Remote Participation Technologies Enable a Policy Win for Nairobi

by David Olive on March 26, 2010

During the run-up to ICANN’s Nairobi meeting, some corners of the community raised concerns. Many community members could not make it to Nairobi for a variety of reasons, and some interest groups, such as the Registries, were going to be under-represented as physical participants. Some folks predicted that overall low attendance would slow progress in certain areas because policy work would not be able to advance.

What actually happened? Score a big win for the ICANN community and remote participants. Several policy issues moved forward at the meeting. For example:

  • The GNSO Council approved a charter for the Vertical Integration Working Group, which can now pursue the PDP launched in January. (As of this writing, 65 participants have signed up and are already engaged in substantive discussions.)
  • The Registration Abuse Policies (RAP) Working Group conducted a successful information session on their Initial Report. The group’s Chair led the session remotely, and the ensuing discussion blended questions and comments from both local and remote participants.
  • The ccNSO and members of the ccTLD community engaged fully in discussing the idea of an ICANN DNS-CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team). The substantive discussion considered how the existing ccNSO Incident Response Working Group would interact with (or incorporate into its mandate) the DNS-CERT initiative.
  • At-Large held 11 formal and 4 informal Working Group meetings, with solid representation from all 5 Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOs). They moved efficiently through several issues, which included submitting their list of endorsed candidates to the Affirmation of Commitments Review Team and endorsing the members of the At-Large Board Candidate Evaluation Committee.
  • Related to SSAC, the Zone File Access Ad-hoc Group used remote participation uniquely: only one member was physically present, with 4 other members co-presenting from remote locations, and the session went well.
  • The ICANN Board passed a resolution adopting new trademark-related solutions for the new gTLDs, including a Trademark Clearinghouse and a Uniform Rapid Suspension Procedure.

In fact, the whole community delivered robust engagement in all Nairobi meetings.

Thanks to a terrific effort from the Meetings Team, Nick Ashton-Hart and the Public Participation committee ahead of the meeting, Rob Hoggarth at the meeting, ICANN’s ICT staff, and many others, remote participation worked. Credit also goes to the many Chairs and meeting moderators who bent over backwards to consistently include input from members observing sessions from thousands of miles away. Kudos also to volunteers many time-zones removed from Kenya, who cared enough about ICANN policy work to turn their sleep habits upside-down in order to participate.

This kind of innovative effort demonstrates once again that ICANN’s multi-stakeholder, consensus-driven policy approach works. Remote participation technologies enable it. But it’s the heart and enthusiasm of the ICANN community that empowers it.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Palage 03.30.10 at 5:33 am


I fully agree with your comments about how Nairobi will be positively remembered for ICANN’s expanded use of remote participation. While I regret being unable to attend in person, the remote participation facilities empowered me to meaningfully participant as if I were there. Thanks as well to your policy staff that tried to coordinate the scheduling of events to maximize global participation.

Jeff Neuman 04.01.10 at 4:43 pm

I agree! While not the same as being there in person, you all did a great job with enabling remote participation and should be commended for a job done extremely well.

Thanks for your support.

Musya 04.05.10 at 8:57 am

The substantive discussion considered. Several policy issues moved forward at the meeting. The ICANN Board passed a resolution adopting new trademark-related solutions for the new gTLDs

Jim Fleming 04.09.10 at 2:25 am

Remote is not only Relative it becomes important when one considers the question: What is the Internet ?

Some groups define THE Internet in narrow terms, focused on their
TCP/IP LAN technology. They omit UNIX C and telco (BellHead) inventions such as Picture Phone, VideoTex, HDTV, cell phones, Windows, etc. TCP/IP is a very small part of the puzzle. W3, WWW & HTML muddy the waters more.

Users may view THE Internet to be a collection of “Services” without regard to the data transport used. That of course brings up an
interesting situation. What if those users are not only REMOTE
but also DISJOINT ? In other words, what if they are not on THE
Internet as defined by the ISOC ?

ICANN spends a lot of time claiming to be inclusive. At the same
time they spend a lot of time making it clear they are a major
hub of the ISOC Eco-System. It should then not be a surprise that
people are labeled “Remote”. They are outside of the ISOC club.
For many people that is desirable. They never joined that club.
They were not informed that using TCP/IP came with that benefit.
In fact, for many, using TCP/IP was a result of building the systems
from scratch to run it. The ISOC(1992) did not exist nor ICANN(1998).

