Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording of the Interviews with Michael Geist and Philip Sheppard on June 1, 2006. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. The audio is also available at: http://gnso-audio.icann.org/GNSO-Interv-Geist-Sheppard-20060601.mp3.
Michael:...statement, and I want to thank you for taking the time to have this call this morning. So hopefully you know my background, I am a law professor at the University of Ottawa, I have also been actively involved in Internet domain name related issues for some time, although I should note that those aren't the only issues I focus on. I am very involved certainly in Canada, in privacy, spam, digital copyright and the like. From a domain name Internet governance perspective, I have been a member of the CIRA (Canadian Internet Registry Authority) board for the last six years, and served on the public interest registries advisory Council for three years. That term just came to an end. And while on the PIR was chair of the policy committee.
I will be candid, I have been a critic of ICANN for the most part over the last number of years, and so didn't necessarily think that running for the board or looking to contribute on the board or something, was my bag so to speak. But over the last months it seems to me that now, if any time, is going to be the time to make that kind of contribution. My time on the other boards are coming to an end. But far more importantly, it seems to me that ICANN is truly at a crossroads here, with the events we have seen in recent months both in terms of relationships with governments and relationships with registries and relationships with all the various stake holders.
There is growing concern, as we all know, with respect to transparency related issues and certainly my goal in being on the board is to continue the work that we started to see in terms of trying to open things up, at least certainly from some members of the board, and that is something that I would want to continue to pursue. My time on the other boards, and I believe in the stuff that I have written, whether on the UDRP or on whois or on Internet governance more generally has focused on public interest perspectives. And I would come to the board as someone was really no vested interest other than trying to represent the public interest, obviously as I see it, but as best as I can. I am someone with no conflict concerns on an ongoing basis with respect to ICANN and the client I am trying to represent. So it is an attempt to try and provide voluntary time to make this work, as it seems to me that this doesn't work, and that threat hangs very real... Some of the alternatives are far more troubling for Internet users and for the entire Internet community more generally.
The statement tries to identify a number of the kinds of things that I would want to focus on, both from an accountability and transparency perspective, and in addition some of the other issues, things like addressing budget which is getting some attention, although there is a very limited time to actually... Developing the relationships that ICANN has with various stakeholder groups, and then trying to push forward and close the loop on a number of outstanding policy issues that have lingered for a very long time.
I think that there has been a push forward on some of these, and it would be good for the boards to make these a priority to see what can be done to close the loop on some of these things. And also, importantly, as I have noted in the paper, encourage greater innovation by introducing new TLDs. I did a piece on this fairly recently, arguing that part of the problem that we encounter with.xxx and the like is that ICANN is still taking the position as a market maker more than anything, at least on that particular issue, and I think that remains highly problematic. So that is a short opening statement, and I am happy to address any questions you might have.
Bruce Tonkin: OK, thank you Michael. I should have said earlier that we will be recording this call. It is a practice of the GNSO council to record each of the calls so that people that aren't directly on the council can hear what we are talking about, just letting you know that. An MP3 recording of the call will be made available after this call. OK, now I would just like to call for a queue of people that would like to ask questions, so if you would just like to state your name if you wish to ask a question, and I will note that down. So who would like to ask the first questions?
Marie: Bruce, this is Marie. I am happy to start.
Bruce: OK, Marie. Anyone else?
Marilyn: Marilyn. Please put me in the queue.
Bruce: OK, I have Marie and Marilyn. Anyone else?
Mawaki Chango: Mawaki.
Bruce: OK, Mawaki. Anyone else? Ross. Ok, go ahead Marie.
Marie: Thank you Bruce. Michael, I am from the gTLD registry constituency and we have some questions to you, which I will ask. The very first one that I would like to ask and it is related to your introduction where you mentioned that your intention is to represent public interest on the board. We would like to understand whether you agree that a director has a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the organisation, as opposed to representing the point of view of a particular constituency, and this is a yes or no answer. Assuming that you agree, we would like to know what criteria which are used to determine what is in the best interests of ICANN?
Michael: Well the answer to that question is obviously yes. I am a lawyer, and a law professor, and so the duties that a director has I think are pretty clear cut. In terms of how you best represent that: My view, and it is a view that I have taken with respect to PIR and CIRA as well is that ICANN is fundamentally about a public trust. A trust of all stake holders, whether the registries, registrars, or registrands, governments, all the various stakeholders have an interest in this. At the end of the day, at least in my vision of how this ought to operate, [the stakeholders] put a public trust in ICANN, and it ought to run in that fashion. How do you best service that public role and ensure that you meet the public trust? I think one way is that you are actively open and you consult. So that directors have to understand that they are there really in the shoes of the great many stakeholders that are out there. They are not there to represent a particular stakeholder, they are there to try and do their best to represent all. That is why consultation, transparency, and ultimately accountability become so critical.
So I come not with a particular agenda. I have views on issues and I do not make a secret of those views, and obviously I have a perspective as all would. But I think for a director to arrive at the right decision at the right time, there has to be quite a lot of work done in advance. My experience has been that you may come in with a particular perspective on an issue as everyone undoubtedly would, but as you go through a process of ensuring full consultation and talking to as many stakeholders as possible, and ensuring that the system that was really designed to do exactly that feeds its way up ultimately to the ICANN board, and then the board member pulls that together and the votes and argues that the organisation moves as the community sees fit. Now, of course, there may be information that a director is privy to that the community as a whole is not, but I would argue that in many instances that is problematic. The lack of transparency that we have seen, so that decisions might well be made in instances where they say "well, you just don't know the whole story", that is a problem. The community, to the maximum extent possible, needs to know the full story and all the various issues need to be put on the table. And in my view we have seen some decisions taken in recent months where the community as a whole has been speaking quite loudly in one direction and the ICANN board has moved in another, or at least some members have. I have a great deal of trouble with that. In many ways that is the antithesis of running a public trust on behalf of the broader public.
Bruce: Marie, do you have any other questions?
Marie: Yes, I do. But in order to be fair to others I will give my place to Marilyn and then come back when there are no others.
Bruce: Go ahead Marilyn.
Marilyn: Bruce, I need to be off the phone for about 10 minutes. I'll be right back, but I need to take a short break.
Bruce: Mawaki, you are next.
Mawaki: thanks Bruce. Thanks Michael for running for the seat. By the way, are you still serving on the CIRA board?
Michael: I am at the moment, but my term is coming to an end. It will come to an end now in September when we conclude our electoral process, and I do not intend to run again.
Mawaki: I do not think it is easy to represent the users, and maybe this question is related to the first one, but I would like to hear more about your experience in representing the users interests, and how that can benefit ICANN if you are elected.
Michael: well sure, thanks for the question. Representing users is, as we know, difficult. There are lots and lots of different users out there, but as an active participant in various Internet chat lists, as a person who is out there are either through a daily Internet Law News service or a newspaper columns that appear in our media around the world, I get a fair amount of feedback and dialogue with really people all over the place now. As part of that you do get a feel for...and sometimes more than a feel, sometimes it is quite blunt, about what people's perspectives are on some of these issues.
And let's face it, on many of these issues there are a lot of people that don't have a view. The community who are interested in and concerned with these issues still remains very very small in terms of overall Internet users, whatever metric you might want to use. Certainly one of the issues that I have focused on a lot, particularly at the CIRA level within Canada, is to try and get more people engaged. And so it is obvious why someone who, whether from a corporate perspective other otherwise, has a direct financial stake in the outcome of one of these issues, would get actively involved. It is sometimes less obvious why someone who is simply an Internet user who has a domain name or otherwise would get actively involved, and I think that one of the things I have tried to do is work towards greater public participation by ensuring that people understand that some of the implications of the decisions that are made here to have a direct impact on individuals around the world.
