Digital Activists Are Shaping the Evolution of the Internet: the Voice of Civil Society in ICANN

17 December 2017 - A Other on Other in Geneva, Switzerland

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Full Session Transcript

>> If everybody could take their seats, I would like to get started. It's six minutes past 3:00, and since we are in the land of Swiss time keeping, I thought we might start on time and that way we could end on time because there's going to be another session after ours. My name is Lousewies van der Laan and I would like to welcome you all on this session on multi-stake holder focusing on ICANN but I would like to make it broader than that.

 

 

I'm on the ICANN board and one of the reasons I applied to be on the ICANN board is the fascination I have with the multi-stake holder model. The reason I have that is I'm a recovering politician. And, of course, one of the big problems we have with politics today, I think, in almost every single country in the world, is that people don't feel represented by the people that they vote for, if they have a chance to vote at all.

 

 

      And I'm always wondering whether multistakeholderism could be a replacement of the system we currently have, whereby governments are the starting point and the ending point of all kind of decisions that affect us as citizens and affects the societies that we live in.

 

 

      So I'm fascinating to see how it's working out in practice and ICANN. And I'm really honored we have a distinguished panel of people involved in ICANN's multi-stake holder model in various inclinations and from various backgrounds. And one of the things that I would like to achieve in this session today is to make sure that people who are not familiar with ICANN would feel encouraged and inspired to enjoin the multi-stake holder model and have a say in making internet policies and we hope that the experience of our panelists will be encouraging in that regard. And one of the things I would ask the panelists is to try to refrain from using too many acronyms or too much insider Lingo because that will scare everybody off. That's exactly what when he don't want.

 

 

      And the other thing I would love to achieve today during this panel is to get more insights. And this is why we need you, the audience as well, on how we can make it work, how we can improve the workings, and what from the ICANN experience could be used for the IGF experience and also for other multi-stake holder models. So I would like to just start by giving the panel a chance to have a few words. And I really want to apologize because I think there are two big things wrong with the IGF panels. The panel is too big. We have sinned that way. And the other is they have a meaningless title. I think we've done that wrong as well.

 

 

      So barring that, I apologize, we'll make sure we do everything right now. We grouped the panel so they'll be easier to see. And the first group we have out here is the people from the ALAC -- that's the at-large, these are the end users but they'll talk more about it themselves. And I don't know if Sarah and Satish and Ellen are all going to take the floor or Ellen, you want to kick off on behalf of ALAC. If you do a good job, maybe they'll just let you get away with that and we'll move on to the rest. Let's start with the ALAC. But let's keep it short. I would love to have room for discussions and questions and let's not try to take up all of the time with the introductions. Go ahead, Alan.

 

 

     >> Alan Greenburg: Thank you very much. Yes, we did agree I would start first and they would correct me. ALAC is the advisory committee. We represent within ICANN the interest of users. There's only 4 billion of them. It's really easy to track within ICANN. We have two main goals, one is as I said, we represent the interest in ICANN and within ICANN policy decisions. And our second part of the equation is we -- you may have noticed in places like the ITU, there are no seats for users. So making sure that ICANN is viable, credible, and is accepted within the internet governance community is important for us and we do actively participate in activities that try to ensure that ICANN is viable and will be viewed properly.

 

 

      I'll give you a couple of concrete examples where we have done that in recent times. Recently, many of you may know that the U.S. government which was previously been in control of the core part of the internet, a group called IANA, the internet assigned numbers authority. They're the group that maintain the data bases that allow the internet to run. Any time you do anything on the internet, their data bases or copies of them kick in and help your messages get to the right places. They help anything in the internet to run properly. That group operated under control -- under contract with the U.S. government and the government was willing to give control over to ICANN but a process had to be built. And we were very, very active in that.

 

 

      I think we can say with some credibility that the results, which ended up working, were measurably different and successful and partly because of the at-large involvement in the process. Similarly associated with that, we have gone through a major exercise to essentially rewrite the bylaws of ICANN to provide more control of the board and the mechanisms for how ICANN runs. And that too, we were very active. And I think we -- we were contributors to making sure that we found a path forward that was acceptable to all parties and was implemented.

 

 

      Looking at the positions of end users is interesting within ICANN. It's -- it's reasonable and I think expected that a large part of what ICANN does involves the various commercial interests involved in the internet, whether its's the registries, registrars, businesses running, using the internet to essentially operate their businesses. And it -- we feel that it is really, really important that when policy is enacted that someone thinks about how is it going to affect you and your children and your grandmother as you go forward. Is this something that is going to make it easier for them, harder for them? And that perspective has to be factored in. We put a lot of our effort to ICANN policy processes to make sure that we consider how are these things going to impact the particular users or the end users, rather, and, of course, how it impacts the individuals who are registrants and that's the responsibility we share with NCSG. But it's a very important part of our role. So thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Alan, thank you for keeping it succinct and for the knowledge. Very impressed. Sarah, you're a newer and active members of the African region at large. So on behalf of AFRALO or your own experience, anything you like to add to Alan's introduction at this point? And can you lift up the microphone and turn it on, please?

 

 

     >> Sarah Kiden: I'm Sarah Kiden from Uganda. I represent AFRALO, African regional at large organization. And like Alan said, ALAC -- at large advisory committee is divided in different groups, you have Asian Pacific, Europe, and North America. So in the African region, we have participated actively and what we talked about, the transition. We hired Muhammed, a vice chair of the ICG -- please help me what ICG -- but that's the group that was trying to make sure that the transition goes as planned.

