by Kevin Murphy
ICANN continues to hide details of staff briefings to Board.
ICANN is continuing to redact large portions of its board briefing documents, despite the recommendations of its Accountability and Transparency Review team.
The organization has just published over 300 pages of documentation that was used to inform its board of directors before its meeting in Cartagena last month.
But large chunks of text have been whited out. Many of the redacted portions are also accompanied by a short explanation of why the text was redacted.
For example, the briefing papers suggest that ICANN planned to approve both its new top-level domains Applicant Guidebook and ICM Registry’s .xxx registry contract in Cartagena, but if you want to know what the proposed resolutions were, all you get is “Resolution Text Superceded” [sic] and a bunch of white space.
This seems to run contrary to the recommendations of the ATRT, which was set up in order to improve the transparency of ICANN’s decision-making.
The ATRT’s final report, published December 31, says (my emphasis):
“Commencing immediately, the Board should promptly publish all appropriate materials related to decision making processes – including preliminary announcements, briefing materials provided by staff and others, detailed Minutes, and where submitted, individual Directors’ statements relating to significant decisions. The redaction of materials should be kept to a minimum, limited to discussion of existing or threatened litigation, and staff issues such as appointments.”
It would be difficult to argue that the redacted text in this case relates to litigation or staff appointments.
The ATRT report also calls for ICANN to produce, before its San Francisco meeting in March, a policy statement outlining when it will redact information.
Judging by the latest set of published documents, it appears that this policy may be broader than the ATRT report envisioned.
Kevin Murphy is a freelance author covering domain names and writes DomainIncite.]