One of the ways that I think you ultimately best represent the user inside of the equation is to come to the table without vested interests behind you, and I say that not in a pejorative way, everyone has to make a living and everyone is going to represent particular things, but if you are putting in your time because you think the enterprise is important and worth making that commitment, and not doing so to represent a particular perspective that may put you in a conflict position, I think that you are in a far better position to say "well, I'm going to come at this with a sense of clean hands, engage with the full range of perspectives". And ultimately do what you think is best. And so I have been fortunate, coming from an academic environment, that I have time or I have been willing to make the time. That works well within an academic position, to be able to commit that time without necessarily having to answer to a particular constituency or particular corporate interest or otherwise. And I think that is helped in ensuring ultimately that my views are *my * views, and they represent as best as I can as many people as I can talk to.
Mawaki: thanks. Maybe a second question for the time being. How do you see the equilibrium between ICANN's technical function and policy-making decisions? I don't know if my question is clear. We all know that normally ICANN is supposed to be implementing a technical function, but still we make decisions that have policy or even global policy impact. So what do you think about that?
Michael: well I think it is a good point. Initially the argument was that this was a very limited technical role, I think it has become readily apparent to all, and it should have been from the very outset, that many of the so-called technical choices are imbued with policy choices as well. And so the easy separation between the technical and the policy is a very difficult separation to make. Technical choices do have policy implications. I am of the view that ICANN will work best when it focuses chiefly on the technical side of it, understanding that there are going to be policy implications from those choices and so the policy development process, the consultation, the transparency that occurs as part of that must be as robust and fulsome as possible. So it is not possible in my view to simply fluff off policy choices that are made by saying "well, this is just a technical issue". It has to be acknowledged that there is a policy elements to much of what occurs, and we have to ensure that when those elements are there it is baked into the process as well.
Mawaki: OK, thanks.
Bruce: OK, go ahead Marilyn, and then Ross.
Marilyn: thank you. Good morning Michael. Thank you for the opportunity to chat with you again. I would like to ask a couple of questions then and my colleague, Alistair Dixon, I think he is in the queue, will have other questions as well. I am a representative from the business user constituency. I would like to ask you a question about the role of the board of versus the supporting organisations, and the community. In some ways I think you have already made a bit of a comment on that, but I would like to hear a bit more elaboration on the difference between the role of the board and the role of the supporting organisations and the community, both in making policy and in terms of overall accountability.
Michael: I think ICANN is fortunate to have had the ability, and had the level of interest to have the establishment of these very robust supporting organisations that are in a position, as we are having right now, to put in the time and to develop various positions. And frankly, and this is sort of a dream in a ccTLD context within CIRA, where we would simply love to have that kind of active involvement. But it is difficult to generate that kind of interest. I think obviously the supporting organisations play an absolutely essential role, and given that importance, when you have board decisions that are made that seemed to run counter to what so many of the various supporting organisations are saying, I think that calls into question the legitimacy of the decision itself. Because, although the supporting organisations don't have an exclusivity on representing the views of various stakeholders, They are clearly very adept at doing so. Given the role that they play, almost as an intermediary function between many of the stakeholders that allows various views to get synthesised together, it seems to me that the board must surely provide great weight to the views that come out of those various supporting organisations, lest it be seen as running somehow independently from the community itself. And I don't see how you run an organisation on a public trust model if you are somehow separate and apart from the community as a whole. It can't be that the people around a relatively small table can be of the view that they know best, and better than the broader community that has put in significant amounts of time to consider policy choices and to feed their views up to the board for consideration.
Marilyn: thank you.
Ross Rader: I have like 15 questions written down, so I am going to have to just pick one or two I guess. I guess the bit that I would be interested in hearing the most about would be: You outlined a few areas that you are a specifically interested in, around new TLDs, more transparency, closing of some existing policy initiatives, things like that. I would like to hear more about how you would propose going about engaging in, and actually achieving some of those goals.
Michael: That is a good question. I would say that on certain of these issues they are absolutely essential I think to the future viability of the organisation. So if we're talking about transparency related issues and accountability issues, I think they have been put on the table by any number of parties, and I think there is then a growing recognition from within the board itself, and from some members of the board that this has become a priority. So I think the ability for ICANN to maintain its position without this ongoing battle, of people questioning its very legitimacy, that issue simply has to be addressed. I think without doing that then it even calls into question the ability to deal with some of the remaining questions. If we've got this lingering issue sitting on the table, yet we've got a board and an organisation that doesn't have the confidence of the community as a whole then I would make the argument that the decisions that emanate from the board, even on these policy issues, also may not have the confidence of the community as a whole.
Assuming that we can restore some of that community confidence, and we are starting to look at some of the various policy issues... in certain instances it means just taking any kind of steps forward on UDRP for example. The notion of a review for UDRP has been on the table for a very long time, it hasn't gone very far. And I would actually argue that now is probably a pretty good time to do it, in part because there may be growing dissatisfaction from all stakeholders. So I was someone who was a critic for a long time I suppose, but I would think that even from a different perspective, from some of the [inaudible] that the UDRP work fairly well, might increasingly acknowledge that some of the kinds of so-called squatting that we see today, some of them based largely on click through advertising and the like, don't really lend themselves particularly well to the way that the UDRP was framed many years ago. And so therefore, I would have thought, [they] would be open to pushing forward with a model that I think in the interests of many people would be seen to try to address certain of the concerns that I think many people can agree upon and we could actually try to push forward. On something such as whois, obviously we have had some push from the GNSO with some views that have come forward after a very long, lengthy process. And my view would be that the issue, given legal obligations that we have from a privacy perspective in many jurisdictions, is very ripe to push forward on.
Ross: Thank you Michael. Second question is, you mentioned earlier that your view is that ICANNn should be operated as a public trust. Perhaps you could describe for me whether or not you think ICANN is *now * being operated as a public trust? And can you maybe expand on that a little bit.
Michael: from my perspective a public trust means that you operate obviously in the best interests of the organisation, but the best interests of the organisation must ultimately reflect a broader public interest as a whole. And when I say public, I don't mean just users of course. I mean all the stakeholders. I want to make sure that is clear. I would argue that no, and I did a recent piece on the.xxx decision, that it felt far more... that decision, to me ultimately seems like a decision that was far more about ICANN's own survival, vis-a-vis its relationship with certain parties, as opposed to necessarily representing the broader community. And so if you put a process into place and you work it through, and I think ultimately you have to follow through with the commitments that you have made to the public and the stakeholders as a whole, and then to take a decision that I really read as "this is a short term survival gain of the organisation", is in my view not operating as a public trust but rather operating in a somewhat weird organisational self-interest, and I think that is wrong.
Ross: thank you very much.
Bruce: Maureen Cubberley.
Maureen: good morning Michael, thanks for standing for election. I appreciate your interest, and I was going to ask you something that you've already answered about the.xxx issue. And Michael yes you have spoken out about ICANN in the past and in many different fora, your columns and your site. You have made suggestions about different ways that ICANN can operate. You have also taken your comments about ICANN to yet another level, and I am referring specifically to what is on record in the CIRA minutes. Some meetings at which I was an member of the board as well, and I can recall times when you were critical of ICANN to the point where you are actually voting against CIRA sending its financial support to ICANN, and also not supportive of CIRA hosting the ICANN meeting in Montreal in 2003. So I wondered with that level of lack of support for ICANN at that time, what has happened in the interim that has [led] you to be interested in ICANN, to want to be on the board, to recognise that it is worth supporting at this point?