 

 

      And there are so many things we've done, for example, the Africa steering committee and we're in the process of discussions and started until now, you could actually buy an African domain name. And many other things for now. Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. Satish, you want to come in at this point on what have of the Asia and Pacific islands?

 

 

     >> Satish Babu: My name is Satish. I chair the APRALO. A few talks on some of the limitation ifs you can call them out, of the multi-stakeholder model when it applies to very large operations like the India as a community, 4 million. Language, time zone, all of us understand that. But there are also other issues. For example, the fact that populations, especially in the Asian areas. We have small islands to giants like China and India which has more than 1 billion people.

 

 

      The political systems are vastly different. But they can also pose their own challenges.

 

 

      And finally, we do have a major issue of limitations of capacity of these populations. To first internalize the challenges of internet governance to kind of taking the lead and kind of an opinion on these kindS of things. So we sorely lack capacity in some parts of our region. So the model may not work perfectly the way it's been projected and some of chose challenges are not met.

 

 

      The good news, for example, capacity, a large number of internet donors to address the issue of capacity in the region. Those are good things. But some points you have to address. Thank you very much.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you for keeping it brief like that. We get to the next cluster. We group together the noncommercial stakeholders group, noncommercial users’ constituency. Niels, do you want to be in that or should I take you up as an entity upon yourself? I'm going to take Ayden Ferdeline and Tatiana together and I didn't know you had an order in which you would like to come in. But I really like the concrete examples that we have here about the influence that you can have on the process.

 

 

      Ayden, should we start with you. You and I joined the ICANN family at the same time in Dublin and I've seen you be extremely active and vocal. So it's possible for a newcomer to get in and influence things. Can you tell me about that.

 

 

     >> Ayden Ferdeline: Absolutely. I'm more critical at times.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Critical voice is welcome but we also need examples on how to improve things.

 

 

     >> Ayden Ferdeline: Thank you for being present. I'm Ayden Ferdeline and I'm a member of the noncommercial stakeholders' group. It's a home for civil society and individual end users as well within the ICANN ecosystem. And together we work to protect and support noncommercial communication and activity on the internet. The issues that we're primarily involved with are to do with privacy data protection, access and knowledge in words, fair disputes, respect for noncommercial users, and users of the internet and human rights, among other issues. And I'm sure some of my colleagues will touch upon those in a moment.

 

 

      And something Satish mentioned is true. I've been a member of the community for 18 months now have. So for someone with a more junior profile new to the domain naming system, I think my perspective is slightly different from some of the others that joined in on the commercial stakeholder's group in terms of how I've come involved, what issues I've chosen to be involved in. But the point he raised is very true. That it is very possible as a newcomer to be able to enter the ICANN ecosystem and to have a degree of influence.

 

 

      But where I'm slightly cynical is to do with the multi-stakeholder model itself. Not to say it doesn't work, is to say there's one fatal flaw. I cannot solve an ambitious experiment where it creates it legitimacy by harnessing the internet's potential for openness and representation. But -- and this is sort of the issue -- ICANN's narrow technical mandate has not and would never lend itself to broad-based public involvement in the decision-making process. And that's not necessarily to say that the multi-stakeholder model doesn't work. I think it works at ICANN, absolutely. It's just that when we talk about what ICANN needs to be to maintain its legitimacy is to attract and incorporate sufficient public involvement. It's really difficult given some of the complex issues that ICANN deals with. It just doesn't lend itself to public involvement as are some more fascinating -- fascinating people issues. But that's as far as I'm going to go with my criticisms there.

 

 

      In terms of ICANN itself, I'm very grateful to have been able to participate in the multi-stakeholder model. I certainly feel like as someone who initially when I joined was unaffiliated, it allowed me to have a platform where I was not only able to speak but to be heard.

 

 

      And within the internet government space, there are not many places like that. So I might leave my -- my comments with you now, but I might expand upon them slightly -- slightly later and I'll pause. Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Ayden. Farzaneh, we go with you. I like the fatal flaw, we can work on that.

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: I'm the chair of the noncommercial stakeholder group in ICANN. We do policy making with regards to domain name. Nothing more than that. Show we are not risking the interns or anything like that. It's a very narrow part of the ecosystem. But within that, we actually are very effective in making policy to make domain names more accessible to protect privacy, well, I don't know if we're very effective in that regard. But we are trying for --

 

 

     >> Niels ten Oever: Let this be progress.

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: Yes, so we're trying to protect the privacy rights of domain registrants on the internet. And we also try to since we are advancing noncommercial interests, we try to combat trademark overreaching domain name policy. Also, a governmental overage because we work mainly on generic domain names and if all of the names are owned by governments or by the businesses, then that would not be a perfect world. So also we work on -- one of the specific examples of how we are making a change in the domain name policy at ICANN was with regards to the jurisdiction of ICANN. Because ICANN's jurisdiction had affected domain name registrants that residents in sanctioned countries because of the restriction of ICANN and the U.S. sanctions. And, then I'd say that -- the very interesting thing about ICANN governance is you can create an issue and make policies around it or you can join a group at ICANN.

 

 

      So we joined a jurisdiction group, and we provided some recommendations for ICANN to -- to overcome the sanctions and make it easier for domain name registrant in these sanctioned countries to have their domain name and not get it cancelled.

 

 

      That was about it. I think Tatiana can now tell us about very interesting topics on human rights and how we won that battle. Should I criticize a little bit or --

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Absolutely. Or we can do that later when I invite areas of improvement. Why don't we get the panel to do some introductions and we'll get to the point of things that can improve or change -- should change.

