FYI: [ALSC-Forum] OPEN LETTER TO ICANN AND ALSC

toshimaru ogura (by way of chiari mario <Mario.Chiari@isoc.it>) ogr a NSKNET.OR.JP
Lun 12 Nov 2001 14:37:49 CET


OPEN LETTER TO ICANN AND ALSC

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey CA 90292-6601

Dear At Large Study Committee and ICANN board members,

Your organization recently issued a Final Report on ICANN At-Large
Membership. When I read the report, I was very astonished to find that
it
quoted me in a way that completely ignored my actual opinions. Instead,
the
document used my comments to justify various voting restrictions. I am
writing to tell you that I find this to be really unfair.

The portion of the report that particularly concerns me reads as
follows:

"The ALSC is concerned by some evidence that the very low entrance
barrier
in last year's At-Large election may have resulted in a large enrollment
of
people who were not actively interested in ICANN, but who enrolled only
because it was easy, or who were 'encouraged' to do so simply because of
nationalistic competition.

"For example, Toshimaru Ogura, author of 'Japanese Experience about
ICANN
Election Campaign,' states, 'It was clear they disregarded the intent of
ICANN's election, and that JIF [Japan Internet Forum] was set-up at the
direction of MPT [Ministry of Postal and Telecommunications] to get a
Japan
(not Asia) Board Member. Private sector was involved in the JIF at the
direction of the MPT. The private sector and the government are not
separate
in Japan; only excluding government is not enough. Several ISP's in
Japan
developed a campaign for ICANN elections. A special web page was created
to
promote Japanese votes. Several companies directed their employees to
register. For example, according to an internal document from Hitachi
Corp.,
it was assigned to produce 1500 registrations, and management assigned
three
registrations for each office and section, and required a registration
report to meet quota.'

"Domain name ownership, cost and verification, and membership fees may
help
deter problems such as nationalistic competition and involvement of
disinterested individuals, as well as the establishment of election
rules
and consequences for breaking the rules."

In fact, I am against further voting restrictions. But because of the
way my
comments were cited, your report may deceive people who do not know my
background regarding ICANN At Large issues.

More specifically, in my view, ICANN should not place any further
restrictions on its terms of membership, even if, during the last
election,
the Japanese government mobilized people who had little interest in the
ICANN process. Rather, I propose that ICANN should resolve the issues
posed
by such top down election campaigning and do a better job educating
Internet
users. Also I strongly insist that global democracy is necessary for
Internet governance and that all users should have the right to
participate
in this decision making process.

Unfortunately, ICANN and the ALSC have ignored these ideas and used only
the
portion of my comments that are in their favor.

So I would like you to answer the following questions.

1. Why did you cite my arguments without mentioning my main contentions?

2. What do you think about my assertion that more participatory
processes
(based on global democracy ideals) are necessary for the ICANN At Large
membership structure? I am sending my formal suggestions to you once
more
(as an appendix to this letter). If you want to quote me, you should at
least critique my ideas and explain why your more restrictive proposal
is
legitimate.

3. I fear that the people who read the portion of the ALSC report that
quotes me may misinterpret my views. Therefore I fear other civil
society
groups may lose confidence in me. What do you think about this?

Best regards,

Toshimaru Ogura
NaST (NCDNHC member organization)
JCA-Net Board member (Japan)
ogr a nsknet.or.jp

=========================
APPENDIX
Excerpt from Report for At Large Study Committee Outreach Meeting
Originally submitted June 5, 2001
http://marux.org/~ogura/ogura_report20010605.html

3 How to avoid top-down/nationalistic election campaign?
3-1 Enough information
I think that given the enough information, most of the above issues will
be
disappeared. Therefore ICANN should give enough information for
non-English
speaking people. "Enough information" should include not only official
ICANN
announces and documents but also various opinions and discussion from
all
over the world. It seems very difficult to realize in short time. But
ICANN
should make effort for this as possible as they can. ICANN should not be
a
quitter.

3-2 Education
ICANN issues are not belong to technical specialists even if it contains
"technical management" because another important mission of ICANN is
"policy
development" based on democracy and transparent procedure by various
Internet communities including civil society groups. The policy making
of
ICANN should be possible by ordinary users who has not so much
professional
technical knowledge but should have a proper knowledge about what the
democratic policy making of the Internet governance is and what the
rights
of users are. ICANN should educate the users from above point of view on
whom democracy of the Internet governance is be based.

3-3 Important role of civil society
3-3-1 Civil society NGOs
I feel responsibility as an activist of NGOs in Japan for above top-down
election issues in Japan because we could not take an action as enough
as we
could because of lack of our experiences about ICANN issues. I think we
have
to do a lot of things for promoting more democratic procedure in not
only
global but also local level.
Activities of NGOs do not belong to ICANN directly, but they may be
included
into a kind of user communities. Internet users of civil society
oriented
NGOs can have a very important position for promoting above missions
from
outside of ICANN organization.


3-3-2 Outreach to individual users beyond professional NGOs
Population of the Internet users increases rapidly. The Internet does
not
belong to specialists of computer technology and communication any more.
Though the role of NGOs is still very important, NGOs cannot catch up
with
rapid growth of the Internet. The scheme that NGOs as civil society
representatives lobby to International organizations will become not so
effective as before. On the other hand, individual users will become to
have
a responsibility for the Internet governance directly. ICANN At Large
election in 2000 was very useful and important experiences for more
direct
participation based on individual users.

Therefore At Large election should be direct participation by individual
users. Internet users will not need any assistance for policy making of
the
Internet in near future. The idea that any intermediate organization
represents At Large members and At Large board members should be elected
by
the intermediate organization must be recognized completely as unclear,
opaque and exclusive procedure for users. Each NGO as activists
collective
or specialists for technology and politics will become the civil society
organization which has limited missions and interests. They may become
not a
legitimate representative for At Large members but just a navigator with
various directions within the civil society.


3-4 Democratic procedure for the Internet governance in local
organizations
Top-down campaign might end in failure if local Internet governance
organization had a democratic body and civil society groups had more
concerning the Internet governance issues in local level. ICANN issues
are
also applicable to local governance organization such as JPNIC. If so,
we
should approach democratization both of ICANN itself and local
organization.


4 Conclusion
I know that there is an opinion that the At Large election should be
restricted more in oder to avoid top-down/nationalistic election. I
think
this opinion does not stem from civil society groups, rather this is a
kind
of conspiracy pretending democracy. The necessary measures exist in the
contrary direction. I believe we can promote more bottom-up and more
civil
society oriented At Large election process if ICANN has proper measures
and
were so minded.
Individual users in the Internet including Japanese people are not
absolutely stupid, rather the information system of ICANN makes
individual
users ignoramus. Therefore people should not accept the responsibility
but
the one who insists on more restricted election without any effort or
the
one who completely disregards the interest of global Internet community
and
intend to introduce national or business interest should take
responsibility
for top-down/nationalistic election process.



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