Michael: I certainly was critical, and I have remained critical. My position at that time, and frankly a position that would remain in place, is one that... Well let me start back in 2003 and a period of time that you reference. At that point in time I did not think that ICANN was being responsive to the great many communities, and obviously wearing the CIRA has at the time I think it was being particularly unresponsive to the ccTLD community, you will recall no doubt that the kind of contract that ccTLD's were being asked to sign, sometimes not being asked so nicely...given little choice but to sign, if they were looking for redelegation, was one that I thought was enormously problematic. And I thought from the perspective of CIRA that to contribute either financial or [other] support to an organisation that I thought was fundamentally undermining the best interests of CIRA was a problem. And that is the reason certainly for the position that I took. I think that what we have seen in the last few years, certainly in the time since you have left the CIRA board, is that there is been some changes both in terms of the relationship with ccTLD 's but more fundamentally I think larger changes in terms of the broader governance framework. So with respect to ccTLDs obviously, we now have the GNSO, and we have had changes in terms of the kinds of contractual commitments of ICANN is looking for from ccTLDs. So I think there has been change there.
There has also been change, it seems to me, in terms of some members of some of the board, so at least we have on some of the more controversial decisions of the last few months, we have seen a more open and visible split such that I think even within the ICANN board itself there is a growing recognition of the need for some change and for different considerations which from my perspective is one of reason to actively join, because I think there is the prospect for change within ICANN in a way that I don't think we've seen in the past. And then, finally, something that certainly was not on the agenda back when we were debating these issues many years ago at CIRA, was that the alternative...there wasn't really an alternative. It was ICANN are nothing. And of course the emergence of the WISIS process and the Internet governance Forum and the like, and certainly the far more active involvement of various governments has I think really changed much about dynamic such that today there are alternatives, and some of those alternatives are I don't think particularly good. And so the need to reform from within, I think, is ever more urgent than perhaps it was even a number of years ago because some of the alternatives are perhaps even worse than the status quo..
Marilyn: thank you Michael could I perhaps Bruce ask a quick follow-up question on that?
Bruce: yes, go ahead.
Marilyn: I am interested in the recent action of CIRA, which was the letter that came from CIRA to ICANN and was made public just immediately before the Wellington meeting, wherein CIRA expressed its lack of faith in ICANN over its decision around the.com agreements, where it stated that it would withhold it support to ICANN. Would you tell me, as a board member of CIRA at the time that that letter was written, what your level of support for ICANN was as recently as the Wellington meeting?
Michael: myself, I thought that the CIRA letter was extremely supportive of ICANN, and supportive of the position of ICANN that is responsive to the community as a whole. And I think that's the view of the board was one that is the particular decision that precipitated that was one that had simply not represented the broader community, and it was a particularly sensitive issue with them CIRA and within the Canadian community as a whole, since we had most recently hosted an ICANN meeting in Vancouver, a meeting that I was supportive of an CIRA was a major sponsor of.
Marilyn: yes I believe CIRA was a sponsor, it was hosted however by circle ID.
Michael: yeah, yeah, in Vancouver. But an event in Canada, one where I think there were some members of the CIRA board that felt that some progress had been made in terms of the broader consultation with the community, and then felt somewhat dismayed when months later it was fairly clear that much of that discussion had fallen on deaf ears. And so the decision to write a public letter I think, the view of the board was that this was perhaps the best way to galvanise attention on this issue and ensure that the board and the broader Internet community, because I think we have a sense that there were others who share our concerns, was one that you cannot take for granted all of the stakeholders and then simply ignore the views of the stakeholders. So I think in that sense, I actually would argue that it was a very supportive letter for ICANN in terms of the support for a vision that would allow ICANN to meet its needs, meet its goals of the public trust.
Marilyn: thank you. Is that methodology that you would propose using while sitting as a member of the ICANN board if issue came up but you thought was similar to the one you address as a member of the CIRA board? Would you engage in the same kind of making the public aware through that sort of action while sitting on the ICANN board?
Michael: why are not sure what action you are referring to.
Marilyn: a public letter, making public by means of the public letter to the community a disagreement with an approach that was taken. I would be interested in whether you think this is a methodology that would be also appropriate to use if you encountered a similar situation while sitting as a member of the ICANN bought?
Michael: While I think it is essential that ICANN, as I've said, improve the level of transparency within which it operates itself. Part of that is ensuring that the views of board members are made more a well-known to the public both in terms of the reasons for decisions and the like, and it seems to me that we have started to see some of that with some brief delays, typically between when the decision is taken and when the specific statements of various board members are made available to the public, and that would certainly be an approach that I would avail myself of as well in terms of ensuring that there are public are indications, whether it by the virtual letter or a block or otherwise, at best reflects my view is and where I sat on the issue and my perspective within, of course, the limits of whatever confidentiality we set. I am one who believes that ICANN must operate in is open a manner as possible.
Marilyn: Thank you Michael.
Bruce: OK, we have Marie back in the queue. Go ahead Marie.
Marie: Thank you Bruce. I actually have two questions. The first one is a follow-up on the question that Maureen had, or maybe a clarification. That is the action that the CIRA took from March 17, 2006. It was not only an open criticism of ICANN, but also mentioned suspension of CIRA's voluntary contribution to ICANN, suspension of consideration for the accountability framework and ceasing to provide a chair for the CCNSO of the IANA working group. I understand from what you said before, and correct me if I am wrong, that you were supportive of that action and our constituency would like to understand why you think such action is a constructive way to deal with the areas of disagreement?
Michael: Well I think that the community has had a fair amount of consultation on this issue in particular, and my view was that it was speaking with near unanimity, and so when the ICANN board chose to move in another direction I think that the view of many in the community, and certainly I would include the CIRA board on this, and emphasise that this was a full board decision with the government of Canada sitting on that board with observer starters, was that some action other than saying "fine, this is the ICANN board decision and we are prepared to live with it", was called for. And so the CIRA approach era was to say that, well we can go through each of the things that CIRA decided to do. Let us be clear, voluntary contributions are just that. Many ccTLDs have taken a different approach with respect to how they fund, or whether they fund at all, ICANN activities. And so the decision that we were going to withhold involuntary contribution was one to say that... certainly there was a recognition of the importance of ICANN, but to take monies out of our own domain name registrar and put that into something that we feel was simply not representing not just our community, but the full community, was sending in many respects the wrong message. It was sending a message that there is no accountability, and my view is that you do not pay a voluntary, let us be clear, voluntary as opposed to a contractual or a legal obligation to pay, and I think the discussion would have been quite different and we had an ongoing legal obligation to pay, but you don't pay a voluntary contribution which by its very nature is one to show support for an organisation, when you feel that that organisation simply has betrayed the very principles that it purports to uphold. And so we thought in that sense, that it sent, rather it should send a very compelling message that at least at that point in time there was a deep concern. And I think that is really true for the other decisions that were reflected in the letter. There are only so many things that a ccTLD can do to ensure that the community as a whole gets a strong message that is not following the full public interest framework, the public trust framework that I think has been established for ICANN, is one that can have no consequences. And I think that was important at that point in time for CIRA and for the others that sent messages of support to take a position to say that there must be consequences and our review is the accountability and the faith that the committee put to ICANN is absolutely essential. And we wanted to send a strong message to the board of that, and clearly by virtue even of this discussion we have succeeded in doing so.
