MAC Membership Models

Draft Report 99.02.21


Individuals only  (with one vote per member). Online access required.  Verification is by documentation of age.  Minimal benefits.  Relies on membership to call attention to instances of fraud.  No fees or fees merely sufficient to cover costs of membership.

Advantages: Minimal administrative burden, lower costs, simple rules, most democratic and consumer friendly, easy entry for new/developing interests; absence of fees eliminates vote buying

Disadvantages:  High risk of fraud, insufficient funding to cover expenses, little interaction with/among members, indifferent constituency; failure to provide a direct voice for commercial interests with greatest financial stake in ICANN services.

Potential Enhancements: Annual Forum (discussion/policy input) for organizational interests


Open membership (individual and organizational) with one vote per member.  Online access required.  Verification is by documentation of majority/organization.  Minimal benefits.  No fees required.  Relies on membership to call attention to instances of fraud.

Advantages: Minimal administrative burden, fewer costs, simple rules, and broadest participation

Disadvantages:  High risk of fraud, insufficient funding to cover expenses, little interaction with/among members, indifferent constituency, no protection for minority/developing interests; dilution of consumer interests and over-representation of commercial interests

Potential Enhancements: Ombudsman for minority/developing interests


Organizations only.  Classes include (a) associations of 50+ individuals with each association receiving 50 votes (b) corporations/NGOs each receiving one vote and (c) associations of 10+ corporations each association receiving 10 votes.  Online access required.  Verification is by declaration and documentation of organization.  Minimal benefits.  No fees required.  Relies on membership to call attention to instances of fraud.

Advantages: Lowest administrative burden/costs, higher fees, more stable and engaged constituency

Disadvantages:  Risk of fraudulent associations, dilution of individual interests leaving ICANN without direct user input at any level, complicates regional representation requirements

Potential Enhancements: Ombudsman for minority/developing interests, voting based on number of members in organization, require associations to document ability to represent wishes of majority of members within association


Citizen/Member.  This presumes that domain name and IP address holders will not be represented in the SO organizations but they will in fact be the single largest constituency of parties directly interested in ICANN decisions.  It establishes a membership with two classes where one (Citizen) has easy entry but less influence while the other class (Member) pays higher fees and receives greater voting authority.  Online access required.  Verification is by declaration and documentation of organization.  Minimal benefits.  No fees required.  Relies on membership to call attention to instances of fraud.

Advantages: Higher fees, more stable and engaged constituency, easier registration, reduced fraud

Disadvantages:  May complicate regional representation, undervalues consumer interests

Potential Enhancements: Ombudsman for minority/developing interests

1.0 Purpose: ensure access in a stable, robust, flexible, cost effective and fair manner

1.1   V1 may prove more burdensome to the efficient operation of ICANN if the size of the membership is exceptionally large (by raising the levels required for quorum decisions, the cost of registration, authentication and balloting, the cost of personnel needed to respond to individual membership inquiries, etc.)
1.2   V2 retains same problems as V1 but benefits from the stability that organizational interests can provide
1.3   V3 could be more efficient but could be abused by narrow-interests that might form their own organizations or by stalled votes due to class structure
1.4   V4 is easiest to administer and has a potentially more engaged membership

2.0 Members

2.1 Who is a Member?  IP address/DN holders; e-mail address?
2.1.1 V1 and V4. Individuals, corporations and associations (assures greatest support).  V4 prefers to limit membership to IP/DN holders.
2.1.2 V2. Individuals only (most democratic)
2.1.3 V3. Organizational only (most efficient for ICANN)
2.2 Different levels/classes of membership?
2.2.1 V1. No
2.2.2 V2. No
2.2.3 V3. Yes (each class elects one-third of directors)
2.2.4 V4. Yes (Citizen electing 0 – 3 directors and Member electing 9 – 6 directors)
2.3 Criteria/authentication required? E-mail access and documentation
2.3.1 Individuals must provide their legally recognized name, e-mail address and a “suitable reference applicable to their country of residence, which demonstrates that they are of legal maturity.”   Corporations must provide corporate registration details.  Associations must provide evidence of their membership requirements and numbers. Name and address must be made available to all other members.
2.3.2 The nature of the identification provided to ICANN is left to applicants and will vary according to country.  ICANN will not generally seek to verify claims made by applicants, but may do so on receipt of objection to a member.
2.3.3 V1-V3 permit additional authentication procedures
2.4 Fees
2.4.1 V1 and V2. None or only enough to cover costs.  Contributions invited (US$500/corp; $50/assoc; $20/individual).  DN holders may contribute via a component of their DN registration fee collected by registrar.
2.4.2 V3. More substantial fees required.
2.4.3 V4. Citizens pay no fees; Members pay fees based on organizational structure and profit-making status.
2.4.4 Failure to pay dues results in deletion of membership.
2.4.5 Fees to be graduated to reflect regional economies.

