhaps as much as 5% of our registry that is registered from outside the UK, that's 5% of 10 million domain names, so it's quite a substantial number, but the people who -- who buy -- who take a domain from us, are subject under the law in the UK for the contract, and we would actually expect complaints to be dealt with under UK law, and that I would see as being the direct accountability structure, so I -- and so even with registries that are acting entirely like a gTLD, their customers -- so long as their customers are aware that they are signing a contract under that particular jurisdiction and that's what the contract says, that choice is their choice, and, therefore, I would still go back and say that the accountability has to be local, and I'm feeling vibes from my left that there might not be uniform consensus on there.
>> AVRI DORIA: Thank you. Avri Doria speaking again, and I neglected to introduce myself last time, so I apologize.
By that token -- you know, because I don't think we're just looking at TLD type organizations, are we're looking at any organization, so we could look at the IT, no, are no, no, they've been chartered by the UN. A gTLD, no, there's been compliance with ICANN, that should be enough, they signed a contract with ICANN, so shouldn't they be governed under that?
Looking at the IGF, even, as an accountable organization. Well, no, are that has a UN, you know, initiation, so that should be looked at under a UN system.
It's basically sort of taking these systems, and I think even when you get to the law, the law may not cover all of the accountability issues that you may have. You may have a law that actually encourages things that are not accountable, certainly not in the UK, but, you know, elsewhere, you know. I don't mean to say anything like that.
So I think that if we're going to say that there's a Dynamic Coalition that can presume to -- and of course it would have to do it in a reasonable way, it would have to do it in a way that made sense that, you know, when people read it, they sort of went, Well, who are these people, they didn't even talk to the people in country, you know, so obviously, if you were doing accountability of a national, you know, organization, you would want to make sure that you primarily dealt with that, but if the law said that it was okay for that national organization to infringe against the laws of another country, the accountability issues would be open and discussable, so I don't really understand limiting something for that national reason.
>> IZUMI OKUTANI: So -- Izumi. I have a question in terms of -- are we going to review and analyze and sort of like, you know, like scrutinize accountability of certain organization or are we sharing best practices as Jorge has mentioned? I kind of quite like this idea of sharing best practices because we don't have the expertise and we don't know the structure of different organizations. For example, like the case of ccTLDs but not limited. I don't know an environment, for example -- like, well, in Brazil and whether this ccTLD in Brazil is accountable, and if I don't have enough knowledge to evaluate and say, yep, Brazil, it's great, or, you know -- so I think collecting the best practices from those who are involved and then maybe by people reading it, we can learn from it. I like that approach.
>> MARTIN BOYLE: Martin Boyle here again. Yes, I think Izumi is entirely right, it depends on what you're trying to do with it, and sharing good practice and understanding how different countries, how different organizations manage that accountability structure could help people understand what might work in their own -- in their own environments and might not.
I guess, though, that when we start turning around and saying, well, we're looking into these things, you know, ITU, yes, a united nation's body, it has -- United Nation's body, it has its own accountability, and it would be ridiculous for us to turn around that and tell the ITU the accountability structures were not right. That's not our right or responsibility to quote back to an earlier text, and it's something that I think would be seen as being inappropriate on our behalf.
However, looking and identifying what is good, what is useful about the ITU structure could be something that helps inform us when we think about how to engage with governments within our own area of activity or how to engage with sector members or industry or stakeholders as a sort of translation between the ITU framework with working and the way that ICANN would work.
But how much of that would be transferable as skills and expertise. Having worked in both environments, I think it's probably fairly limited, but that's just a personal opinion.
>> AVRI DORIA: Okay. I'm getting confused, so forgive me.
First of all, I don't understand if all we were doing was best practices, and I never quite understood that was the intent of this to be an accountability best practice group -- then why the UK wouldn't want us to look at them because we'd obviously be able to learn great things of how to be accountable by looking at them if best practice was all we were doing:
>> MARTIN BOYLE: (Off microphone)
>> AVRI DORIA: Right.
>> MARTIN BOYLE: (Off microphone)
>> AVRI DORIA: So before you were basically speaking at we shouldn't be looking at a ccTLD. But going on from there, and then I'm sure we can -- but actually they'll stop us sooner or later.
In terms of it being out of scope for the IGF, I don't know if that's the case, and certainly this is a Dynamic Coalition we're talking about and not the IGF per se, but in terms of looking at accountability factors and measuring organizations against a certain -- it's something that we did as early as the WiGig out of which the IGF grew, and actually, there's always been a presumption that the IGF would, in some sense, be able to look at accountability mechanisms and measure organizations against those mechanisms, and so I'm not sure that I accept the question that it's out of scope for -- you know, there's no enforcement, there's nothing -- it has no meaning other than this is a report that may or may not be interesting to people from a Dynamic Coalition, but I see no barrier to doing that, and as I said, we did it in the WiGig. My first encounter was with ICANN as an organization was when WiGig sent me to ICANN to help describe its accountability. You know, I obviously have been doing that ever since, but, you know, that was something we did, so I'm not sure that it's out of scope.
It's not an official IGF position, but it's a Dynamic Coalition thingy.
>> ROBIN GROSS: Okay. Thank you very much. This has been a robust conversation and we can take that further about what are ideas we do and what are the appropriate for us to look at. I think the best practices idea is a good one, although I wouldn't limit it there. I also like the idea of taking out -- talking about the criteria that Jan talked about earlier, is an organization transparent, is there opportunities for redress, is there opportunities for access, things like that, and looking at the different organizations in the space and doing some evaluations about how accountable they are on -- under those criteria. So that's just another suggestion to sort of throw out there, but I really would like to get us thinking and starting to think about what is the best use that we could make for this coalition in terms of impacting accountability in Internet governance. So with that, we have to wrap it up because we're a little bit over time already, so I would like to encourage you all to join the Dynamic Coalition, and I'll give the -- the address again to go to. So it's mailman.netgov-accountability.
(Session concluded at 1535)