Marie:[sigh] Thank you. Let me ask the second question that relates to a matter that is mentioned in your candidate statement, but again the question for my constituency is for more detailed. Can you describe any and all involvement you had in the coalition for ICANN transparency lawsuit against ICANN? And also clarify how do you think any such involvement might impact your effectiveness as an ICANN director?
Michael: good question. My full involvement is that I was approached at the time that they were contemplating this lawsuit to provide a letter, a statement rather, a submission to the courts, that gave an independent perspective on ICANN and its functions. Not taking a specific position on the litigation itself, although I readily acknowledge that my willingness to provide that to CFIT might be seen by some as taking a position, but certainly the perspective I brought to the table was that there was a need to educate the courts, from the perspective of bringing an expert witness, so what I did was provide a statement. That has frankly been the extent of my involvement, the statement provided last year, and since I have had no further involvement in the case and don't see any reason why I would. In terms of my ability to address the issue, I did note that on the statement as my one potential conflict. I must admit I am not myself wholly convinced that it puts me in a conflict position, but it is one that I would want to take to the ICANN general counsel for his perspective, and if on the specific matter of that litigation the view was that it did put me in a conflict, then obviously that puts me in a conflict. As I say, in my view that would be the only issue, just that narrow particular litigation that I might find myself in a potential conflict. Although, as I say I would want to obtain the view of counsel given the role I just described.
Marie: thank you Michael.
Bruce: OK, Next we have Alistair.
Alistair: thanks Bruce. Good morning, Michael. I just had a question in relation to what you said in the candidate statement that one of the issues that you think it needs to be addressed is ICANN's ballooning budget. I would just like to hear your ideas on how you would go about that, and how you might go about holding the performance of the organisation to accounts as a board member.
Michael: Thanks. I will readily acknowledge that I have not spent any kind of detailed time examining the ICANN budget other than to look at the bottom line and be astonished at the remarkable growth in spending that has occurred. I guess when I look at that, that alone I think should send a red flag up to all board members to spend more time looking at the numbers and trying to better understand how the community's money is being spent. It seems to me that given the functions that were described for ICANN at the very outset, and of course that continues to fill, the notion that we need to be spending many multiples more today than was spent just a few years ago I find, I must say, deeply troubling. At a minimum, I am not sure we are getting value for our money. And so, it is an issue that I point out because it seems to me that it is essential that board member oversight includes looking at the dollars, and is not leaving staff with the perspective that there is literally a blank cheque coming from the Internet community that can be spent at will. But I will admit that having not spent the time to examine in detail where that operational spending is going, I do not have any specific views on where cuts for example are to come. Other than coming in with the perspective that we ought only to be spending what is necessary to meet the mission, and not to come in with the perspective that there is money they are, so why not spend it.
Alistair: OK, thank you. I just have a second question, if I may? I think we spoke about this when you spoke with the business constituency. The actions that in your view, ICANN could take to promote competition of registry services, and in particular to address dominance issues with certain registries. I would just like to hear your ideas around that area.
Michael: well I am one that favours the establishment, if we are talking about new TLDs, to establish frankly as many new TLDs as the market is interested in. I am of the view that the approach we have seen to date has been highly problematic, and obviously we have seen very limited roll-out, and the concerns that were raised in the very early days of addressing this issue of new TLDs, I think, from my understanding, have been by and large addressed. So the technical issues are certainly not as significant as perhaps they once were, although there are people who will argue that they were never particularly significant. Intellectual property concerns I think have been addressed fairly effectively through sunrise registration policies, but certainly provides those who are concerned with the ability to register in advance before the public as a whole. And I would reiterate, from the question that Ross raised earlier, the value of frankly re-looking at the U. DRP to address things like clip through registrations or web sites on the one hand, and in some of the free-speech issues that have been raised on the other. So I think that many of those concerns, by and large, can be addressed. And I would be of the view that one way actually to reduce cyber squatting concerns is to provide far more choices out there in the market, so that the individual value of any particular domain name might be seen to decrease, yet the vibrancy of that market as a whole, the kind of speech and the kind of commercialisation that we see becomes far more than what we are faced with today, which is limited choice and so a limited amount of innovation in this area as a whole.
Alistair: OK, thank you.
Bruce: Marie, you are back in the queue.
Marilyn: I think I was in the queue, it is Marilyn.
Marilyn: Michael I would like to thank you again for sharing your experience, and in particular being so willing to elaborate on your thinking about dealing with a very tough subject of when a board member has a basis for disagreement, and how to put that disagreement forward. I find your discussion about the role of ICANN as a public trust very helpful and welcome, and my question is probably perhaps a follow-up to the question that Alistair just asked. I'm not quite sure if I understood, certainly appreciate your view about the introduction of new gTLDs, and I might ask you a question directly related to that. I have a more specific question. Do you think that more needs to be done in the area of policy steps in dealing with a dominant situation in registry infrastructure and registry services than just the introduction of new gTLDs?
Michael: well, I think am and ICANN perspective the question is layered with a great deal of complexity, particularly from a legal perspective. So I have even some sympathy for ICANN in terms of how it might address some of the dominance concerns that are out there. I would reiterate that my view is that the best way to deal with dominance concerns is to try to rely ever more on the market as a whole. I think that the best way to address some of those concerns is in fact to provide more choice and more competition, and openness up to more possibilities and that will have the long-term effect of ultimately reducing some of the powers, or some of the market shares in the dominance concerns that might be out there. We have seen it certainly in a country context, where within Canada what might be seen as a prominent position with respect to.com back when CIRA got itself going, and one of the things that the board, one perspective of the port was that ultimately.ca was going to be about Canada and Canadians. If we offer more choice and created a vibrant, thriving market in.ca domain and adopted policies and approaches that were in the best interests of the community as a whole that the community would come. And I think we have seen that, in that there has been a dramatic shift in terms of overall percentages. And I think that that same sort of thing can play out on an international basis. But what we need is to really take away some of the shackles that ICANN has in some sense imposed on the market, and provides, as I say, greater choice so that there is more vibrant competition.
Marilyn: Bruce, I had a follow-up question.
Bruce: Go ahead.
Marilyn: appreciating that perspective, how do you see the need to protect against rabid failure of new gTLDs. What kind of protections to you consider it appropriate?
Michael: sorry, just so I am understanding. Protection against the prospect that a gTLDs might fail? Or protection against the failure that we have seen thus far in terms of the uptake of new gTLDs?
Marilyn: in this case I am speaking about what kind of steps are, in your view, appropriate to protect registrar as against, and I would say in this case rabid failure, not just occasional failure. Like the high frequency of gTLD registries having to go out of business completely.
Michael: that is a fair concern, and it is a concern that we have had to address even at the CIRA level with respect to the potential failure of a registrar, and what comes about domain name and how they are best served. That is easier to deal with in the context of a failure of a registrar but naturally, with a registry can step in and address some of those. I think that if we had a marketplace such that there was this greater choice, and I do think that we would find that consumers would start looking even that domain names themselves in some different ways than they do today. And so I think we would find far more people might, frankly register far more interesting and lots more domain names. Sometimes just for one-off purposes, like for her vanity purposes or for a whole range of different purposes, just as they do today whether it is with phone numbers or ring tones or any number of different things. My own view would be that the market and consumers as a whole, it certainly needs to be an understanding for registrars of some of these risks. But I guess I am of the view that the market itself would address many of these kinds of issues and there would be a need... I guess my starting point is that the market would probably solve a lot of those concerns. Where a particular registry might fail, it is likely to fail I think because it simply obviously hasn't achieved much in the way of success, so that the number of registrations we are talking about me relatively few. If it is a larger registry that for whatever reason just hasn't had a good business model my suspicion is that someone would come into the marketplace and continue to run it. So I think it is obviously a valid concern and one that obviously has to be addressed as you move into a marketplace where there are dozens or hundreds of new gTLDs that are brought to the marketplace, provided as a matter of choice. But I think that choice is far better than the choice that we have seen to date, which is effectively one of virtually very little being put forward from the broader community to be able to register.