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: Okay.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, FARZANEH. Tatiana?

 

 

     >> Tatiana Tropina: I want to sum up what Farzaneh was talking about, and also what Adam was talking about. Why do we come to ICANN? For me, I work in cybersecurity, cybercrime. And my colleagues frequently ask me why I can. We have so many plat forms to make a difference, you have so many to contribute. Why ICANN. What makes it interesting for me, for people like me, here at ICANN, you practice what you preach. Once you deal with the issue, you see the result. And I'm going to talk about the concrete results. The results which can be seen in our world.

 

 

      Human rights, it's over for noncommercial users, human rights would be one of the uppermost users. If you see the history of NCUC, you'll see for many years they were trying to invoke human rights and different policy processes me ICAN. So it's an old story. But I believe in the past two years, three years, we were able to write a new history about human rights. Because during the process of transition, from the U.S. government oversight, it was mostly NCUC. And just because we did have a long history of promoting this topic at ICANN, we were able to bring it as one of the bylaws in the accountability process. And then in the transition, we were able to develop together with other stakeholders, of course, in consensus, the framework of interpretation of these bylaws, so how to say not only to make ICANN to support human rights but we wanted to understand that it is a policy in the field of domain names, the quality of ICANN and it's the policy that ICANN has most effect on human rights. So I believe this is one of the things where we really could make a difference, where we really could write a history, where we really could contribute with the results that are visible.

 

 

      And I believe that we might talk about this later in a more general sense. But I would like to wrap up and say that ICANN when we can come together. Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: I remember in Dublin, I saw you as a fighter for human rights, and now it's in the bylaws which is an incredible achievement by any standard. So is that a good example of how individuals or groups of individuals can make a difference to really change things inside ICANN?

 

 

           >> Maybe, let's see. I would like to offer a short intervention and see who I'm talking to. Could I ask everybody to raise your hands. Please put your hands down if you know one of these acronyms, DNS, IANA, GMSO, ASO --

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Nobody.

 

 

     >> Anybody left with their hand up? No. So we're among ourselves. We're talking to each other. Where it is a problem.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: A big one.

 

 

     >> Because we're an echo chamber. I can give you a talk. So I can give you updates but we need to think about also the legitimacy of our work and how we're taking it beyond. Because we know now the internet is a very influential global infrastructure, or originally designed and developed with universities with government and defense funding, then it's scaled in the '90s.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: I'm sorry. This is almost physical.

 

 

     >> It's scaled in the '90s based on private infrastructure. But it mediates now many of the things that relate to human rights. Is there a right to education? A political participation? Or more basic rights? Freedom of expression, right to privacy. So how do we ensure in this complicated distributed landscape that human rights are upheld?

 

 

      Well, as we know, there is not one single place where we coordinate the internet. We need to do it in different places. And where it comes to names and numbers, we do it in ICANN. And we took the opportunity of the IANA transition where the last -- where one of the parts of the government control was transitioning to the international community, international internet community. We try to build in the extra accountability of human rights. Because it seemed more effective than the global public interest which was first in the ICANN's bylaws. Even though that sounds lofty, we've never been able to operationalize it. Because no one knows what the general public interest is. Luckily, since 1947, we know what human rights mean because they're codified in the Universal declaration of human rights and later in human rights treaties. We do not necessarily know what human rights on the internet means. It becomes more complicated. That's what we're trying to find out and make more concrete. And in that sense, we are now slowly trying to deliver on the promise that was made here in 2003 during the first world summit on information societies where it was said that the internet should be based on human rights principles.

 

 

      So right now, we're slowly starting to see what it means to implement that. So that is, indeed, a very interesting progress. But the rights are similar to the internet is that it's never done. It needs to be actualized again and again and reinvented. It's not a solution, but I say it's progress.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. That brings us to the last cluster, which is Raul and Joan for the not for profit operational concerns constituency. You've divvied it up or take turns? Yes? Joan, you want to start? Go ahead.

 

 

     >> Joan Kerr: Hi there, it's Joan Kerr, for the record. By raise of hand, who has heard of IMPAC? All right, so you guys, since you're few, you're the special ones. So I'm going to let everybody be special today and teach you what it is, okay? Before I do that, I would like to say when I first heard about ICANN, I was really marveled at the premise that the whole multi-stakeholder philosophy that people could get involved and have a voice and the place where they could express their philosophy, they could have their voice heard and that I come from an advocacy background. And so the people -- the grassroots actions is something that I was always passionate about. So when I came to ICANN and got draped into doing a lot of work, that's one of the things that attracted me to it. The other thing is I love the work for non--for-profits. Being part of ICANN and becoming the chair, not IMPAC but becoming the chair, it's given me a lot of passion to work for not for profits.

 

 

      So ICANN -- oh, my gosh, we were created in ICANN for a specific purpose which is to address operational concerns. That has been its focus and it's part of the NCSG. I think we agree we know the acronyms, and it's the baby of the NCSG group.

 

 

      We have a lot of projects going on, but our success right now, we'll talk about the engagement side of it later. But I want you to know that we accept not-for-profit organizations as a member and to look at how their -- how does DNS affects their ability to do their work. And I guess we'll talk about engagement after, is that right, Becky? We'll talk about engagement after? Yes? We'll talk about engagement later?

 

 

     >> Yes, yes, yes.

 

 

     >> Joan Kerr: And Raul will talk about that later.

 

 

>> You can decide any way it will go. Challenge, engagement, diversity. I'd like to hear from the audience what they would like to hear. Raul, do you have anything to add to that?

