• At-Large.nyc

last modified March 5, 2017 by tomlowenhaupt

Connecting.nyc Inc. expanded its mission in 2012 by entering into a relationship with ICANN as an At-Large Structure.


Multistakeholder Governance

The current standard in Internet governance is the Multistakeholder Governance Model. It exists when participation in policy development is open to industry, civil society, government, technical and academic experts, and the general public.

One critique of the Multistakeholder Model was provided by Paul R. Lehto, J.D., in October 2012:

In Multistakeholderism, those who would be Lobbyists become Legislators, & nobody else has a vote.

In a democracy, it is a scandal that lobbyists have so much influence that they even write the drafts of laws. But in multistakeholder situations they take that scandal to a whole new level: those who would be lobbyists in a democracy (corporations, experts, civil society) become the legislators themselves, and dispense with all public elections and not only write the laws but pass them, enforce them, and in some cases even set up courts of arbitration that are usually conditioned on waiving the right to go to the court system set up by democracies.

A vote is just a minimum requirement of justice. Without a vote, law is just force inflicted by the wealthy and powerful. Multi-stakeholderism is a coup d’etat against democracy by those who would merely be lobbyists in a democratic system.

Elements of Good Governance 


Engaging .nyc Individual Internet Users
in ICANN Processes

The following are among the steps we will be taking to engage those in the .nyc TLD realm in the ICANN's planning processes.

  • Engagement
    • Design a framework for participating in At-Large/ICANN processes.
    • Create convenient channels for connecting to this framework.
      • Website
      • Wiki
      • Blog
      • Social Media
    • Invite participation in these channels via:
      • Social Media
      • The CnI mailing list
  • At-Large.city
  • Google Adwords
.NYC Advisory Board

With the city's formation of a .NYC Community Advisory Board in February 2013, another path was begun for New Yorkers to have local access to Internet governance. 

Between the multi-stakeholder At-Large and the appointed .NYC Advisory Board, small measures of democracy are beginning to permeate the global Net.


Tasks to be explored as At-Large Structure roles.

  • Governance
  • Best practices
  • How Internet users can maintain privacy
  • Make Internet governance more democratic.
    • Assist local organizations become At-Large Structures


  • Goal: Seeing that a “city-TLD path” is established for the 300+ cities with a million or more population that will soon be considering the acquisition of their TLDs.
    • Conversations with ICANN leadership.
  • Goal: Creating a path presenting the sum of experiences of the initial batch of city-TLD recipients.
    • Organizing effort that provides budget to gather and present this information.
  • Goal: Formulating review processes that assure that applicant cities have received a comprehensive understanding of the ways a TLD can influence the breadth of their social and economic life.
    • ICANN/IANA review process.
  • Goal: Creating a structure that assures cities have an effective means of communicating their common and disparate needs to one another and the Internet governance ecology.
    • The Communisphere Project
    • U.N.






























On Sunday, October 14, 2012, ICANN’s then new CEO, Fadi Chehade, addressed ICANN's At-Large Advisory Community at the organization's 45th meeting in Toronto. Mr. Chehade stated that ICANN's ability to engage individual internet users in the ICANN governance process through the At-Large Structure provided legitimacy and the basis for its role as a public interest organization. And that were it not for the At-Large, ICANN would be nothing more than a trade association.

Connecting.nyc Inc. Joins ICANN's At-Large Structure

In November 2012, with the end of its role advocating for .nyc's development as public interest infrastructure  approaching, Connecting.nyc Inc. took a step toward its ongoing role becoming At-Large Structure, formalizing and strengthening the role it has played with ICANN for the previous 6 years. To prepare for this new role we began an exploration of issues that the city's individual Internet users might want to bring to ICANN's attention, and of channels to facilitate New Yorkers engagement with the ICANN's processes. (See 'Engaging Individual Internet Users in ICANN's Processes' sidebar.)

New Yorkers and Internet Governance 

The Internet increasingly influences or even controls our lives (see code is law), yet the opportunity for New Yorkers to participate in shaping its operation has been limited. While the Internet can connect one neighbor to another, its true power emerges from its global reach. Making this possible requires a complex array of standards and agreements administered by nearly a dozen organizations (see a list and map). One key organization in the Internet ecology is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number, commonly called ICANN.

At-Large's History in ICANN Governance

ICANN was formed as a California not-for-profit corporation in November 1998. Article V, Section 4 of its orginal bylaws (para. iv) stated: "Nine (9) At Large Directors, selected pursuant to a process to be established by a majority vote of all the At Large Board members of the Initial Board" - http://www.icann.org/en/about/governance/bylaws/bylaws-06nov98-en.htm#V. Its first "representative" board of directors had 15 members, 10 selected by the TLD industry and 5 by individual Internet users. These 5 were to be chosen via a democratic election, with one member selected from each ICANN region: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, and South America. In 2000 an election was held to select these 5 members for two year terms.

