ICANN considers way to restrict use of accountability mechanisms

Working group asked ICANN for a way to restrict access under specific circumstances.

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ICANN has opened a comment period over a proposed bylaw update that would limit access to accountability mechanisms.

The organization has a couple of accountability mechanisms for groups to challenge its actions: the Reconsideration Request and Independent Review Process.

These accountability mechanisms allow aggrieved parties to challenge decisions, but they can be costly and time-consuming for both the filer and ICANN.

A working group that determined how to distribute new top level domain auction proceeds through grants became concerned that applicants that didn’t receive a grant would use the accountability mechanisms.

ICANN proposed that it could address this by putting contractual terms in the grant application that restrict applicants from using accountability mechanisms.

However, many in the community were concerned that this approach could be used in more contracts. Imagine if this term was added to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement or new TLD applications.

So, the proposed solution would require a broad consortium of the ICANN community to propose a restriction, which ICANN’s board would then approve.

I can foresee circumstances in which some in the community will try to use this approach to block groups that abuse the accountability mechanisms by repeat or baseless filings. A long-running campaign around .web comes to mind. It would require a lot of community members who don’t have an interest in whatever is being appealed to join in, though.

The comment period ends April 15.

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