One problem (circa 2010) that appears to be getting worse is that
the ISOC & ICANN Eco-System now appears to be claiming “Credit”
for [Remote] developments. That may be an attempt to convince
users that the Eco-System and multi-stakeholder model has
produced all sorts of wonderful developments. That is not the case.
In fact, in many cases, those developments occurred DESPITE the
ISOC or ICANN. Some of those developments PRE-Date ISOC &
ICANN by decades.

Going forward, the concepts of REMOTE and DISJOINT become
critical because some groups prefer NOT to have their Community
and accomplishments attached to the ISOC or ICANN. If that means
re-writing and rebuilding a new TCP/IP transport & DNS, then that
is what will be done. No expense will be spared. One of the largest
countries and populations is making that clear, very clear.

Consumers should probably be CLEARLY informed that they are
on the ISOC/ICANN Internet or something else. That will create
great opportunities around the world for those who will CONTINUE
their remote work that has been on-going for decades, and never
seen or used by ISOC or ICANN, remote or in person.

Jim Fleming 04.09.10 at 8:17 am

REMOTE is Relative – Are GOOD & EVIL Absolutes ?

One insidious game played by IANA ICANN & ISOC appears to be the
one where GOOD (looking) MeatSpace people run in a room and
yell, \”ALL Good People Join Us Over Here\”.

The implication is, IF you do not JOIN you are EVIL. Maybe you
are deaf ? Maybe you do not join cults ? Maybe you prefer not to
endorse a group you have never met and never plan to meet ?
The list goes on…

The implication continues that GOODNESS is ICANN and that is
the center of the GOOD World. That is where the money is, it must
be GOOD, right?

The implication is ALL Internet users who are mostly GOOD people
are part of ICANN and The Community. This is Membership by
FIAT. If you question or reject your membership, you are EVIL.

When one finally arrives at the MeatSpace vs. CyberSpace issues
MeatSpace is already defined (by Fiat) to be GOOD. That of course
implies REMOTE & CyberSpace are Less Good, running to EVIL.

One of the beauties of this game is the fundamental assumptions
about ISOC, ICANN, RIRs, etc. are rarely challenged. If they are
challenged, that must be an Evil Doer. The Good Housekeeping
label is an exclusive of The Community.

That of course COULD cause the most Evil people in the world to
flock to ISOC, ICANN, & RIRs to game the systems. They are
not stupid, they get to be labeled \”Leaders\” and \”Community Organizers\” and \”Do Gooders\” despite their real intentions (they
keep to themselves, along with their Non-Profit paychecks).

When the Numbers shape up, one sees a TINY Minority in the
ISOC, ICANN, & RIRs. The implication is ALL Good People are
also members. All EVIL people are not. The conclusion for a casual
observer is The Community is massive and it is Good. That is not
the case. Is it evil to construct and promote such a sham? People
never get to that question, the assumption is there can be nothing
evil in The Community centered on the ISOC, ICANN & RIRs.
The circular logic is The Community created it and the The
Community is Good People so Good People can\’t create Evil.

The Remote People, the people in CyberSpace, (the Majority)
can only stand at a great distance and marvel at the ISOC, ICANN
& RIR Island of Goodness, and try to find something good there.

Jim Fleming 04.09.10 at 8:55 am

Are Parallel Universes EVIL ?

History can show there are at least TWO parallel Universes (Planets).
ISOC, ICANN & RIRs have their planet & TCP/IP-centric history.

There is ANOTHER Parallel Universe. YOU are not alone.
YOU are the Minority.

Are Parallel Universes EVIL ?
Some might conclude that CHOICE is Good for people.

Is it EVIL to tell people they have NO Choice?… it is YOUR way or the highway ?

One of the best parts (the Good Part?) of the tight little
ISOC, ICANN & RIR Community (Eco-System) is that it is
well-documented and can be described and displayed to people.

If people decide (via their choice) to opt for the OTHER path,
is that Good ? or Evil ?

Are Parallel Universes EVIL ? [Happens all the time in CyberSpace,
get over it.]

Do people in CyberSpace care what happens in MeatSpace ?

Jim Fleming 04.09.10 at 12:19 pm

Pay No Attention to GOOD Old Uncle Sam (IANA) Behind the Curtain

The other clever game mastered by the ISOC, ICANN & RIRs is the
dance with GOOD Old Uncle Sam. It is a Waltz to behold.

Without the valuable IANA IPv4 Spectrum Management of /8s
ICANN would be just another non-profit.

History will show that “coercive regulatory ability” can be used
to strong-arm ISPs and the industry.

The implied Uncle Sam is GOOD and endorses everything done
by the ISOC, ICANN & RIRs is of course given. No one is supposed
to question that given. To question it is EVIL.

Pay No Attention to GOOD Old Uncle Sam (IANA) Behind the Curtain

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