Bruce: we are running short of time. So I have Maureen and then Jon Nevett. Go-ahead Maureen.
Maureen: thank you Bruce. I just wondered, Michael, what your view is of the ICANN strategic plan please?
Michael: well I think that ICANN is an organisation that continues, obviously to evolve. I think it is critical but organisations undergo the strategic processes, this is something that we did with CIRA in the last year or two. I think the challenge with any strategic plan in environments where the board and the broader environment is changing so fast, so the constituencies of the board obviously change not so fast, but it changes. And the environment itself is changing very very rapidly. It becomes, I think in my experience, very difficult to maintain the strategic vision that might be articulated on a particular day or a particular month. And so while I think that there are some positives, ultimately one of the challenges I think that any organisation faces, and this would be true ICANN, is that as new board members come in, they will bring new visions. And as the broader environment, and no one knows say what is happening in Athens coming up, the ability to adhere a very strictly to a particular vision is, I think, very difficult indeed. That is not to say that there is not a need to go through the exercise of the strategic plan, but rather to express some caution about the ability to adhere strictly to whatever that plan might be, given the very nature of how that organisation itself renews itself and the changes that are occurring around it.
Bruce: Jon Nevett.
Jon: thanks Bruce, thanks Michael. I know we are running out of time. Who should provide the oversight function, and in what form, for ICANN? The fee memorandum of understanding with the Department of commerce up in September of this year, and the upcoming notice and comment period and hearing in July, I was wondering what relationship you think the ICANN should have with the US government, if any. And if not the US government, then what body, if any, should be providing oversight?
Michael: I think that one of the ways, and I don't think anyone has identified the magic solution to solve this, perhaps if they had, then this wouldn't be continuing for literally years on end, is to start examining more specifically some of the various functions that ICANN has. If they start examining more specifically some of the various functions that ICANN has, so I think for example that ccTLD relationships, IANA function and the like, it seems to me that a fairly compelling argument can then be made that that is something that no single government should have oversight over, and that there is a need to create a better a multilateral framework for that. In terms of the specific ICANN functions I would be dealing with day-to-day, I remain of the view that having any single government ultimately be the party that has ultimate authority over this is problematic in the current environment. I am very sensitive to the concerns that we might have about what the new body might be, but I think that we must surely pursue something where there is a greater level of comfort amongst all the various stakeholders, by creating some sort of framework that both insurers the voices of all the various stakeholders, because certainly you and style approach, that the governments go in and close the door and everybody is excluded is absolutely unacceptable. But I guess so too is one where every trade the black box of the UN for the black box of ICANN. And so I think that we have to find some kind of middle ground where there is mechanisms for accountability that include all the various stakeholders, but does not rest ultimate accountability in any one stakeholder.
Bruce: ok Michael, I think we will draw the question is to close at this point and I know I think for the individual constituencies have invited you to speak and you have probably spoken to some and will probably speak to some more in the future, so there are other opportunities for questions. I would dislike thank you very much for spending the time with us today, I think it certainly helps to go beyond just a written candour that statement and to really hear your views with specific questions. I would like to thank you for taking the time to spend with us today.
Michael: OK, thank you very much for making the time for me.
Bruce: Philip Shepherd, you are on the call, is that correct?
Philip Shepherd: I am indeed.
Tony Holmes: Bruce, Tony Holmes on the call now.
Bruce: Good, thank you Tony.
Bruce: OK Philip, as I have said to the other candidates, we are recording these calls, the recording will be made available, this is as you would be aware a standard practice for Jean SO Council calls. The format for the call is fairly informal, basically you have the opportunity to make some opening remarks on how you think you may be able to contribute to the ICANN system, and what you think the major issues are before the ICANN port. And then other than that which is really open the floor to questions, so at this point I will invite you to make some opening remarks to start with.
Philip: thank you very much Bruce. And Hallo to everybody. I think first and foremost it is important I think for me in particular, is someone that you would know as being a fellow member of council, to make it very clear that I am standing for the board and therefore standing to act in the interests of ICANN, and not standing as a representative of any one constituency or other. As part of the outreach I have been doing up to this call I hope that I have been able to be in touch with most of you and indeed your constituencies, in order to try to get an overview for some of the issues that you would be looking for in the qualities of a board member. Having said that, I do hope that my DEEP background in the DNSO, formally, and is now with the GNSO, would serve as a strong background in deed for the various interests that are dealt with by the board. And certainly, I think as one of the two elected members from the GNSO Senate to the board, if elected I would certainly want to see GNSO policy as receiving the right level of border tension, and new ways and in particular understanding by the board, so that it gets the due consideration by the board proportionately to the amount of work in thinking that goes into it. I think probably just in terms of opening remarks, I would like to make those two, one of which is I am standing for the board to represent all interests, and primarily to act in the best interests of ICANN. And certainly specifically with GNSO matters, I would wish to use my experience there to help revise the authority and some of the depth in ensuring GNSO policy gets the right level of attention.
Bruce: thank you Philip. Who would like to join a queue to ask questions of Philip?
David: David Maher.
Bruce: OK, anyone else? Go ahead David.
David: OK. Philip, first question, and this is the same I asked of Michael diced, do you agree that you would have defied usury duty to make decisions in the best interest of ICANN as opposed to representing a point of view of any particular constituency?
Philip: absolutely. I think that is absolutely what I was trying to say my opening remarks. The function of a board member is quite different to the way that I have been involved in ICANN in the past, which is as a representative of the constituency or council. And I do see that distinction. And indeed in other at parts of my professional life I serve on an existing voluntary board already, that of IPRA, the public relations Association. So I am aware of the nature of board decisions, and if you like the collegiate responsibility that one has as part of the board.
David: well, in particular then, your candidate statements says that you would have no conflicts that would prevent you from participating in board decisions. And we are particularly concerned about your relationship with the intellectual property community, I understand that your organisation is in a cooperative relationship with the world intellectual property Organisation. If you were confronted with a decision as a board member involving the protection of intellectual property, would you have two recuse yourself as the result of the conflict?
Philip: it is an interesting question. The interests of my own organisation and my employer are brought in intellectual property, we are an association representing companies typically who are using their brand name as part of their marketing. But the total interest of the organisation go way beyond that, and we are not in a collaborative relationship with world intellectual property Organisation, we would sometimes talks to the world intellectual property Organisation, we would lobby them, and participate sometimes when invited to as representatives of industry. I would be surprised if there would be any decision in which I would feel uncomfortable making that on the board, that would be different to perhaps how there was a particular view within my organisation. I see that to be unlikely as an eventuality.
David: sorry for interrupting, I am looking at a world intellectual property web site that serves that WIPO closely co-operates with various governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organisations [xx] expertise in the field of intellectual property enforcement. And the European [xx] Assocation, AIM is listed.
David: but you don't see that as a conflict?
Philip: no. We are [xx] now as an industry body, advising on WIPO on masses to do with development of trademark law and other things that are mostly to do with the offline world.
