For the sake of transparency, I wish to make public that I volunteer to serve at the ICANN board or at the ALAC. The main thing Internet organizations miss these days is indeed transparency. I personally do not play those silly politics of influence, blackmail and shooting in the back as I have too often seen in the I* community. I do not have a hidden agenda. I do not need a job or a green card, nor do I need to protect my employer’s assets. In short: should the Internet and the DNS collapse tomorrow, this would not affect my daily comfort or income.
Hence, serving at the ICANN board would be for me an opportunity to try to bring ICANN back to its roots: serving the whole Internet community, including those one billion end users and millions of domain name registrants that are not well represented within the ICANN processes.
Mind you, I would not have the arrogance to even think I may represent anybody but me. I am an individualist and the very idea of barking with the pack is just unbearable. I can only promise to listen to all parties and make up my mind based on my best ability to remain objective.
I do expect some people to critize the fact that I am a civil servant and that I would follow a political agenda. Quite to the contrary, being a civil servant forced me to consider objectivity and even-handedness as two fundamental values that are on top of others. Before you ask: I am not into policy making in my main day job, so it is essentially compatible with article VI, Section 4, 1 of the ICANN bylaws.
Being a volunteer does not mean I will get selected by the nominating committee, of course. Corridor talks say that the Nomcom is looking for prestigious people for the board, cumulating three PhD’s and so on. If they were to select me, you would know it is untrue. My background is technical. I know how the DNS works and I can read C code.
I will not bore you with the full text of my statement of interest. There are some excerpts on page two of this post. Again, I am not sure I will be selected. In Marrakech, the nomcom chair, George Sadowski said it is difficult to find volunteers to serve at the ICANN board. Well George, I already know of two, the other being Kieren Mc Carthy. It should not be too difficult to find the remaining ones.
My professional experience has allowed me to get a very good knowledge on how the Internet works from a technical perspective. Being for two years at the board of ISOC also gave me a first hand experience on the inner workings of a major gTLD. Additionally, my volunteer work with ISOC and its chapters, as well as the participation in various phases of WSIS/WGIG has given me the opportunity to grasp the complexity of the governance of the Internet. As mentioned above, my volunteer work on Internet matters is totally unrelated to my day job and done on my private time. As such my background should be considered “individual user” rather than “government”.
I have been active in the European ALAC for 3 years. The efforts that were deployed up to now to set up an European RALO seem to finally bring some results. However, I am convinced that we could achieve that goal by attracting a larger number of At Large Structures. I have been able to federate very different ISOC chapters in an European Chapters Council. I would expect to be able to use the same consensus building approach I used on this occasion to federate At-large structures in Europe to form and expand an European RALO.
My roots are in the end-user community, which has been under-represented in ICANN v2. If selected as a director, I will work towards a better representation of the end users within the ICANN process. The strategic plan of ICANN is ambitious, and while it does not explicitly mention a change in the governance model, it nevertheless insists on improving and deepening the participation of stakeholders, including the end users. This should include allocating sufficient funding to allow effective end-user involvement.
ICANN should also have a vision of how the Internet and the domain name system is going to evolve beyond the quick fix methods that have been used up to now. The fundamental design of the DNS system needs to be revised and ICANN should take initiatives to launch a study and an aggressive calendar for study, tests and implementation. A new system is needed to make domain name resolution trustable and quick. Political and competition issues, like root server management and competition at the GTLD registry level should be part of the design goals.
Regarding GTLDs, the role of ICANN should be limited to a technical approval of new TLDs, and it should not embark in political or market considerations.
As a member of the board of trustees of the Internet Society, I may have a conflict of interest with regard to the contract between ICANN and PIR for the .org TLD. ISOC is the sole owner of PIR. If selected by Nomcom to serve as a Director of ICANN, I commit to:
- Resign from the board of trustees of ISOC, with immediate effect
- not to seek to be re-elected at the ISOC board during my term at ICANN.
This will prevent any potential conflict of interest, with the side effect that it will also give me more time to serve ICANN.
I do believe my competitive advantage lies in the fact that, if selected by Nomcom and given the commitments I made above, I will not have any affiliation with any entity that has a business interest in the ICANN process. I will be able to judge and decide objectively, with no corporatist interests to defend.