[CRISP-TEAM] Reasons why we should not fall much further behind.

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Wed Oct 21 15:17:21 CEST 2015

In June and July, when it became apparent that the ICG was going to miss their deadline to advance the transition proposal to NTIA in time for NTIA to bring it to conclusion by the September 30 deadline, I concluded that, due to domestic political considerations within the United States, it would be very difficult for the current transition process to complete before the current administration begins to wind down.  The new administration that takes office in 2017 will need time to settle in, and will have its own campaign promises to make good on which will occupy at least its first eighteen months.  That means that, sometime in the latter half of 2018, we’d need to begin the transition process over again, and convince two groups of people to allow it to proceed: those who’ve never heard of us before, and those who remember that we failed three years before.  In any event, the second time will be more difficult than the first, and this time has not (yet) been successful.

There are a number of factors at play here:

 - The domestic electoral politics of the Congress, whereby they need to make mundane things like this controversial in order to excite their voters and gain reelection.
 - The spending prohibition rider placed on the last budget, which precluded NTIA from acting to conclude their ICANN contract.
 - The as-yet-un-passed DOTCOM Act, which provided a mechanism by which NTIA could conclude the ICANN contract, albeit under more active oversight of Congress.
 - The fact that Congress’ attention and willingness to provides such active oversight will be significantly diminished during the electoral period next year.
 - The fact that the appointees who are necessary to take action, like Larry Strickling, are scarcer and scarcer as the current administration winds to a close.

My conclusion is that we have one last opportunity, but it requires immediate action if we’re to have any chance of success.  I believe that we need to publicly tell the ICG that our community is ready for the ICG to advance our proposal to the NTIA now, before the factors above conspire to render all of our work thus far irrelevant.  If we fail to do so, we’ll be starting over from scratch in 2018, and facing a much more difficult challenge than we had this time.  And in the intervening three or four years, the Internet governance community will be unable to demonstrate that the multistakeholder process is real and unopposed by the USG and ICANN.

If, on the other hand, the Numbers (and Protocols) proposals are advanced and implemented, we can demonstrate a success on the part of the multistakeholder community and we demonstrate that the USG and ICANN do in fact support the multistakeholder process and its outcomes.  Not only do we take responsibility for our own relationship with the IANA, we advance the cause of multistakeholder Internet governance significantly.

So, I ask that we give this one last shot, and try to get the ICG to advance our proposal before it becomes irrelevant, as it will surely do if we continue waiting for the CWG and CCWG, who have difficult problems still to resolve.


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