ICA-Endorsed Session on ICANN Accountability Scheduled for September Third at IGF Istanbul

Philip Corwin Accountability, ICANN, IGF, Law & Policy

Although ICA is not in attendance at the Internet Governance Forum meeting currently taking place in Istanbul, Turkey an ICA-endorsed session on “Accountability in Multistakeholder Governance Regime ICANN” will be taking place on the morning of September 3rd. ICA was one of several host organizations that endorsed the proposal for this session, along with CGI.BR of Brazil, the Public Interest Registry, InternetNZ of New Zealand, and the Internet Governance Project.

The session will address the following questions:

  • To whom is ICANN accountable and what are the mechanisms for ensuring that accountability is adequate?
  • In what way do these mechanisms need strengthening or further improvements, particularly in light of NTIA’s announcement to transition out its current role?
  • How do checks and balances on power, such as structural separation of key DNS operations encourage accountability?
  • How have ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments and the Accountability and Transparency Review Team fostered (or undermined) accountability goals at ICANN?
  • What lessons were learned from the AoC and ATRT processes on achieving accountability under a multi-stakeholder governance regime?
  • What is the role of ICANN’s Ombudsman Office in achieving accountability for the institution?

Panelists at the session will include NTIA head Larry Strickling, VeriSign Vice President Pat Kane, and ICANN Ombudsman Chris LaHatte, along with others from the technical community and civil society. Robin Gross of the IPJustice organization will moderate.

Achieving enhanced accountability for ICANN Board and staff actions is an important component of protecting the rights of domain investors, especially as the U.S. contemplates relinquishing its IANA functions oversight role that put real teeth into enforcement of the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC). ICA will continue to work within the Business Constituency and with other members of the broad ICANN community as the Accountability Process moves forward in order to ensure that any transition of the IANA functions is accompanied by meaningful enhancements of available accountability measures — and perhaps by new means of redress as well.