David: but your view is that of protecting intellectual property rights?
Philip: typically so.
David: in the December policy development process regarding the introduction of new gTLDs, your position as I understand it was that only IDN TLDs and new sponsored TLDs should be allowed. Is that a view that would carry over to board decisions?
Philip: no, I think you are referring to my advocacy there is a representative of the business constituency, and as I said earlier I would want to be taking a broader and more collegians view in terms of how I regarded any [xx] as the board level.
David: in connection, going back to intellectual property interests and the lack of consensus that has been seen in the GNSO. There are many views in the GNSO and the protection of personal privacy, the protection of personal plaster is important and given that you spent your professional career supporting intellectual property rights, how do you reach an accommodation with people who feel strongly that privacy should be protected?
Philip: well if you are referring, as you may be, to some of the issues surrounding whois, I think you raised a very interesting question there. And I think my own feeling is that a solution on whois has got to have a three fold elements to it. It needs to address somehow the public policy concerns in terms of fraud. It needs simultaneously to address the protection of individual privacy, and certainly a somebody coming from the European Union it is something that we are a very conscious of and as you are probably aware of the European Dasa production legislation is some of the toughest in the world. And thirdly any solution must be important in that it does not impose unreasonable cost or other impositions on the registrars or whoever may be implementing that. So I think it is those three fold elements that need to be brought together in whatever further work the GNSO does on whois. But ultimately, as a board member and certainly a somebody sent there by the GNSO, I would want to be fighting on the board for the rapid application of GNSO consensus policy, and that would be an overriding issue compared to any particular aspect of that but I might personally feel about it.
David: a paper was submitted to the who is task for some time later last year, which supported the view that under the privacy policies of the European Union, the privacy policies demanded total public access to personal Dasa. Is that your view?
Philip: sorry, the privacy policies demanded access to public tartare?
David: yes, this was a paper circulated I believe by the intellectual property constituency, that was part of the proceedings of the who is task force. That under the privacy policies, the conclusion of the paper was that the European Union demanded public access to all personal darter in the who is.
Philip: I am not sure if that would actually be rise. I mean the essence of the European Union Tata collection, is all to do with the purpose for which it is collected. And once that purpose is known upfront, then that dictates the subsequent usage and processing of Dasa that she could make. And I think that is what would be the determining factor in terms of European law. But I think we are moving perhaps into slightly more legal issues than might be relevant in terms of what comes up as part of GNSO consensus policy development.
David: thank you, I am happy to turn the floor over it to another questioner.
Bruce: thank you David. Who else would like to join the queue to ask any questions?
Bruce: OK, go ahead Mawaki --
Mawaki: yes, hi Philip. And thank you for standing for this seat. I also appreciate your diligence with which, and I mean it well, you reach out to us and sent us a very early your statement. You said in reply to the first question, actually it was reminded that your position as a business constituentcy representative was that the only new TLDs should be IDN and sponsored TLDs I think. And you say that is also your position as the business constituency representative. So I would like to know, beyond that, would you agree that there is a need of more diversification of the DNS, and how would you go about improving that diversification and increasing competition in the domain name space?
Philip: it is an interesting question. I would first again like to distance myself in terms of a personal opinion as to the way I might act as a board member, and certainly as the way I might have spoken in behalf of the constituency. Those three things are a separate. But looking at the question you raise in more general terms, I think one of the things I listed is my priority number one in terms of what I wanted to achieve during a potential term on the board is competition. And I think reminding the board wherever necessary of its responsibility to increase competition at the registry level is absolutely essential. Competition is part of ICANN's core values five and six, and it is essential that we do something about that. If you look at the simple figures with.com which has 73% or so an d.net at 11%, we're talking about 85% market share. If you look at the way any competition authority would start to look as any markets, they typically start at a 40% threshold were already there is a presumption of dominance, and we are at 85% in the gTLDs market. And what is that mean? I think it means for things. It means there have to be new TLDs, new gTLDs may want a certain process for the way in which they are involved. Some of those new TLDs have to be IDN's, we need to get those happening as soon as possible, that might also address some competition issues, it might also open up new areas of dominance, and we need to be vigilant about that. We need to look more carefully, I think, at the issue of the re-delegation until such time as we are below that 40% threshold for one registry. I think we need to be certain also that any future contracts are equitable, in other words, it is fair treatment for all parties in the nature of their contracts incorporating fully consensus policy. And ideally, and I think this goes back to some discussions that we had just recently on GNSO working party, the more that we can have a standardised contract so that any new applicant registry knows what it's going to get in terms of its contract almost before it is awarded, and all the better. Because then we will have greater certainty, we are there for more likely to have greater entry, and more likely therefore to start to address this competitive deficit.
Mawaki: thanks, since you have interests in the IPR field, I would like to ask you about the IDN. Some people think that when we get to implement IDN, the same registries will have a kind of pre-emption, a right to pre-emption over the trams liberation of the ASCII TLDs that we have now in the new foreign language setting. What do you think about that?
Philip: I think first on IDN I, like many would still want to be listening mode and to look to follow very closely the work that the GNSO is now doing in cooperation with others. I think that is probably the key and most important thing to say. My personal instinct, and again that would only inform part of the way that one may look at the issue and not necessarily be the way that I would be voting of the board level. My personal instinct is to have some discomfort with the idea that merely because you have an IDN, there is some presumptive right that relates to earlier names. It makes to my mind a greater logic to look at IDN's as new opportunities, and not somehow as replicas of what has come before.
Mawaki: I ma not sure I understnd very welll your position. Are you saying that the IDn will be new opportunities for everyoen to apply and to be able maybe to be selected to manage the new IDN's?
Philip: I am saying that that seems to me of greater lgoic than somehow, simply because we started in teh English language, that dictates toa righ tto have an equivalent IDN going forward. We haven't followed that practice having AScII code foreign languages, and just because you are putting it in to different scripts, it seems a strange logical leap for me to make. But as I said, I am still in listening mode, and I want to learn more about the issue and the implications that surround that.
Mawaki: Ok, thanks, just the next question. Do you see the somehow ambiguous situation that, I think that is my personal view for some time, about ICANN undertaking technical function about DNS and IP addressing etc, versus the policy making aspect of our activities as ICANN community.
Philip: Sorry, how do I see the balance in that, was your question?
Mawaki: is it clear for you, is it something that is straightforward? How well do you see the line.
Philip: it is a challenge, and I think it is impossible to separate out always purely technical things from those in which policy is necessary, and those which have political and geopolitical implications. ICANN has trod a path delicately and reasonably in the past that has been not so bad, given those challenges. Those issues are always going to come up, and part of the board decision-making I think, has to be looking at some of those wide implications when they do arise. But I think that is only part of informing the way that the board may make a decision, where the board needs to look for guidance. That is already clearly written down in the 11 core values, and I think a board that is either up on its own, or as may be reminded by members of exports, to refer back to its 11 core values primarily [xx] it should inform decision-making I think is probably the right direction for ICANN.
Mawaki: just maybe a subquestion, let us take the example of who wins. You are saying that making the decision about who is actually debated earlier, within the council. ICANN is going beyond its technical function, is making decisions that will impact the privacy within countries, do you think that is legitimate that ICANN should take a role where the countries have formed legislation on the issues?
Philip: it is something that could successfully be left to national implementation I think that that would be wonderful, but I think that it is not because of the global nature of the issue. Therefore the challenge, as I see it, for the GNSO policy going forward is that combination of the three things that I mentioned earlier when answering David's question, which is rationalising the public policies to do with fraud, along with the protection of individual privacy and at the same time making sure that any solution is not imposing undue cost on those who have too implemented. Mawaki: thank you very much.