Responding to a variety of criticisms, the election process was scrapped and in November 2001 an At Large Membership Committee, chaired by Carl Bildt, recommended the establishment of an At Large Supporting Organization, ALSO, with the right to send six voting directors to the board: http://archive.icann.org/en/committees/at-large/final-report-05nov01.htm#_toc523422641.

But in 2002, as part of the general ICANN reform process, the At Large elections and the establishment of an ALSO with six regional councils were abolished.

In their place an "At Large Advisory Committee" (ALAC) with five Regional At Large organizations (NALOs), a certification process for At Large Structures (ALSs), and the establishment of a Nominating Committee (NomCom) which would send eight directors to the board. The NomCom got five voting At Large Members. The chair of ALAC was invited to serve as a non-voting liaison in the Board.

In the preparation for ATLAS I meeting in Mexico in 2008 (a meeting of all the At Large Structures), the At Large called for two voting ALAC Board members. An ICANN reform provided one.

June 2014 will see an ATLAS II meeting in London. ICANN needs a strong message from ATLAS II if the multistakeholder model is to be sustained under its tutelage. Connecting.nyc Inc. has called for reverting to 5 regional members elected by the At-Large Structures to serve on the ICANN board. Others have pointed to the importance of reassembling scattered influence of individual Internet users now scattered and siloed in At-Large, Civil Society, NCUC, NPOC, the private sector, technical community, and governments.

The At-Large Board Member Selection Process

The following presents the process by which the At-Large member to the ICANN board of directors often referred to as Seat 15, is selected.


In 2010, ICANN's governance structure was again modified with the At-Large Structure empowered to choose one voting member of the board of directors. This At-Large board member is selected by a 15 member At-Large Advisory Committee. Five of its members are chosen by a nominating committee and 10 by the Regional At-Large Organizations. The members of these Regional Organizations are selected by At-Large Structures.


As of October 2013 there were 184 At-Large Structures globally, and 25 in the North American region. Connecting.nyc Inc. is one of those 25 Structures

The Realm of the .nyc Domain

We are exploring ways to engage the public (presumed to be all Internet users) in the ICANN's governance process, identifying issues and roles that are within the realm of the At-Large, for example:

  • As Internet access has become vital to the use and participation of city systems, it has become a fundamental human need and right. How is universal service achieved?
  • What entity advances the Net's role in providing basic tenets such as freedom of speech and the right to secure and private communication?
  • Are notions of competition and net neutrality issues vital to Individual Internet Users?
  • "Your money or your livelihood!" Why can't you call 911 upon receiving ransomware?
  • What is the At-Large's role in promoting privacy?

Relating to the Internet's role in fostering local economic and social betterment:

  • How do we use the Net to foster local cultures and languages and ward off homogenization?
  • How do we educate residents on the benefits of buying local and supporting local business models?
  • Where does the Net fit in rejuvenating the tourism industry?
  • What role for the At-Large in educating about the responsibilities that lead to the City of Trust

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) identified a range of issues that might fall within its purview (from Council Resolution 1305 Annex 1 at the seventh Plenary):

  • Multilingualization of the Internet Including Internationalized (multilingual) Domain Names
  • International Internet Connectivity
  • International public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses
  • The security, safety, continuity, sustainability, and robustness of the Internet
  • Combating Cybercrime
  • Dealing effectively with spam
  • Issues pertaining to the use and misuse of the Internet
  • Availability, affordability, reliability, and quality of service, especially in the developing world
  • Contributing to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries
  • Developmental aspects of the Internet
  • Respect for privacy and the protection of personal information and data
  • Protecting children and young people from abuse and exploitation)

    At-Large Participation

    Our At-Large activities within ICANN will include activities such as:

    • "At-Large.city" - On October 16, 2012 we presented to the At-Large Outreach Subcommittee a new path to engage individual Internet users in the ICANN’s governance processes that focused on the 38 cities that applied for their TLDs in 2012. It proposed that the “At-Large.city” domain names - for example, At-Large.AbuDhabi, At-Large.paris, At-Large.nyc - be reserved for use by individual Internet users in their respective cities, providing common channels for engagement and participation by city residents in the ICANN processes. The NARALO is advancing this idea. Next steps:
      • Coordinate with At-Large Outreach
      • Facilitate cross-city connections
      • Share Best Practices
    • Metrics Working Group - We contributed to a conversation leading to Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Metrics for the New gTLD Program per AoC Review and have joined the Metrics Working Group.
      • ATLAS II - We are participating in shaping the June 2014 At-Large Summit conference to be held in London, focusing on the role of the At-Large Structures with city-TLDs.
      • Federal Trade Commission - November 19 , 2013 Hearing on Internet of Things and privacy.

        Key .nyc Pages