Tag Archives: NETmundial

Crowdsourcing Ideas as an Emerging Form of Multistakeholder Participation in Internet Governance by Roxana Radu, Nicolo Zingales & Enrico Calandro

Social Science Research Network logoAbstract: The online crowdsourcing of ideas for institutional change and legislation drafting has been widely adopted by public bodies from the local to the international level, for improving legitimacy, transparency, and accountability. In multistakeholder set-ups, such an approach seems to fulfill the promise of openness, real-time engagement and cross-fertilization of ideas.

Global Internet policymaking appears as a natural experiment for harnessing the potential of crowdsourcing, in particular, as a means to restore trust after the Snowden revelations of mass surveillance. This article investigates two key initiatives of online collective brainstorming for digital policies: ICANN’s Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation and the NETmundial process, highlighting the merits and limitations of crowdsourcing as an emerging form of multistakeholder participation.

Our findings underscore the need for leveraging sufficient community interest for substantial input; defining procedures for the collection and screening of inputs; and committing to institutionalizing rules for incorporating feedback.

This paper is available for download from:

ISOC, Civil Society Unhappy With NETmundial Initiative – “Not Consistent With Democracy”

In a statement issued last Sunday, the Internet Society (ISOC) has declared it “cannot agree to participate in or endorse the Coordination Council for the NETmundial Initiative”. The initiative was also criticised in a separate statement by the civil society group Just Net Coalition who stated “such initiatives are not consistent with democracy”. The move was described as a “a ‘UN Security Council’ for the internet – which would rule over the online world” by Kieren McCarthy.The NETmundial Initiative ISOC notes is different from the one-time NETmundial meeting that ISOC participated in in April 2014. ISOC endorsed the outcomes of that meeting. “This new and different NETmundial Initiative has been organised by the partnership of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and the World Economic Forum (WEF). This announcement has resulted in considerable discussion and concern amongst various stakeholders regarding the purpose, scope, and nature of the proposed activity or organisation.”ISOC is “concerned that the way in which the NETmundial Initiative is being formed does not appear to be consistent with the Internet Society’s longstanding principles, including:

  • Bottom-up orientation
  • Decentralised
  • Open
  • Transparent
  • Accountable
  • Multi-stakeholder.”

The Just Net Coalition is equally critical, saying the “Net Mundial Initiative opens a new chapter in global governance. This is the first time that such a corporate-led venue – although sold as multistakeholder, open, and voluntary, among others – is positioned as being ‘the’ mechanism for global governance in a specific sector. In fact it is being openly and explicitly positioned as a direct replacement for existing UN based governance models, which are routinely the subject of harsh critiques by some of the NMI proponents.””The Just Net Coalition rejects out of hand the transfer of global governance prerogatives to corporate led initiatives such as the NMI, because such initiatives are not consistent with democracy. It additionally has grave concerns at the abandonment of traditional values of democracy and social justice as some civil society organisations are apparently choosing to enthusiastically enter into this unseemly collaboration with global corporate and other elites as represented most clearly by the World Economic Forum and their annual gathering of the 1% in Davos.”For more on the criticisms see the ISOC statement here and the Just Net Coalition statement here. Kieren McCarthy has written in The Register on the ISOC statement here.

Centr News Looks At NETmundial And Study On Global Trade And Domain Registrations Link

CENTR small logoThe latest edition of Centr’s European ccTLD News was published in late April and includes updates on the NETmundial Produces Outcomes, Domain Name Demand and Global Trade, a DNSSEC introduction by video, European ccTLD Statistics, a Q&A with Pascal Vella and Clémence Davoust from AFNIC and ccTLD news highlights and statistics.

On the NETmundial conference held in Brazil, Centr’s update notes it “looked like a cross-over between an ICANN public forum and a multilateral conference, stakeholders were divided in 4 groups (civil society, Government, Technical community/academia, private sector)” with an “outcome … [that] can hardly be neglected.” And unlike WCIT 2013 where “government delegations were divided, NETmundial has shown them getting together and agreeing with the other stakeholders on a common set of principles.” It also “produced a tangible outcome.”

The process wasn’t perfect, with Centr noting “some of the process could be more transparent.”

The update concludes “NETmundial’s importance is that it brought together the different stakeholders on a level playing field more as equals than ever before. It will revive multistakeholder forums all over the world and gave the Internet Governance world a tangible outcome that can be used as guidance and as a To Do list. NETmundial easily exceeded most expectations.”

