16 November, 2010

The Community Call

The meeting was so surreal, that one could almost hear the soundtrack from the Quick & the Dead playing in the background.  They had gathered to discuss ICANN Staff's utter repudiation of the community consensus achieved in the Morality and Public Order working group.  On one side were gathered representatives from the GAC, the ALAC, the NCUC, the registrars, the registries, and the Public Interest; on the other side were the ICANN corporate minions.

The tone was quickly set by ICANN Senior Vice-President Kurt Pritz who began his arguments with a dissertation on the "capacity of the board".  Dialogue quickly ensued with counterpoints being made that ICANN was avoiding responsibility instead of taking responsibility.

... and then a hush fell over the assembled multitude as out came the big guns holstered by none other than Deputy General Counsel Amy Stathos.  It was soon made clear to all that this was no longer a policy meeting designed to address community concerns; rather, it was a Staff declaration that their overriding objective was the utilization of risk mitigation strategies so as to protect the ICANN corporate interest at all costs even if that meant riding roughshod over the public interest.

As Staff stated in their Morality and Public Order Explanatory Memorandum:  "Independent dispute resolution is a cornerstone of the risk mitigation strategy. Without outside dispute resolution, ICANN would have to re-evaluate risks and program costs overall."

Neither side was prepared to back down so the game continued apace with the anticipated feigned protestations that perhaps positions had been misunderstood.  It was agreed that more statements would be issued by the parties.  While tensions were temporarily diffused by this diplomatic finesse, you can assuredly plan on witnessing a bloodbath in Cartegena as these issues come to the floor.

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