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Thursday, February 23, 2006
Commentary: ALAC -- The Broken Conduit
The At-Large Advisory Committee is unlike any other ICANN advisory body; it is not merely a collection of appointed advisors (like the members of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee or the members of the DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee), but rather it is a group charged with channeling the input from grassroots organizations up to the ICANN Board. Thus far the ALAC has a total of 49 accredited and candidate organizations in its tent.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the ALAC as a conduit that transmits bottom-up input to the Board, one only has to look at the sum total of the contributions provided by these at-large "structures" on any topic... and to be fair to the ALAC, one should be looking at the responsiveness to volatile major issues that command everyone's attention rather than looking at some relatively arcane DNS topic-matter.
So, you might wonder exactly how many of these organizations (the at-large structures) have provided input into the ICANN-VeriSign settlement agreement discussions that have been ongoing in ernest over the course of the last four months. The answer is "none". Not one. Zero.
Clearly, we have a problem.
The ICANN Board needs to have a long, hard look at the ALAC's operations and structure since the current paradigm has failed to produce results.