The update also includes a summary of “a recent CENTR study discovered a striking parallel between the volume of new domain registrations and global trade. Analysing 5 years of domain name data shows a fall back in the registration of new ccTLD and gTLD domain names roughly around the time Global Trade slowed down after the 2008 financial crisis. Also the subsequent recovery periods suggest a strong connection between macro-economic conditions and demand for domains with new demand occupying a possible predictive role in the relationship.”

“This observation is part of a larger CENTR research on domain name growth during the period 2008-2013 based on monthly data provided by 39 CENTR Members.”

The full Centr news is available for download from:

I* Post-NETmundial Meeting Statement

Leaders of the organizations responsible for coordination of the Internet technical infrastructure (loosely referred to as “I* leaders”) met on 25 April in São Paulo, Brazil following the NETmundial meeting. During the 1-day I* leaders meeting, the group considered a range of issues where dialogue among Internet technical organizations is useful.

In particular, the group highlighted that the NETmundial meeting has energized the multistakeholder discussions and model in a positive fashion. The leaders highlighted the importance of open, collaborative, bottom-up processes across meetings and organisations dealing with the Internet.

During the meeting, the group reflected on a number of other topics as well:

  1. Transition of NTIA‘s Stewardship of the IANA Functions (www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/iana/transition) and review of ICANN accountability processes;
  2. The announcement made by ICANN CEO of the launch of a process to review and improve ICANN‘s own oversight/accountability mechanism and how it is complementary to the IANA function’s stewardship evolution process.
  3. Upcoming Internet Governance meetings including the Internet Governance Forum (www.intgovforum.org) and the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (www.internetsociety.org/plenipotbackground)
  4. Coordination of experiences, plans and resources to further deploy DNSSEC via the ccTLD community
  5. Identification of issues and players to further enable adoption of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) toward accelerating their adoption in communities that don’t use the Latin Character sets

The group bade farewell to Raúl Echeberría, CEO of LACNIC and Leslie Daigle, Chief Internet Technology Officer of the Internet Society.

Participating Leaders

  • Adiel A. Akplogan, CEO African Network Information Center (AFRINIC)
  • Barrack Otieno, Manager, The African Top Level Domains Organization (AFTLD)
  • Paul Wilson, Director General Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
  • Don Hollander, General Manager Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD)
  • John Curran,CEO American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
  • Peter Van Roste, General Manager, Council for European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR)
  • Russ Housley, Chair Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
  • Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • Jari Arkko, Chair Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • Kathy Brown, President and CEO Internet Society (ISOC)
  • Raúl Echeberría, CEO Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC)
  • Carolina Aguerre, General Manager, Latin American and Caribbean TLD Association (LACTLD)
  • Axel Pawlik, Managing Director Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC)
  • Tim Berners-Lee, Director, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

This statement was sourced from the ICANN website at:

“Digital Divide” Domain Tax Advocated at NETmundial Opening Ceremony by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Internet Commerce Association logoThe NETmundial meeting in Sao Paulo kicked off on the morning of April 23rd and one of the speakers at its Opening Ceremony proclaimed that the Internet was a curious type of “Public Commons” in which private domain registrants should be obligated to pay a fee to fund access, capacity-building, and general bridging of the Internet gap between the developing and developed world. That proposal for turning ICANN into a species of Internet tax collector and transnational development project fund disburser came from Nnenna Nwakanma, identified on the event agenda as a member of Civil Society from Africa. Her remarks received resounding applause from attendees.

Surprisingly, similar remarks came during the same session from World Wide Web developer Tim Berners Lee, who declared that the Internet had become “an essential public utility” and that ICANN should act in the best interest of the global Internet community – a duty that he linked to spending funds devoted to “closing the digital divide”. And that divide has been growing, even in those developing nations identified with technological and economic growth – according to a new Global Information Technology Report from the World Economic Forum “many large emerging nations such as China, Brazil and India saw their rankings drop”.

For the past few weeks those who expressed concerns that US withdrawal from its IANA counterparty role might result in greater Internet censorship, or even a global Internet tax, have been met with ridicule from some quarters. Perhaps their concerns are not so ridiculous. It’s easy to imagine the rationale for a “modest” $1 annual digital development fee levied on each registered domain, and ICANN might welcome the opportunity to build ties to Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) member nations by doling out development dollars.

How much could such a $1 fee raise? According to VeriSign’s April 2014 Domain Name Industry Brief there are now 271 million registered domains, of which 123.5 million are ccTLDs operated by individual nations and likely to be excluded from such a fee as ICANN has no direct authority over them. That leaves 147.5 million domains at gTLDs and would yield $147.5 million per year.  Once the precedent is set it’s a simple step to up the levy in future years – crank it up to $5, add in the natural growth in gTLD registrations accelerated by the rollout of more than a thousand new gTLDs, and you can get close to a billion dollars annually without breaking a sweat. That’s a very tempting target, and one that might well be advocated by ICANN’s own GAC at some point – especially if it switches to a majority vote decisional system as an outcome of the Internet governance evolution initiated at NETmundial.