 

 

     >> Raul: Well, yes, we were specifically founded to address the operation concerns of Red Cross. As I understand it, it was -- it was attacked in a way that criminals uses domain name, fraud, to get money in the name of Red Cross for their own nefarious purposes. That's what we do. We try to keep these organizations on -- we try to keep the organizations to have the DNS names operational and not letting criminals abuse them. And a little more organizations have never even heard of ICANN. It's -- it's sort of -- I guess one of our main purposes is really to let the organizations know that they can come to us if they have domain name problems. I think that's really --

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. We had scheduled to have one other person on the panel who is grace Mutung'uh, she's in transit? Okay. If she comes, she can join us up here.

 

 

      But first, I would like to hear if anyone in the audience would like to raise any specific questions or a specific concern? With regard to the multi-stakeholder model. I'm looking at you, I know you've been very critical in the past. And I would love to get the discussion going by hearing, you know, a voice kind of from the outside.

 

 

     >> Well, I'm not sure I'm outside anymore. I'm at the University of Gothenberg. Critical friends.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Those are the best. If your friends aren't giving you reliable feedback, you can rely on your enemies to do it.

 

 

     >> I've been supportive over a 20-year period involved with civil society and governments. But I do hear some of the words and I wonder if people can respond a little bit. One is this idea about representation. So somehow there's this notion that civil society would take a representative function in global governments when kind of direct democracy is not available. Just wonder if you can reflect on what kind of representation that actually is. Because it's not representation, I would say, in the sense of speaking for people. You have to be elected, you don't have a mandate, a formal mandate. So you're not representative in the traditional sense. But are you represented in the sense of speaking as, is that what you mean? We are users, we're represented, because that's what we are ourselves, we are not for profit people so we speak as them. Is that the representation you mean? Or do you mean the representation of you speak with, you know? You're speaking with users, you're speaking with nonprofits, you're speaking with various noncommercial users. Therefore, that's where your representation comes from. Or are you speaking about? In other words, you're the experts about these issue us and so on. You know these people even if you're not talking about them or with them.

 

 

      What do you mean when you say representation, what kind of representation is involved here? The second question might be again, accountability. And I always go back to a -- to a civil society activist in Uganda who said to me some ten years ago, we point a finger but we have to do so with a clean hand. In other words, we are the people who are extracting accountability from others, but we also must be accountable ourselves. I just wonder if we have any worries about your own transparency, your own process, your own independence of evaluation and monitoring and your own absence of corrective mechanisms for redress. I know how to get rid of an elected politician, I don't know how to get rid of you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Those are two good points to raise. And on the issue of representation, one of the driving forces, and this is also something which in the various work streams for the transition was introduced. There was this notion of are we diverse enough? Can we make sure that the ICANN community is not dominated -- I apologize for generalizing by a white North American males, probably mostly heterosexual. Alan, didn't want to single you out. But that we can make sure that it is inclusive from a linguistic, regional, geographic, cultural background perspective and how do we do that? How do we make sure that it's not hijacked by people who seem to have time and money and because it's all on a voluntary basis. And we try, of course, to create a level playing field by enabling people, for example, to being travel to our meetings by doing some of the financing. To what extent can we keep doing that? And when do we know it's representative? And how does that work out?

 

 

      So I think that's an important point to pick up. On the issue of accountability, is that good to group them together. I can have a system of reviews wherewith each part of ICANN is reviewed one way or the other and there's feedback given to make sure all of the issues are addressed. But your point is valid. Because I'm on the board, I can be expelled, and I know I can be fired and I know when my head is on the line. But it's not that clear of other parts of the community. It will be wonderful to get the replies.

 

 

      Alan, I know you represent 4 billion people, but I would like to go -- Farzaneh, would you like to come in at this point.

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: Yeah, none of our intervention on this side we said we would present. We are advancing the noncommercial users' interest. At ICANN. So this -- this has to be very clear.

 

 

      With regards to --

 

 

           >> You call yourself a constituency. It's the language of --

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: You can be a member of NCUC and NCSG and there you can vote to elect the chair and we also have bylaws that we can remove the chair and you can appeal their decisions so these are all accountable mechanisms. But when we say constituency, it means that we are talking so that we have members and we have the officers, but it does not mean that we would present all the noncommercial users.

 

 

      However, what we do is we do a lot of outreach. We go around and talk about NCUC. We tell people about what we do. We also consistent of academics and domain names registrants. So they are our members. We know the problems. We always try to be up-to-date with their problems of the domain name registrants. Noncommercial domain name registrants. And so -- to follow on the accountability. As I said, we have bylaws, we have elections, and we are accountable to our members.

 

 

      I are -- we are transparent. Our mailing list is mailed out to everyone, unlike some others. And we try to always have the communication with our members. Also, we have a public interface that people can't find out about us. Of course, we cannot reach out to everyone in the world as I said. But we try hard and we also have these accountability mechanisms.

 

 

      We also worked on the accountability mechanisms last year with Steve Delvianco and a group of us. We recommended how these groups can enhance their accountability for like term limits, have elections, have removal, have appeal for decisions. So it is there. It's not perfect. But it's there.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Great, thank you very much. Some of you decided Alan wanted to come in on these points. I will come to you, on representation and accountability? Alan, let's go to you, then.

 

 

     >> Alan Greenburg: I thought I had another five minutes. I think all of Jan's two questions and the intervention afterwards are closely linked. We do use the word represent. We represent the interest of users. We clearly learned a long time ago we're not really going to communicate with all 4 billion of them every day and read their responses. But we do try to represent their interests, their needs. And we do it with representatives around the world.

