NCSG Policy Principles

Joy Liddicoat joy at APC.ORG
Mon Dec 5 20:51:16 CET 2011

Hi Milton - thanks, very useful - some observations below.


From: NCSG-Discuss [mailto:NCSG-DISCUSS at LISTSERV.SYR.EDU] On Behalf Of
Milton L Mueller
Sent: Tuesday, 6 December 2011 3:47 a.m.
Subject: Re: NCSG Policy Principles


Thanks! It's very worthwhile and healthy for you to initiate thinking at
this level, as a new GNSO Council representative.

Below are my reactions to your proposals.

.         NCSG prioritises the non-commercial, public interest aspects of
domain name policy.


.         Guardianship: gTLD policy should be focused on responsibilities
and service to the community.

As a social scientist and someone with 15 years of experience among Internet
developers, I am extremely wary of appeals to "the community," especially
when there is a definite article in front of it. First, you have to specify
what "community" you are referring to, and if that doesn't mean absolute
unanimity among everyone involved (which of course never happens) how does
one get included or excluded from such a "community" voice.  One must also
be aware of the inherent ambiguities - and potential for manipulation and
abuse - that can come from claims to speak for or to divine the "will" or
"needs" of something called "the community." Lots of people who are leaders
in this space think that they can call up a few friends, ask for comments on
an email  list and then decide for themselves what "the community" wants.
Too often, the concept of a homogeneous community serves as a way to
suppress or paper over dissent and the need for deliberation. Further, the
concept of "responsibilities and service to the community" can be and often
is used as a way to override individual rights. So in its current form I
couldn't accept this principle.

JL: your points are extremely well made. I pondered a 'guardianship' type
principle - in the end I derived this principle from RFC 1591 at 3.2 in
relation to TLD administrators (at pages 3 and 4 - here: ) and it resonated as a broad policy
principle for a non-commercial constituency- perhaps "trusteeship" and "the
Internet community" as per RFC 1591 would be more appropriate. RFC1591 it is
a little dated, but some aspects are still valid and resonate - what do you

.         Multi-stakeholder: gTLD policy should be determined by open
multi-stakeholder processes.

Mostly agreed, although we might want to specify further that
multistakeholder processes should not categorically privilege some
stakeholder groups over others, specifically governments. JL: agreed

.         Human rights: gTLD policy should meet human rights standards,
including transparency and the rule of law.

.and freedom of expression, freedom of association, personal autonomy or
privacy JL: others are also emphasising these, suggesting perhaps to list
them would be useful.

.         Equity: parties to domain registrations (including non-commercial
registrants) should be on a level playing field; domain registrations should
be first come first served.

I personally agree that this principle is desirable in most contexts,
however, in some contexts it is perfectly acceptable for private operators
of specialized domains to adopt registrations policies that are not FCFS;
e.g., auctions, controlled naming policies, etc. The closer we get to a
many-TLD, competitive world, the more space opens up for other models.

JL: fair point on FCFS - does the exception define the principle (in other
words should this part be deleted), or does the principle hold, with an

.         Competition and choice: gTLD policy should ensure competition and
choice for non-commercial registrants and non-commercial internet users.


.         In case of conflict, the principle of guardianship prevails.

;-) see above. Not only is the guardianship principle flawed and
unacceptable, but to make it the standard for overriding all the others
compounds all the problems it has.

JL: check out RFC1591 and let me know what you think-

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