Yesterday the Chair of ICANN's noncommercial users constituency, Robin Gross of IPJustice, sent an important letter to the ICANN Board and its new CEO, Rod Beckstrom. The letter, which had the unanimous support of 145 members of the GNSO constituency, makes three specific requests of the Board. The Board's willingness to grant these demands is being carefully watched by civil society groups, and is considered a test of ICANN's willingness to accommodate – or exclude — the participation of public interest groups.
First, NCUC asks for a direct meeting between the full Board and NCUC representatives at the Seoul ICANN meeting in October. Second, the letter asks the Board to completely review the transitional NCSG charter by July 30, 2010, and to acknowledge that the charter originally proposed by the NCUC and overwhelmingly supported by the noncommercial community will be considered in the review. 3) Third, it asks the Board not to approve any new Constituencies under the SIC and ICANN staff-imposed transitional NCSG charter until the ongoing debates over the status of Constituencies and their role in the NCSG is resolved next year. The full text of the letter can be found at the NCUC's web site.
The letter also indicated that the NCUC plans to file an Ombudsman complaint about the procedural irregularities and discriminatory treatment it suffered during the year-long attempt to develop a charter for the new Noncommercial Stakeholders Group.
Noting that “It is obvious to anyone who has followed this controversy that there has been a serious breakdown in communication between the Board, ICANN’s management and the noncommercial community,” Gross stated that “the Board can no longer rely on the intermediation of staff and a few Board members with entrenched positions. We need to have a direct exchange on the fundamental issue of ICANN’s governance structure.”
The letter has also been endorsed by several civil society groups outside the NCUC, such as Washington DC-based Public Knowledge, The Institute of Network Cultures, and others.