Bruce: thank you Mawaki. Next we have Maureen. Go-ahead Maureen.
Maureen: good morning Philip, thanks for putting your name forward for this position. You do have a long history with ICANN in a number of various roles and various functions. One of the questions I was asking an earlier up candidates had to do with commitment to ICANN's success, in not those words. But I wonder if you could just explained to me whether you feel that the work that you have done with ICANN in various roles over the years has given you any insights into how the ICANN board, not the organisation, have the ICANN board can move forward in its decision-making process in a way that would be an improvement on what we are seeing now.
Philip: it is a very good question, and I think one of the challenges the board handles is that it has been perceived sometimes as not being a board that listens enough and sometimes not a board that understand sufficiently about the policy before it. And I think that is something that needs to do better. A staff will be providing information to the board, and that is right, but I think that the way also perhaps that staff and we are now seeing increasing staff and increasing resources going to do that. I think we should be seen hopefully if that could be improved in terms of information flow to the board, as it will be improved to the SO's. But more importantly, I think you need to have a board that is active in reaching out, looking at the issues that are before it in greater depth, and if it is not doing so and being prompted from within to do so... one of the things that I fill sort of passionate about, having been involved in the process at a GNSO and DNSO level for so long is to be able to be on the board and say "hey, look, do you understand everything that has happened with this particular policy? Are you aware or of the discussions that have taken place, the way they happen, and if not then let us do something about filling in those knowledge gaps". In a way that it has to look at some issues. We have by the very nature of the way the ICANN board is appointed and/or elected, a diverse and they are not terribly cohesive body. But it is charged with making some rather important decisions, so I think it does need as much support as it can get from within and from outside in terms of ICANN and others can help in terms of forming it, so that it is a better board and one that is overtime going to command better community and public trust. And that will be done I think by twofold activities. One is listening, and secondly, I think, is taking the right decisions.
Maureen: ok may I ask one more question Bruce please?
Maureen: OK, it has to do with the ICANN budget. In the ICANN board that you have just described, that would be responsible for the decisions to enable the operation of the organisation in an ideal way, do you believe that the current budget is an appropriate approach to resourcing ICANN? Not to use a now is a verb, but I just did. And in relation, and this might be too complex, but in relation to the strategic plan, can you offer comments on the appropriateness of the ICANN budget?
Philip: I think it is extraordinary. If you look at the current operational strategic plan, save for the transition from money this year 2006 2007, we are looking at an increase in expenditure of something like 36%, going up to something like $34 million. An ambition to have staff of 809I think at the end of that period. That is a hell of a lot of money, and a good number of people, and I think it is not unreasonable for those who are contributing to that budget to expect some very good results as a result of that money being spent. That money is going to be raised, and I think it is incumbent upon the board, and I would certainly want to be calling for that of electors, to make sure I think that there are good mechanisms to ensure the efficient use of those funds. Any budget increases must be seen to translate into better services and better efficacy of the organisation as a whole. Also things like the balance, the collection mechanism on the budget as well, is an issue and certainly some of the discussions I have had just in my recent activities over the last couple of weeks, there was certainly concern in terms of the fairness of some of the collection mechanisms that have recently been introduced. And although of course you want to have financial stability, you need also to have the right level of buying in and endorsement by those who are funding in order for there to be goodwill and therefore good corporation going forward, and that is part also of the careful balance the need to be achieved. With a substantially increasing budget and a substantially increasing staff, I think the community can reasonably expect substantial improvements. And that should also mean improvement in things like staff recruiting. I was amazed that it took so long, for instance, to recruit a new vice president to replace Paul [xx], but I am very pleased we have somebody in place now.
Maureen: thank you.
Bruce: Ross ...
Ross: Hello Philip. I've actually got three questions, so I will try and run through them as quickly as possible and let you respond as deeply as possible. The success of any board member, I believe, is their capability to form relationships with the community. If you could form me describe the outreach to have done to the council or to build relationships with this community, and contrast this with how you would approach your position on the board with building those relationships.
Philip: OK, in terms of just for the selection, I made in efforts to contact either key members or the leadership of each constituency once I had my State and ready, I made an effort to send that out through to council members and others individually to ask also questions about that. In my earlier discussions I was seeking input also in terms of what I was putting into my opening candidate statement. I have also offered one to one phone calls, if those outreach to buy email were interested in that. I left it up to their decision to whether or not that was followed through, and indeed a number were. That proved very informative for me. I think is a board member as well, that is precisely the kind of outreach that one would want to be doing in order to be fully informed on policy issues coming up. And of course you need to go broader as a board member or than just a GNSO, possibly looking to the other communities who are there. My own feeling as to how I want to be as a board member and making a decision would be to know that I have done my best in terms of understanding the issue, or if I don't fully, to find out more about it. And also to feel that my fellow board members are as informed, and indeed looking to them where there is expertise on the board to help me understand a different area, so that collectively we can make good and well-informed decisions.
Ross: OK, sorry, I could have been clearer with the question. What I was actually interested in was, I don't have any experience in how the BC[sp?] Operates, for instance. So if you could describe how you go about representing that constituency and contrast that with how you would translate into activity as a representative of the larger community as a board member.
Philip: [whew]. The BC has its own procedures, and I would as a member of that constituency be following those procedures there are. Some of those are laid down in terms of the way it consults or it forms policy positions. There is a certain number of days where policy positions need to be out and be discussed. This work is naturally done by email lists, and there was, with one issue there was a rapporteur appointed, who will be the initial draughtsman for a position, and that'll be amended as discussion goes forward to form a final position. As a board member, to some extent you are working in a different mode because you are an individual board member and making a collective decision. As I said, I would want to continue to be out for reaching by whatever means is most effective, if that is female or one-to-one conversations or by telephone or in person meetings, and that would be the way to do it.
Ross: So it sounds like you are are really making the transition from being in advocates to being a representative. Maybe you could describe some of your past experience as a representative, as opposed to the advocate that we have been used two of the last five or six years.
Philip: what examples can I give... I think I mentioned earlier that I have been on a motherboard of a voluntary association, as part of the international public relations Association. That has certain parallels in terms of its multicultural nature, and the way that the board is jostling with certain decisions in terms of policy for that association. The nature of its campaigns, and how they may play out with certain constituencies, media, and how they may have political implications. So I certainly have some experience outside what you correctly described as the advocacy role that I played up till now. I think in general though, if I just look at some of my other experience in my working life in Brussels and around, I am frequently a part or an instigator of different types of networks that one would form between different interests within industry or in the alliances between industry and consumers, on particular issues. And the bearer, you are working perhaps again in closer parallel to the nature of the sort of role that one would be doing on the ICANN board. And I think I have some reasonable depth of experience of the last decade or so in Brussels and prior to that, elsewhere in Europe and prior to that in the Middle East, in that sort of work where networking with different groups and individuals as part of the way that you help inform yourself, informed the group, and come to group decision-making.
Ross: thank you. My second question now is stop if elected to the board, you will have the distinction of being not only the recipient of the work product of the GNSO review [xx], but also as one of the inputters to that. It would be helpful if you could describe your inputs into that review and perhaps help us better understand what your view of the strengths and weaknesses of the GNSO who is, it structures, its processes, and its representative.