 

 

      We are by -- our formal mandated structure, we have people from all over the place. Now, as Satish mentioned, it doesn't mean it's easy to get people from small places and it doesn't mean everyone's ideas are uniform, but, you know, we have the mechanism to try to do it.

 

 

      It also covers things like we have large culture communities around the world where the culture is such they're not likely to be very vocal and rather an in your face direct organization like ICANN. So we try to find people within those groups who are more vocal and louder. But we are dealing with a rather arcane issue or issues people aren't going to be interested in. So by definition, there are only going to be a small number of people who are ever going to participate. We try to find those people and make sure they're connected to their world back home.

 

 

      That's about as good as we can do. We have mechanisms to kick people out, if you don't like me as chair, fine, I'll leave. Whether kicking or struggling we do have processes for that. The real challenge, however, in this whole game is because of the limited scope, we have very few people who are interested. Then we have the challenge of finding people who have the time to put into this. We have many players certainly in the ICANN world who are paid to do this. Their companies have an interest. And they put hours into it because that is their job. Finding volunteers to do it on behalf of the users or the world or civil society of the world do it on a volunteer basis on their own time, and, yes, travel may be funded but your time is not. That's a real difficult challenge. And I think the largest threat to multistakeholderism is it's not equal. There are some bodies that are funded and enabled to participate and advocate for what's important to them and it's much harder for other parts tonight in the ICANN environment or any multi-stakeholder to do it. That's a real challenge.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Neils, do you want to come in at this point?

 

 

     >> Niels ten Oever: I agree we have a legitimacy and representation problem. At the same time, I would also say that there are not many models that are doing it better. So what we are trying to do is do it as good as possible but also recognizing that it's not perfect. And so if we look at -- civil society is also trying to learn. So in the '90s, the first time civil society is when civil society was still often outside and the most used tactic was agenda setting and framing. Setting topics, it would be happy if newspapers or people inside would even talk about them.

 

 

      But with the increase of open UN summits, increased the capacity for NGOs and increasing the funding for civil society, we're at the table. Hell, we're at a whole panel of us that we get to speak to you. So that's.

 

 

>> A huge change. It means that civil society is also adapting and finding new ways in which they can bring about their points. Civil society also needs to be better into translating complex topics. But I said earlier, the topics are not necessarily clear. So we're translating between technology and legal concepts, such as human rights. Which are very hard to translate, not only the great technological developments, it doesn't go that fast. But then there's also the economic reality we're trying to understand as well as the process. So we're playing three dimensional chest with limited funding and with a relatively small group of people because of the reasons outlined by Alan. There were challenges, but I think it's better than it was before.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Neils. Joan, you want to come in with your point on engagement at this point as well because it's linked to representation at a certain extent. Otherwise I've had Satish ask me for the floor.

 

 

     >> Joan Kerr: It gets us accountable and makes us on our toes. And Raul wanted to respond to that particular question. So if you don't mind, Raul, you go ahead and I'll talk about engagement,

 

 

     >> Raul: We're not speaking for the organizations in the world because a tiny fracture of them know about us. Joining is free. Jonah will talk about the engagement. But what Farzaneh also said, we do outreach and try to get people interested. Really complex environment. What ICANN is. But we are, I think, gaining traction slowly but surely and the people are realizing how important that really is. And I think, well, if you consider yourself at all familiar with ICANN's policies and you also happen to be a member of a not for profit organization, a nongovernmental organization, you should apply that organization to join the NCSG and IPOC to make an impact with the DNS policies that ICANN is facilitating and not for profits and NGOs really need your contribution. So, we welcome you with open arms.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Joan?

 

 

     >> Joan Kerr: I second that for sure. Not for profits are always -- they don't have a lot of time. So, you know, our job is to try to make -- that's what we're discussing anyway in terms of our engagement is how do we get them involved by giving them the information they need in order to join us. So, some of the ways that we've done that, and we found quite successful is first of all, for our executive committee. What we did is we went out and to make it as diverse as possible so that there's representation from every continent. And so that's a big thing. So, we have, you know, just on the EC alone, executive committee, we have representation. And the idea behind that is for them to develop a relationship with not for profits in their area. So, it's not just that they're becoming members -- members are becoming a part of IMPOC but they're developing relationships within their area. So that's one thing we found successful.

 

 

      One of the things we did to engage our members is we're looking for a new look and branding for IMPOC. And we sent out a logo and had them help us decide which one. It was fun because we didn't expect so many people to respond and they did. They actually chose the ones that we chose. We thought, oh, we must be in sync. So that was kind of neat.

 

 

      There's also a tool kit that we've developed in corporation with the onboarding program. That will be available on our website shortly for people who want to become members, they can go to it, download it, and become -- one is NPOC. One is ICANN, how do they become involved. How do they access being a mentor, things like that. How do they get involved in the PDP -- policy development process. So, these are things that we want the members to be involved in.

 

 

      The other thing we're doing on our website is actually to focus on our members and have profiles for them. Find out what are their missions and how can they help us with any policy development that they're working on for their mission. And any other issues that they see from a grassroots level to identify them so that we can bring it to the GNSO and the NCSG and work with. So those are the things we're working on right now.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Great. Thank you. Before I go back -- I know that Satish and Sarah and Ayden have asked for the floor, I want to see if I can get a couple more questions from the audience. A gentleman over there, Chris over there.