Even more worrisome – the precedent has already been set! Few realize it, but the 2005 .Net registry operator contract between ICANN and VeriSign contained this language levying a 75 cents per .net domain fee for several purposes, one of which was a restricted fund for helping developing nation stakeholders better participate in ICANN :

Registry-Level Transaction Fee. Commencing on 1 July 2005, Registry Operator shall pay ICANN a Registry-Level Transaction Fee in an amount equal to US$0.75 for each annual increment of an initial or renewal domain name registration and for transferring a domain name registration from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another during the calendar quarter to which the Registry-Level Transaction Fee pertains. ICANN intends to apply this fee to purposes including: (a) a special restricted fund for developing country Internet communities to enable further participation in the ICANN mission by developing country stakeholders, (b) a special restricted fund to enhance and facilitate the security and stability of the DNS, and (c) general operating funds to support ICANN’s mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the DNS.

ICANN mixed that Transaction Fee into its general revenues and never really provided an accounting of how those funds were allocated. Yet the follow-up 2011 .Net agreement contained almost identical language, with an added proviso that ICANN was not required to segregate the funds or establish separate accounts for the designated purposes:

Registry-Level Transaction Fee. Registry Operator shall pay ICANN a Registry-Level Transaction Fee in an amount equal to US$0.75 for each annual increment of an initial or renewal domain name registration and for transferring a domain name registration from one ICANN accredited registrar to another during the calendar quarter to which the Registry-Level Transaction Fee pertains. ICANN intends to apply this fee to purposes including: (a) a special restricted fund for developing country Internet communities to enable further participation in the ICANN mission by developing country stakeholders, (b) a special restricted fund to enhance and facilitate the security and stability of the DNS, and (c) general operating funds to support ICANN’s mission to ensure the stable and secure operation of the DNS; provided, that ICANN will not be required to segregate funds for any such purpose or establish separate accounts for such funds.

Notwithstanding that provision, the ICANN Board committed to an annual accounting when it approved the 2011 .Net contract:

“Whereas, the .NET agreement provides for a US$0.75 registry-level transaction fee, and ICANN has used the funds to support developing country Internet communities to participate in ICANN, enhancing security and stability of the DNS, and for general operating funds. ICANN commits to provide annual reporting on the use of these funds from .NET transaction fees.” http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-24jun11-en.htm#4.rationale

Yet, so far as we can find, ICANN has never provided such annual reports even though the Board committed to them, and the fee is still siphoned into its general funds. That lack of reporting goes to the ongoing problems of ICANN accountability and transparency.

But, getting back to our original point, two speakers at NETmundial opening session suggested that ICANN needs to allocate more funds to closing the digital divide – and ICANN, as we know, gets the vast majority of its funding through the fees paid by domain registrants to registrars and then up-streamed to registries and ICANN. The great majority of gTLD domain registrants reside in the developed world, and the proposal put forward would have them pay a fee to fund projects in the developing world. So the issue of an ICANN-administered “tax” on registrants isn’t that far-fetched after all and does not require a UN takeover to occur. This important issue bears continued close watch by ICA and others.


Other observations drawn from  observing the NETmundial meeting remotely for more than ten hours on its opening day:

  • For a meeting supposedly conceived to strengthen the private sector-led multistakeholder consensus-based policymaking model, we found it curious that 27 of the 30 speakers at the interminable Welcome Remarks session yesterday morning were from governments or UN agencies — with just 1 each from civil society, the private sector, and academia. Not surprisingly, many of those speakers from governments wanted more government involvement in Internet governance.
  • Notwithstanding the stated desire of the NTIA and ICANN to keep the discussion of the IANA transition confined largely within the ICANN and I-star technical  communities, numerous speakers – including Nellie Kroes of the EU and Brazil President Rousseff – called for all global stakeholders to have input. How that will be handled and how it impacts the transition plan’s development remains to be seen. Further, many speakers said that the September 2015 termination of the current IANA contract should be a decisional deadline, and not the mere goal stressed by NTIA and ICANN in recent Congressional hearings.
  • Despite promises that NSA surveillance would not be discussed, it was raised numerous times in the context of “privacy” and “human rights”. One shot of the meeting room showed numerous attendees holding aloft pictures of Edward Snowden.
  • Likewise, notwithstanding assurances that NETmundial would just produce general principles and a roadmap for the evolution for Internet Governance, numerous speakers have called for at least producing a list of deliverables and a schedule for achieving them.
  • It seems almost certain that the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process will be strengthened as a result of NETmundial, with that meeting being allocated some future decisional powers. This may be a good thing if it staves off greater UN involvement – and likewise, up to a point, for some of the calls for strengthening the role of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) within ICANN.
  • Net neutrality emerged as a somewhat unexpected issue, probably to the chagrin of the telecommunications firms in attendance.