2.5 Rights & Obligations

2.5.1 Vote to elect at-large directors and participate in any other voting exercise permitted under the Bylaws (such as ratification of amendments, recall of directors).  In V4 only Member Class may do so
2.5.2 Members may propose policy in V1-3.  In V4 only Member Class may do so
2.5.3 Register each year on penalty of deletion from rolls; advise ICANN of name/address change
2.5.4 Communications from ICANN via website/mailing list
2.5.5 Organizational members recognized/promoted on ICANN website
3.0 Relation to ICANN – All models are within the corporate structure

4.0 At-Large Voting

4.1 Direct or Indirect Voting – V1-V4 presume direct voting

4.2 Nomination Principles - V1 would require additional nominations from industry and organizations under Bylaw V.9.c.  V3-V4 may require addition of user nomination input if no organizations of users have opted to join and would require nomination of non-members (since individuals are not members in this model).

4.3 Candidate Qualifications. Proof of citizenship and majority required in all models. Additional requirements possible in V1-V4.

4.4 Nomination Process

4.4.1 Self-Nomination. Possible in V1-V3 (from Member Class only in V4)
4.4.2 Self-Nomination with Support. Possible in V1-V3
4.4.3 Nomination Committee. Possible in V1-V3
4.5 Campaigns. Simple list of candidates with limited platform statement.  Additional activity possible in V1-V3

4.6 Eligible Voters

4.6.1 V1 - Individuals have one vote each
4.6.2 V2 - Individuals and organizations have one vote each
4.6.3 V3 – Corporations have one vote each, associations of corporations have 10 votes each, associations of individuals have 50 votes each
4.7 International Representation – Revision recommended
4.7.1 Require (a) each SO to nominate each director from a different region (b) require at-large membership to elect one member from each region first and (c) cap the number of at-large members from any one region at 4
4.7.2 Substitute density regions for geographical regions in 3.7.1 with density defined as the number of IP/DNS registrations per capita of population; could require both.
4.8 Voting Mechanics
4.8.1 Authentication of Voter – recommend authentication at registration
4.8.2 Ballots
4.8.3 Waiting Period
4.8.4 Quorum
4.8.5 Voting Method
4.8.6 Number of Directors elected at one time
4.9 Enforcement
4.9.1 Election Management Election Committee/Professional Nominating Committee
4.9.2 Fraud
4.10 Amendments and Ratification
4.10.1 Approvals
4.10.2 Referenda

