ALAC Meets the ICANN Board

By Wendy Seltzer
Wendy Seltzer

For three years, I've been a member of ICANN's "Interim" At-Large Advisory Committee, ALAC. At this Vancouver meeting, for the first time, the ICANN Board met with us, and Bret captured it on mp3 for podcast.

ALAC criticized ICANN's proposed settlement with VeriSign, and then spoke about the problems with the current structure for at-large participation.

See, if you're an individual interested in the management of domain names and Internet infrastructure, you can't participate directly in ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Instead, you have to form an organization to apply to ALAC for recognition as an "at-large structure"; gather with other such structures to form a "regional at-large organization"; and as a RALO, elect members to the advisory committee that can make statements it's not clear anyone listens to. Although individual board members assured us that they do listen to ALAC statements, it's not a terribly attractive prospect for individuals or organizations looking to deploy scarce time and resources.

ICANN, however, has been using the ALAC to say that it offers representation to individual Internet users. If it wants to claim public support, it must offer the public a more meaningful opportunity for participation. ALAC, as currently structured, is not that public voice. As I said to the Board, I would rather see ALAC disbanded than used as this type of window-dressing. Better still would be to restructure so that the Internet-using public had a real role in ICANN process. 

By Wendy Seltzer, Law professor. Visit the blog maintained by Wendy Seltzer here.

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN


Re: ALAC Meets the ICANN Board Brandon CS Sanders  –  Dec 06, 2005 4:55 PM PST

Wendy, I'm curious what sort of restructuring you propose?  It seems to me that what you need is a concrete proposal for the restructuring that has wide buyin across the constituencies of ICANN (both officially recognized and not).  Seems like a perfect opportunity for Consensus Polling.  If you had 95% of 2000 people agreeing to a particular plan for how to restructure, would that hold much weight?  What would hold weight?