 

 

     >> Any question is very short, in regions like where there are massive human rights violations almost by their own governments, what are the tips -- practical tips that you're taking to make sure that there is participation from civil society. Is there any kind of activity or any reach out to civil society? Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: That's a great question. On behalf of ICANN, I’m going to ask our Vice President for the region. I think you cover them as well, right? To come in on that and you guys can do it for your constituency. Not yet. A question up here? Yes, please, sir.

 

 

     >> Thank you very much. I think for ICANN community, I think it's my first in here. I'm from Bangladesh and I'm a blind person here representing several societies. I'm very much curious about the involvement of people with disabilities in the ICANN process. How you're considering them and what my experience is in Niger. It's not really -- there's no participation by people with disabilities. As we know, there's 1 million people with disabilities and their disability is very much important. And it is a high priority and without that, we cannot achieve this by 2030. How we can engage in that to ensure that for persons of disability.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much, a very important question on making sure we include people with disabilities. The grey-haired gentleman? Chris?

 

 

     >> Thank you so much. Thank you. Spain, ICANN board. I heard you talking about diversity and my original reason for saying I'd like to ask a question is to say how do you know when you've succeeded with diversity. How do you know when you're diverse enough or there's no such thing? And that segued to a supplementary or secondary question, for all three of the organizations, which is how do you know if you've been successful. On the basis that you have defined list of members in the sense that you have the for-profit organizations and they are defined, then we can set membership targets and stuff like that. That's not for you to answer, just suggesting.

 

 

      Curious to know how you're on the path of success of representing the user's interest and so on, thanks?

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Those are three really important questions that we can get the rest of the panel to -- to come to. Can I just first get to Jean Jaques to talk about inclusion and maybe say a little bit about the fellowship program next generation and see how we can include people in that way?

 

 

     >> Jean-Jacques Sahel: I think it deserves a two-hour session later on. Thank you for the question, a very important question. We have world-wide efforts to outreach to civil society. So we have, in fact, colleagues of mine, one each per region of the world has dedicated to outreach as a society and we coordinate in a global group on that. We work closely with the various constituencies that are represented in the table here. Certainly, in the Middle East, we have activities. My colleague on the second one there based out of Cairo. Coordinating this. And as regular events such as I think recently there's one in Tunisia, the region is Middle East and north Africa in this particular case. We had events with universities in Tunisia. We've -- we've -- mainly in the Middle East, it's a lot academic driven, I think. Although we have contacts, also, with NGOs. But I think we're -- it's important to say that maybe a call for action or ideas. I'd love to hear any good ideas we might have for engagement and for any other reasons. Please liase with me and the colleagues and the constituents represented here on the ICANN groups on the podium. Thank you very much.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. I'm going to go back to the order I agreed to beforehand. Satish, I'm going to start with you and then go to Alan.

 

 

     >> Satish Babu: Thank you. My response on the question of mandate, self-mandate, is that self-mandate perhaps not the best or ideal, but it's not diverse either. And when you couple a self-mandate with safeguards, such as encouraging diversity, reducing barriers to entry, I think it's a fair compromise. Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you.

 

 

     >> Ayden Ferdeline: For the record, Ayden Ferdeline. I want to talk about representation and accountability but also want to talk about the question of diversity that was raised. So, Alan said before, I'm adding my own interpretation to the comments now, can we get to the point before -- what the multi-stakeholder model has done because of how it's structured. Civil society constituents are here as pro bono consultants. Has it made a coalition of private sector interest groups to either capture or manage the DNS -- the domain name system, depending on your interpretation with minimum input from individual end users and limited although growing import from governments. I think there's no whey to deny that.

 

 

      I can certainly offer a number of ways for the end user community to engage and participate in the decision-making processes and end users can participate in meetings remotely. I can provide significant travel support to allow people to participate in meetings face-to-face. However, the extent to which ICANN organization and the extent to which the ICANN board pays attention to that user participation is less clear to me. We certainly had victories ourselves, but I can point to issues like purposing data protection where for 20 years, those concerns have been brushed under the carpet, ignored for a number of reasons.

 

 

      So, throughout ICANN history, end users have had the ability to submit formal comments on general and specific issues, how much influence do we have? It's different to measure that. But I think -- it's a valid question. The other thing I would note is also there's a perception, whether it's real or a perception -- or just my perception, I'm not sure, of leadership that the same people rotate for different roles throughout the community. That is not to say that their contributions are not great. They are excellent. They are -- they are genuinely devoting their time to issues that they believe in and making very valid contributions. However, there are certainly -- not a whole lot of new voices coming in to the process. It's difficult to address that. ICANN's charter is obscure, complicated, and not many people finding how they can participate. And this complexity is a problem. Because it serves as a stumbling block to participation.

 

 

      On the question of diversity and how you measure it, that's also very interesting. In the ICANN community, we use diversity as a proxy. I don't think this is the best approach. There's been narrow efforts to bring gender balance though the community as well. But there are many other ways of measuring diversity, whatever that is, along cultural, economic, linguistic, ideological, literacy, there's so many different ways in measuring diversity. But I feel like within the disabilities as well as was mentioned before. I feel like that might be an area that there's deflection to how diversity should be raising consciousness at the moment. Then I'd also end by saying is it necessarily problematic if we do not have broader participation. I'm not sure the answer is it is problematic. I think we need to have more voices, I think it's important, but I don't know if it's necessarily critical. I say that because the domain system is complex.