5.0 Safeguards Against Capture

5.1 Defining “capture”

5.2 Who might capture, and how?

5.2.1 V1 risks capture by a small group of activists if enrollment is minimal or by capricious or unqualified candidates in a large field.  It prevents capture by institutions claiming to vote on behalf of large constituencies but risks becoming a government in itself
5.2.2 V2 risk is same as V1 plus possible enrollment of fraudulent organizations and duplicate enrollment by individuals who control organizations
5.2.3 V3 risk is from enrollment of fraudulent organizations and lack of direct input from end users; class structure prevents minority takeover.
5.2.4 V1-V3 risk being hacked
5.3 General and specific prevention
5.3.1 Periodic review of membership criteria
5.3.2 Election sampling for fraud
5.3.3 Higher fees
6.0 Questions
Q1: What is the purpose of the at-large membership?
Q2: How should that purpose relate to the purpose of ICANN as a whole?
Q3: If the at-large membership is distinct from ICANN as a whole, how would that distinction be defined?
Q4: What services should ICANN provide to its membership?
Q5: What resources should be devoted to the at-large membership? If any, will these resources derive from ICANN's general budget to should there be a separate mechanism?
Q6: Should SOs and/or their members be included in the at-large membership and/or be allowed to vote for at-large directors?
Q7: If SOs and/or their members were excluded from the at-large membership, how would that exclusion be regulated and enforced?
Q8:   Who should be included in the at-large membership? Anyone with an e-mail address
Q9:   How should developing interests be accommodated? Is the use of an ombudsman sufficient?
Q10: Should individuals, organizations, or both be included in the at-large membership? Both.
Q11: Should non-members be afforded a “voice” other than membership?
Q12: Should ICANN’s structure be based on a local-chapter model?
Q13: Should individual and organizational members be separated into different tiers?   No.
Q14: Should individual members and organizational members be given the same rights, and have their votes weighted the same?  Yes.
Q15: Should organizations with different sized memberships have the same voice?  Yes.
Q16: Should for-profit and non-profit organizations be treated the same? Yes.
Q17: What should the criteria for membership be? Verifiable identification
Q18: How should it be decided whether a party meets those criteria? No process.  Q19: How should parties verify their identities? Limited documentation Q20: How should privacy concerns associated with verification be addressed?
Q19: How should parties verify their identities?
Q20: How should privacy concerns associated with verification be addressed?
Q21: Should ICANN charge fees for membership, and if so, how high should those fees be?
Q22: Should all members pay the same fee?
Q23: How should fees be collected?
Q24: What should ICANN's responsibilities be towards its at-large members? What privileges should ICANN at-large membership afford?
Q25: What should the at-large membership's responsibilities be toward ICANN?
Q26: How will ICANN identify the legitimate interests of the at-large constituency?
Q27: How will ICANN define and recognize capture?
Q28: How should we distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate interests the resulting means of pursuit?
Q29: Are there parties or interests that should not be represented by ICANN?
Q30: What might be the illegitimate interests of a nation or a corporation?
Q31: Can member registration methods help to limit potential for capture?
Q32: How does prevention against capture balance against our interest in stability?
Q33:  Should voting be directly by the membership at large, or through an intervening representative body?
Q34: How should the term "conflicts of interest" be defined?
Q35: Should the commitments to provide Internet access and adequate personal time be defined in more particular terms, such as a specific number of hours? Would they have an unreasonably discriminatory impact?
Q36: In placing the burden of accurate communication on the candidate, rather than requiring ICANN to provide translation services, will this unduly constrain a representative sampling of candidates?
Q37: Should proof of adulthood include a statement of age or simply a claim of majority as defined by the laws of the country of citizenship?
Q38: Should other disqualifications be added, such as a concurrent term as a Board representative of a Supporting Organization or Nomination Committee, or proof campaign fraud? What standard of proof would be adequate?
Q39: How will nominations from organizations be solicited as required by V(9)(c) if           organizations are not members?
Q40: How much support would be sufficient to assure legitimate interest without discouraging less well-known candidates?
Q41: Will this effectively rule out all but those individuals fielded by organizations?
Q42: How would a Nom Com be selected?
Q43: May ICANN post a webpage with a list of candidates (and accompanying data suggested in the previous section on Criteria) without violating V(9)(e)? Does this the dictates of California law?
Q44: Would a listserv for campaign discussion violate V(9)(e)?
Q45: Could ICANN underwrite other campaign debate fora, including the use of streaming media?
Q46: What is ICANN's obligation, if any, to provide foreign language translations of campaign material to the membership?
Q47: Should the pool of voters be identical to the pool of members?
Q48: Should voting be limited to individuals?
Q49: Should corporations have voting status as members?
Q50: Should associations have voting status as members?
Q51: How should associations be identified?
Q52: Should organizations have one vote each or one vote per domain? One vote per employee/constituent or one vote per entity?
Q53: Should there be separate candidate pools for different kinds of organizations?
Q54: Should legal entities that are directly represented by the SOs be denied an additional vote in the at-large membership?
Q55: Should governments be permitted to vote on the same basis as other organizations?
Q56: Should the Bylaws be amended to provide for more simple voting procedures to effect regional representation?
Q57: In the event of a lack of candidates from a region, should residents be permitted to stand for election?
Q58: How shall the remainder of the nations be assigned?
Q59: Should balloting be public or private?
Q60: What is the most cost-effective method of balloting?
Q61: Is cumulative voting preferable to voting by ballot?
Q62: Should a waiting period be required between registration and exercise of the right to vote?
Q63: What percent of the membership should be required to constitute a valid quorum?
Q64: May electronic participation count toward the quorum requirement?
Q65: What voting method should be used to elect Directors?
Q66: Should specific proxies be permitted?
Q67. Should all of the at-large Directors be re-elected annually?
Q68: Should a permanent advisory committee be established to oversee election procedures?
Q69: Should voter authentication be part of membership registration or part of the voting process?
Q70: How much and what kind of member/voter authentication should be required?
Q71: What standards of proof should be required in cases of voter/candidate fraud?
Q72: Should candidates be disqualified upon proof of fraudulent qualifications?
Q73: What is the consequence to a candidate on whose behalf fraud has been committed?
Q74: Can the membership be excluded from exercising a right of approval Bylaw amendments?
Q75: Do the Bylaws need to be amended to conform to California law?
Q76: Should ratification/removals be conducted under terms identical to elections?
Q77: Should ICANN utilize outreach mechanisms for soliciting the opinion of the membership?

Diane Cabell
Berkman Center for Internet & Society