Becky Burr (former NTIA official) and lobbyist Marilyn Cade has made a proposal to create a multilateral working group to oversee the root zone file updates.
I would characterize the Burr-Cade proposal as a “small step for mankind and a giant step for the US” to paraphrase Neil Armstrong. The main merit of the proposal is that it looks like something the USG might want to follow.
Sevaral people suggested there should be no governmental oversight at all but that does not look realistic, in the sense that there can be huge economic and political interests behind ICANN decisions. Historically, governments have always been involved in foreign economic policy decisions (WTO) and would be blamed by their people if they did not. ICANN is yet another such process.
Like it or not, there are sovereignty issues linked to ccTLDs. There is no way one could exclude governments from the decision process.
Regarding the composition of this oversight group, I would say that the European representation should be reviewed. It would not be accepted by the EU that UK, itself a member of the EU, gets a seat on its own. I would rather expect two seats for the EU, one permanent and one rotating according to the EU presidency. The third seat should be for non-EU countries.
The authors of the proposal show they have no clue regarding regional political weightings. Rather, they suggest American-friendly countries. It would be wiser to allow regional governmental councils (African Union, Organization of American States, etc) to designate their representatives.
All in all, I would personally support this proposal as a starting point for discussions. It is incidentally close to a reply to a WSIS questionnaire last year, in which I suggested that the oversight on the root should be done by a sub-committee of the GAC.
Update2: This article is also featured on CircleID.
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