 

 

It is obscure. The world we live in is complex and obscure. In my house, if I turn on the kitchen faucet and water comes out, I want to know that it's clean, drinkable water that I can use. I don't want to follow the activities of the water to make sure they're not contaminating the water this month. I just want to be able to be confident that things work. Maybe that's happening at the moment. Maybe the domain naming system is just words. If there's an narrow area. Maybe if there's not product participation, does that matter? Is it a clue for -- I don't necessarily have a strong position on that. Thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Okay, thank you, you've been waiting patiently. We're going the last 15 minutes of the session. I'd like to ask all of our panelists for concrete things to improve matters because it's very good to criticize, to reflect, but also take concrete steps forward, same thing for the audience. If you have concrete ideas. And the other thing I hope we have time for if everybody can do it quickly is to see if this isn't somehow scalable. Are there lessons to make the IGF more inclusive, accountable, representative, or is it exploitable to something else, could we solve climate change by having a multi-stakeholder model, could we solve poverty, bring world peace? While we're at it, see if we can do things differently and learn from that. Or is it working in ICANN only because it's a narrow scope, it's clear what we're doing and everyone who's involved knows exactly what the job is? So, that's the kind of the homework for the last 15 minutes. But, Sarah, first, you get the floor.

 

 

     >> Sarah Kiden: Just in a few seconds, I wanted to add that we have in terms of engagement and outreach, we have structures, and these are professional bodies, organizations, internet society chapters who are contacting the countries. You can research as an individual. We have a few individual members as well. So, in terms of applied structures, we have about 224 applied structures in 100 countries. By that process that we would love to have at least one applied structure in every country, if possible.

 

 

      In terms of diversity, we try, we are very far from of course achieving what we'd love to be. But whenever we can, if we can have gender diversity, general diversity, we try to do better, so thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Great, thank you very much. First, I like to go back to the audience to see if there are any before we start, a wrapup round, if anyone has a burning question or comment or even a suggestion on what different parts of ICANN can and should be doing to be more -- yes, over here, please.

 

 

     >> Hi, Henry. I was wondering a question to all of the panelists, what sort of diversity do you think is most important in the ICANN system.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: How much time do you have? I was the board liaison on the diversity working group until a couple of months ago. And we spent hours and hours and hours discussing precisely this question. And it's very hard to rank them. Geographic diversity, linguistic, regional, cultural, religious. There are discussions about sexual orientation. What you want to bring in to all of this. And some of these things are you can't measure them, sexual orientation is not the kind of thing to be putting on a box, especially if you're on the country where you could be killed for certain answers. Gender is generally quite easy to measure, but etc.

 

 

This is an interesting one. Does anyone on the panel have a stab at it, Farzaneh?

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: I'll be very short. We need diversity and domain name policy. What do we need to change to make domain names more accessible or, you know, all of these various groups? We really need to understand what domain name registrants are facing. The first diversity is the acknowledge and needs of the registrants. That could include everything that Lousewies has said.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you. Anyone else from the audience wants to come in before I go to give the panel the last word on all of the issues that were raised and kind of the concrete suggestions forward. Can we start at the end? Can I start with you for concrete suggestions on improvements and ideas on scalability and then I'll move everybody along? Then I'll fill up the last ten minutes. If everybody would be pretty concise, it would be great, thank you.

 

 

     >> Sure. One of these that I found out is ICANN and how to become involved. So the links communicating with your members and lots of outreach events attending outside events such as this will be a great way to become involved and addressing those issues. And hearing the people's voice. Thanks.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Raul? You fully agree. Tatiana?

 

 

     >> Tatiana Tropina: We didn't measure properly the measurement for success. I think that's the question that leads us to the improvements answer. Because I think there are basically two parts of all of this work. There are internal processes, you know, how we recruit members, how we educate them, how we ensure that we change regional leadership in terms of diversity and even change it, you know, every year or every two years, bringing new people, new blood, educated people who can deal with the issues. That's why we learn, right? That's why we have some marks to measure our success. For example, how many women we have in leadership. How many newcomers we have involved in the working groups, and, yes, yes, we do fail sometimes. Yes, we have -- we face a difficulties here in this process. And that's where we can identify and I can certainly say that, yes, we need members who cannot only be members formally. But also participate to advance our voices and our interests and we're in a constant hunt for these members.

 

 

      We are constantly trying to educate people, provide them with webinars, with policy development training, mentorship, whatever, not always work. So here we might find some way to improve. The second measurement for success is our goals, you know? They can be small goals and they can be big goals. We can want by law, you know, on human rights and in the end, we get something completely different. But we're happy because it's a consensus by law. So every goal will include not only our interests, but also the interest in advance is advanced in kind of consensus-building processes with other constituents with other groups and, of course, at the end, it might be -- it will be a different product but different with you, different to know that we participated and we advanced our interests. We failed, it's also going to happen.

 

 

      And so, I believe that this improvement would be connected to the first one. We need to -- again, it's what John said or Farzaneh said, we need to bring opinions and expertise and at the same time, we need to explain people we're not saving the internet. This is very thankful job sometimes all of the policy processes but it's very rewarding at the same time. We need to get people to understand this -- both sides of this.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Great, thank you, Farzaneh.

 

 

     >> Farzaneh Badii: So, I just -- I think we are quite successful in coming up with policy or accommodations at ICANN and exerting our views and working with other groups to get to a consensus policy document. The problem I see sometimes is the implementation, which I'm not going to go into that. But the implementation sometimes gets out of hand or it does not get implemented. And this is where the frustrating part of it is.

 

 

But the beautiful part of it is getting involved with the process and trying to resolve problems. And as I said, one of the best features of ICANN is that not only you can join groups to advance the interests of the noncommercial users about abissue, but you can also bring the issue that you see about domain names that you're facing to ICANN and see what you can do to resolve that issue in -- and that's about it. I also wanted to say something about using these multi-stakeholder model in other governance.

