NGO and Academic ICANN Study

February 7, 2001 Letter to Carl Bildt


February 7, 2001

Mr. Carl Bildt
Chair
At-Large Membership Study Committee
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Dear Mr. Bildt:

Congratulations on being selected to lead the At-Large Membership Study Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): a challenging task as ICANN's activities can have a substantial impact on the development and growth of the Internet community. The At-Large Membership Study Committee's vital function will be to review that impact in light of the public representation currently offered in ICANN and to propose new directions for 2001.

In furtherance of the Study Committee's work, we offer several suggestions for your consideration as the Committee begins its task.

When the ICANN Board created the At-Large Membership Study Committee, it anticipated that the findings and recommendations of independent study groups working outside of ICANN's formal process would substantially inform the Committee's work. The undersigned individuals and organizations constitute one such study team.

The "NGO and Academic ICANN Study," or NAIS, is an international group of scholars and representatives of the public interest community, all of whom have been involved in ICANN and Internet issues on an ongoing basis. A description of the group and a list of its participants are attached to this letter.

NAIS will undertake a comprehensive study of the recent ICANN election, the concept of the At-Large membership, and the nature of public representation for the ICANN Board of Directors as a whole.

We look forward to working with the ICANN Study Committee, and hope that the Committee will find our work useful as it considers its own recommendations.

Among other initiatives, NAIS is planning to sponsor a public forum on issues related to the study in conjunction with the upcoming Melbourne meeting. We hope to organize a number of presentations as a means of beginning an open dialogue with the ICANN community on the successes and failures of the recent election, and the options for the future. We would very much like to work with the Study Committee in planning this session to ensure that it is successful and productive.

As you know, one hallmark of any good research project is access to the best possible data. In the case of the At-Large study, much of the information about what happened, and why, resides in the expertise of the individuals who planned and implemented last year's election. But a great deal of equally important data resides in the internal records of ICANN and of its election administrator, election.com.

We hope that ICANN and its Study Committee will make all of this election data available not only to the undersigned researchers, but to other research efforts as well. The ICANN Board decided that this study process should be conducted by self-organizing groups of the ICANN community. Such studies can be valid only if there is relatively unfettered access to all relevant data. Without such access, serious research will not be possible, and the validity and legitimacy of the outside studies will be compromised. These studies will then be of less use to the Study Committee, and the whole point of the Board's decision to rely on such outside efforts will be defeated.

In other words, we suggest that a primary purpose of the Study Committee may be to facilitate the efforts by outside, self-organizing study groups such as ourselves to gain access to all relevant data. As such, the Study Committee might work to ensure the cooperation of ICANN in providing access to data, documents and key personnel to outside study groups. In addition, there is substantial work to be done to ensure that personally-identifiable information is removed from the released data, so as to preserve ICANN's commitment to protecting the privacy of voters.

We attach to this letter a list of the categories of data and documents to which we request access as an initial matter. We would be pleased to cooperate with you, and with ICANN's staff, to ensure that access granted us would cause a minimal disruption to the Study Committee's important work. To the extent possible, we additionally suggest that you consider making this data available by posting it on the Internet, or providing controlled access via the Internet to all self-organized study groups.

By providing this access, the Study Committee and ICANN can demonstrate their commitment to complete and valid outside study efforts, and encourage a better understanding of the successes, shortcomings, and unanswered questions in last year's election.

The time allotted for reviewing the election is short, and the speedy release of this data would enable the work of our study team, as well as others, to get underway. We are anxious to do so. We look forward to cooperating with you and your Committee on this important project, and wish you good luck in this important effort you have undertaken.

Sincerely,

The NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS)
(Organizational affiliations are provided below for identification purposes only)
Izumi Aizu, Principle, Asia Network Research
Jerry Berman, Executive Director, Alan Davidson, Associate Director, and Rob Courtney, Policy Analyst, Center for Democracy and Technology, USA
Adam Peake, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM), International University of Japan.
Christian Ahlert, Center for Interactive Media, University of Giessen, Germany
Scott Harshbarger, President, Don Simon, General Counsel, and Andy Draheim, Senior Policy Analyst, Common Cause, USA
Ra�l Echeberr�a, Instituto Nacional de Investigati�n Agropecuaria, Uruguay
Clement Dzidonu, President and CEO, International Institute for Information Technology (INIIT), Ghana
Stefaan Verhulst, Director, Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Oxford University, UK
Myungkoo Kang, Department of Communication, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Jeanette Hofmann, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin/NEXUS, Germany


cc: Charles Costello
Pindar Wong
Denise Michel
Vinton Cerf
Michael Roberts
Andrew McLaughlin
Louis Touton, Esq.

Enclosures
Initial List of Data & Documents



Initial List of Data & Documents




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