Finally, the first day’s Fence Straddler Award goes to President Rousseff for her declaration that there was “no opposition” between the government-dominated multilateral model and the private-sector led multistakeholder model. And the MIA Award goes to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, who was the only participant in the Opening Ceremony who did not say a word.

As the afternoon session went on, the discussion finally opened up to attendees, who provided their own multiple suggestions for how the conference output document should be amended. That process will continue into NETmundial’s second and final day. Stay tuned.

This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:

ICANN Cross Community Working Group on Internet Governance’s Submission to NETMundial

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): To obtain feedback from the wider ICANN Community on the Contribution to NETMundial from the ICANN Cross Community Working Group on Internet Governance

Current Status: Document posted for public comment

Next Steps: Upon conclusion of the public comment period, the CCWG on IG will take into consideration the feedback provided and use it to inform its actions moving forward.

Detailed Information

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

On March 9th, 2014, the CCWG produced and submitted a document to the NETmundial meeting.

Community members discussed the CCWG submission with the community on March 24th, 2014 during a special public session at the ICANN Public Meeting in Singapore.

In addition to the community comments collected at the Singapore meeting, CCWG members have requested that the community be given a further opportunity to comment on the submission and react to developments at the NETmundial meeting.

Staff has created a special 21-day comment and 21-day reply comment period public comment forum for the purpose of collecting additional community feedback.

Comments submitted before the NETmundial meeting will be shared with the CCWG leadership to assist in preparation for the NETmundial meeting. Any comment or subsequent reply comments submitted will also be shared with the CCWG leadership. The forum will also act as a repository for community comments during and after the NETmundial meeting as a potential resource for the CCWG to support any follow-up work that may be prompted by the NETmundial meeting.

Section II: Background: 

About NETmundial:
In the same year that World Wide Web celebrates 25 years, Brazil hosts NETmundial – Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance. The meeting is organized in a partnership between the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) and /1Net, a forum that gathers international entities of the various stakeholders involved with Internet governance.

This meeting will focus on the elaboration of principles of Internet governance and the proposal for a roadmap for future development of this ecosystem. The goal is to consolidate proposals based on these two topics. NETmundial represents the beginning of a process for the construction of such policies in the global context, following a model of participatory plurality.

Read more here: www.netmundial.org

About the CCWG on IG:
The CCWG is an ad-hoc group comprised of members of ICANN‘s Supporting Organizations (Address Supporting Organization – ASO; Country Code Domain Name Supporting Organization – ccNSO; Generic Names Supporting Organization – GNSO) and Advisory Committees (At-Large Advisory Committee – ALAC; Governmental Advisory Committee – GAC; and Security and Stability Advisory Committee – SSAC) as well as GNSO Stakeholder Groups and constituencies. This bottom-up process involved up to five people from each of these groups that comprise ICANN‘s volunteer community. The concepts expressed in this paper resulted from discussion on the CCWG’s mailing list, input provided through the CCWG Wiki space,1 and weekly conference calls from January – March 2014.

Due to time pressures, the proposals expressed in this contribution have not yet been reviewed by the respective SOs, ACs and SGs of ICANN. They are therefore the opinions solely of the authors. Further communication will advise the NETMundial Organizing Committee if such ratification occurs before the meeting in Brazil.

As the CCWG is commenting on ICANN, and on ICANN‘s role within the larger Internet Governance Ecosystem in preparation for a contribution to the NETMundial Conference, these comments should be viewed as preliminary and focused on the entities within the IG Ecosystem that we have been able to consider in the short timeframe for preparing this submission. It is possible that further collaboration may lead to changes and enhancements to the CCWG views.

Read more about the CCWG on IG here: blog.icann.org/2014/02/an-update-on-the-cross-community-working-group-on-internet-governance/

Section III: Document and Resource Links: 

View the CCWG contribution [PDF, 145 KB] for NetMundial.

Comment / Reply Periods (*)

  • Comment Open Date: 8 April 2014
  • Comment Close Date:29 April 2014 – 23:59 UTC
  • Reply Open Date: 30 April 2014
  • Reply Close Date: 21 May 2014 – 23:59 UTC