 

 

I'm sure it has been used in, for example, in environmental groups and advocacy. They used them all, -- they used the multi-stakeholder model. I'm not sure we can extend this model for the greater good like solving -- which I really admire the positivity and inspiration. But I think -- I think ICANN is quite special and a very -- and as you said, has a very narrow mandate. For bigger problems, I'm not sure if the multi-stakeholder problem is appropriate. We have markets governance, we have export governance, we have hierarchical governance. Its's not like that it's everywhere there's multi-stakeholder governance, thanks.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you, Ayden.

 

 

     >> Ayden Ferdeline: Thanks, Ayden Fedder line for Ferdeline for the record. I'll start with this and move to something simplistic. If we want to fix the multi-stakeholder model, remove the imbalances where some stakeholders are participating on a different one than others, if we want there to be a real level playing field, there needs to be significant financial investment. There needs to be a way to ensure that professional civil society or there is someone representing noncommercial uses and uses of the domain name system is remunerated by someone whether that's an endowment or something else that's created. That whether or not you would be the ultimate fix. But, of course, that is unlikely to be happening any time soon.

 

 

      But I think it's worth considering because where the multi-stakeholder model fails at the moment in my opinion, is that it doesn't sufficiently -- it does incorporate public involvement in its activities, but just not on the same level across stake holder groups. So that's the -- that's the high-level idea that I have as to how the model could be fixed.

 

 

      But, what I would say is why don't you come and see the multi-stakeholder model for yourself. What we really need is people with the knowledge of the issues. And skills are transparent, we don't need knowledge of the domain name system, but we need public policy in general, public interest concerns. If those are -- if you have skills in those areas, you'll see privacy and data protection, human rights, development. Access to knowledge and words. There's a home for you in ICANN in the noncommercial stakeholders group. Fight for what you believe is effective and make a change. Talk to the people who are top experts in that field. And feel rewarded for what you're doing. So, the money might not be here at the moment, but that doesn't mean there isn't a place for you at the table. So please consider finding a way to become involved in that work, thanks.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. A wonderful, welcoming invitation for everyone to join. Alan, please?

 

 

     >> Alan Greenburg: I'm not sure the endowment of the type Ayden is talking to is what we want exactly. I'd be delighted to be a recipient of it. That's not sure -- I'm not sure the few people paid in ICANN, not sure it will represent the group well. I think the context for the first part is ICANN needs to acknowledge there's a problem. We can worry about the solution next and exactly how we fix it, but I rarely heard that there is a problem. We had a CEO at one point who said we should have a multi-stakeholder ecomodel. That disappeared from the vernacular really quickly and hasn't come back yet. I think that's one of the issues that has to be addressed. I want to mention the issue on disabilities because I don't think that was really covered.

 

 

      One could first ask the question, does it matter? Can it accommodate blind people or people without hearing, does it matter? Well, I could also ask the question if we have people from India or Africa at the meeting. Surely, I -- I've done enough in those places that I can cover for you. But we don't say that.

 

 

      I don't know to what extent not accommodating people with some disabilities impacts our ability to set domain name policies or the other policies we do which is somewhat arcane and not necessarily specific. But it's a question we don't know what the impact is until we get input. ICANN looks at accessibility issues. A working group that addresses things. Using your phones in this room, I have a hearing problem. We're doing a lot recently with captioning. That doesn't help someone who's blind, but it does help someone with one of the major disabilities we deal with. English is not your major language or your prime language and most of our discussions happen in English and we found closed captioning of the translation does help people very significantly.

 

 

      We do at love of translation and interpretation; physical disabilities are certainly something we focus on. So, it's going to be a long haul, but I think it's something we can't ignore but there's not going to be magic answers to it. And, of course, we do need to make sure, we do need to find the people with the interest in our arcane subjects to make it relevant at all. So, thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much. And it's something we addressed the question of, for example, sign language, whether we should have someone signing at ICANN meetings, but we felt that the closed captioning covered it pretty much and there was no added value with the added expense. But we need to keep asking those questions to make sure that everything is accessible -- as accessible as possible for everyone regardless of any disabilities there they may have or other challenges. The language question is, of course, a complicated one. SATISH?

 

 

     >> Satish Babu: Thank you very much, Satish for the transcript. I do not consider the multi-stakeholder model to be a complete or finished kind of a model. Not as a blueprint. We're learning for the process of practicing it. I think a large number of processes have been mentioned which have taken care of the -- the internal weaknesses that have been identified. There are some external threats that cannot be tackled internally, and these are at the level of diplomacy or advocacy to nation-states which may be required to fend off those kinds of risks. Internally, we're doing reasonably well, thank you.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Thank you very much, Sarah?

 

 

     >> Sarah Kiden: So, I think we need to reach out to the people that we don't have at the table, but also who need to ensure meaningful participation for those who already managed. That's it.

 

 

     >> Lousewies van der Laan: Great, thank you very much. I want to thank the panel. We are beautifully inside time. So, we have a little bit of room for the next panel to set up. It's going to start here in seven minutes and it's on emerging identifiers. I want to thank the audience for being so engaged, for asking questions. If you have questions, please speak to the panel, they're incredibly nice people. They would love to welcome more people into the ICAN community, into the ICANN family. Same goes for anybody else here from ICANN. Thank you for taking the time. I would love to have a warm thank you. Applause for our panel.

 

 

[ Applause ]

 

 

     

 

 

(session concluded)