Philip: I had an early interview with the NSC[sp?] People doing the review when they visited Brussels. They came over to see the ICANN Brussels office here, and I guess we had I supposed two or three hours during one day when they were here. And subsequently saw them when they were also in Wellington for a few further discussions, as was also going on to their survey and doing it online. So that was my direct involvement in terms of what I was feeding into the process. Where they are going to come out of course, I don't know. And it will be very interesting to see. And I think in any of these processes nothing is perfect. We set up certain structures in certain ways, as you are well aware we had a reform process in which we made certain changes, and some of those have helped I think the way that we are doing policy, and certainly I see the difference between the way we did policy when we started, and the way we do it now. As it is done in greater depth, and I think with broader and deeper... I think that has been of benefit to the GNSO. As ever, I think in an organisation that hasambition like ICANN does in terms of being broad and bottom-up and all inclusive, there is a balance to be achieved between continual dialogue and finally making decisions at some point. And it will be interesting to see if the GNSO review comes up with some concrete suggestions for how that balance can be better achieved that it is today. Whether or not it will do so I do not know.
Ross: I am not quite sure of that that answers my question, but in the interests of time I will move on. The third question that I have used: you have taken great care to help us extricate Philip's views as a BC representative, from Philip's views as a representative of AIMS[sp?]. What I am not left with is a clearer view of what Philip's views are. Philip Shepherd the individual. Perhaps you can take a few minutes to help me better understand, for example, and feel free to pick from any one of them, all of them or none of them. But I would like to hear more from Philip Shepherd regarding your views on a) who is, b) the intellectual property communities use of ICANN as an intellectual property enforcement mechanism, and c) your views on Paul Cooney's performance as president of the organisation.
Philip: [Hmmm], interesting set of three. I think who is I spoke about earlier in relation to David's question, and Mawaki is, so maybe in the interests of time I will skip over that. In terms of IP enforcement, my feeling is that broadly the job is being done. One of ICANN's earliest successes, to my mind, was the establishment of the UDRP, the uniform dispute resolution policy, that managed to address the community concerned, a public policy concern, and what is an intellectual property concern. And is addressed it in a way, with a mechanism that moved to the right speed. I think the achievement of battle was a success. Now new challenges are hovering on the environment, and we know the GNSO is currently considering some new work on certain aspects of the WIPO two requests, and I think a personal comment would be, I view, very much is perhaps more political in nature than intellectual property in nature. On the third issue you raise a question in terms of the performance of the CEO. I think you have heard me as an advocate for the BC raising some serious questions about certain questions to do with views that the board is taken. I think a lot of those have been driven by opinion that has come from the CEO and through staff, and certainly my personal concern continues to resonate over recent decisions taken with redelegations and with the nature of the.com contract, and the ignoring of ICANN consensus policy. I think those will be black marks against any CEO of an organisation who presided over that sort of change.
Ross: thank you.
Bruce: ok Marilyn?
Marilyn: thank you. Philip, my question is going to perhaps capture the question that was asked by one of my colleagues, my fellow councillors earlier two other candidates, and it addresses the relationship between ICANN and the governments, , and any thoughts that you might have about how the input from the supporting organisations can be improved in the interaction with the board including the interaction between the board and a government advisory committee, but not limited to that.
Philip: it is an interesting question. As I said earlier, as much as we want to focus ICANN on its core values and its technical function, we cannot exist... we cannot ignore the fact that ICANN isexisting in the political world, and there are going to be political implications in some of its decision-making. The way at the moment that we are factoring in input from the political world is that the government advisory committee, and that's is probably as effective a way as we can do it for the moment. Often we in industry despair at the speed of decision making of things like the government advisory committee, certainly those of us who work with government bodies elsewhere, including even those like the OECD and others, there you already see what the normal speed of government decision-making is. And the government advisory committee, I think, does its very best to operate at speeds that can do, and also with a degree of informality that I think is quite different to the way government bodies normally operate, and highly suitable to the ICANN environment. Having said that, your question was how do you see better connections, better interactions between those bodies, and I think one of the things that I would want to call for on the board and helped to bring about happening is to say "look, if we are going up to a substantial budgets and changes that are happening going forward, part of that, I think, should be better resources so that we can have the right level of interaction between these bodies at the early stages of policy development and policy thinking" because that is going to help everybody in terms of getting by in terms of some of the bigger issues, getting greater understanding between the bodies, and therefore avoiding the possibility of clashes before it gets to the board level, and therefore leaving the board with a mess or a political decision to sort out. I think there is still better ways of doing that, and that is trying to improve [xx] interactions that we have. We have already moved in the right direction I think. The GNSO has made some very good efforts in that area, they have an active liaison from the government advisory Council to the GNSO. That is all very positive, and I think a little bit of that elsewhere perhaps with the resources to support that when necessary would not go amiss and be absolutely the right use of these increased funds will be forthcoming.
Marilyn: I have a follow-up Bruce, may I?
Marilyn: Philip, I guess I would comment that from the business Council perspective, we have made a number of public statements and I am asking you to respond as a board candidates, not anyway about any past interaction. We have made a number of statements of concern about the lack of openness and the lack of transparency, the extreme secrecy about discussions and deliberations of the board, the protection and sheltering of information in ways that make it very difficult for the community to provide information to the board members before they make decisions. And then may appear as an ICANN public meeting and they seem to be shocked and appalled to find Oh Gee, perhaps they should have sought public comment earlier. I hear protestations, and I have heard them a number of times at Luxembourg, by board members and even by the chair, and even by the CEO, that things will be better and steps will be taken. But I see little action. If you support the idea that more openness, while there are well be some areas that must be confidential, but that more openness earlier can improve the interaction between the community and the board and the senior staff, do you have ideas about how best to advance that openness.
Philip: I think you are certainly right in saying that it is surprising on some issues where we have the perception that the community was making a loud noise on a certain issue, and yes we heard from the board that they were not really aware or until later, that seems to be very odd. I think in terms of feedback of board activities sending back to the GNSO [xx], I believe my predecessor Michael Pillage[sp?], started exemplary work in feeding back to the GNSO information in terms of the board activities and agendas and decisions. And certainly in the short term I would, if elected, undertake to do certainly as well as Mike was doing. More importantly, I think in the medium term I would be trying to put in place something that has a greater legacy, and that would be to ensure that there are resources in place so that that becomes the standard practice. So it is not up to one individual or another to be doing that, and that becomes part and parcel of a natural communication that is happening from the board is to th SO's in terms of its decisions, agendas, and everything else. And actually includes not just the board activities but those of its committees and its special presidential committee's and whatever are when they are formed. I think that is absolutely something that does need forming, and does need improving. We see frequently ICANN is intended to be a body of transparent decision-making, but we all know in the real world they do have to be moments were we have confidential decision-making and that is normal. And if you don't have those you find in certain things like board meetings themselves, he merely finds that the decisions take place elsewhere, which is not a good thing. But nevertheless, transparency should still mean that there is good information both going into the decision-making, but I talked about earlier in this call, and transparency coming out, and a timely transparency coming out about decision-making back to the community when decisions happen. That is the gap that needs improving..
Bruce: OK, anyone else? ok Philip, that concludes the session and thank you very much for taking the time to respond to questions. It is always helpful to go beyond the written statements and to get your views on particular topics. So once again I would like to thank you for taking the time to spend with us today.
Philip: it was my pleasure. And thank you for the opportunity, and certainly if there is any follow-up, people who didn't have any opportunity to ask questions, please email me and I am very happy to respond to those to the best of my ability, and thank you for taking the time to listen to me.
Bruce: at that point I will conclude the call.