Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Individual Statement on ICANN NCUC’s Charter Proposal
It is with great disappointment to see the ICANN Board suggesting a structure for the Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC), which is a result of top-down rather than bottom-up coordination. I am also dismayed by the fact that NCUC was the only constituency having been asked to amend its charter so as all other constituencies within ICANN did not feel threatened by the support NCUC has been receiving over the years. Why else would you ask NCUC to amend a charter that has been signed and supported by approximately 80 organizations and individual users across the five regions of the world?
The new model you have suggested is highly problematic and you know it. It is as if ICANN wishes to create within NCUC – the only non-commercial constituency within ICANN able to preserve human rights and non-commercial interests – an internal conflict, which will, subsequently, disunite its members. The strength of the NCUC is that, despite the fact that sometimes we may share different priorities and approaches, in essence, we – as one, conjoined unit, advocate and support the same philosophy: the protection of non-commercial interests on the Internet. We are the civil society in ICANN and our job is to promote the needs of individual users, as expressed by themselves and their representatives. What we all share in common in NCUC is that we want to balance the influence of commercial interests within ICANN and engage in an active dialogue with the other constituencies. We want to find the best possible solutions for the Chinese blogger who fights for his voice to be heard, the child who is daily exposed to various illegal Internet activities, the parents who are concerned about their children – we are here to talk about all those people who should be our first priority – the simple Internet user. The charter we originally proposed would ensure that all voices within the NCUC would be heard; our charter promoted transparency and dialogue; it sought to bring together than distance our philosophies – isn’t that what democracy is all about?
You have to understand that our vision for NCUC is not driven by commercial interests and monies. We have tried to come up with the most democratic solution that will represent and respect the views of all parties concerned. And, I believe we have achieved it. Look at the support that our charter has received – you cannot possibly overlook that. We are reasonable and our proposals are equally reasonable. The fact that they do not conform to other interest groups within ICANN is unfortunate but, at the same time, it is not a legitimate justification for rejecting and re-writing our proposed charter.
I strongly urge you to re-consider the benefits of NCUC’s proposal. Rejecting our proposal will result in transmogrifying a constituency, currently operating under democratic and just procedures, into a body, where lobbying will proliferate. The way you have envisioned NCUC, we will have to spend all our efforts in political manoeuvring rather than in tackling contentious and fundamental issues that are of great concern to all of us. We can really help you, if you let NCUC and its members continue to do their jobs with the same passion and principles.
Dr. Konstantinos Komaitis,
University of Strathclyde (Law School),
Member of NCUC.