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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    ICANN Staff and Structure Mike Roberts: An Appreciation
    posted by michael on Friday March 16 2001, @04:03AM

    Mike Roberts stepped down as 'temporary' CEO of ICANN this week, leaving the stage to M. Stuart Lynn, who must have one of the easiest acts in history to follow.

    ICANN's resolution of thanks was somewhat less fulsome than its bouquet to Becky Burr. The Roberts resolution of thanks states in part,

    Since October 25, 1998, Mike has devoted 869 days, 13 hours, and 25 minutes of unbroken effort to the ICANN cause;

    His energy, fortitude, and good humor in the face of overwhelming demands have been essential to the successful establishment of ICANN; and

    As a direct result of his efforts ICANN is now universally acclaimed as "not as bad as it could be";

    Damning with faint praise? You be the judge. Read on for a few pearls from the wit and wisdom of Mike Roberts–the man who, more than anyone except perhaps Joe Sims, is responsible for the widespread belief that ICANN has contempt for and freezes out anyone who doesn't either agree with it or credibly threaten to sue it.

    Mike Roberts in his own words

    undated: "ICANN has been created to assume responsibility for policy development and administration of a number of technical management responsibilities associated with Internet domain names and addresses and protocols. We are not a service organization except to the minor extent required by administration of our policy responsibilities."

    [said long before new.net....] Jun 10, 1999: "The system of [currently thirteen] functionally identical root servers set up by Jon Postel is operated on a voluntary basis by a disparate group of international organizations with a common interest in seeing the Internet function well. In addition to the checks and balances inherent in this distributed functionality and responsibility, there are the further checks provided by the fact that the major ISP's ultimately have the power to determine what name servers are actually used in the Internet. Various efforts to create a different root environment, such as alternic, have thus far failed because the leaders of the ISP industry see more value in a transparent and interoperable Internet than in one in which multiple root systems vie for attention."

    [12 Oct 1999 (email to the Harvard [names] list - archive currently offline)]: "it became clear to the staff and to the Board that direct election of Directors from the At Large constituency would not result in an effective voice for users,"

    Feb. 16, 2000: "...if you look at the Rhonda Hauben stuff, she says ‘you guys are really engaged in unethical and immoral conduct because you fail to recognize your responsibility to make cyberspace a better place for humanity.' Well, that's her point of view and that's certainly not what we're trying to do. Whether or not it's a valid point of view, we're not trying to do that."

    [In response to a petition signed by Lawrence Lessig and others] May 12, 1999: "The report is done, and there's absolutely no reason at this point that delay would advance anyone's interest. I think it's very unconstructive and sort of juvenile to be so arrogant as to take the position that this work is not worthy of substantive comment."

    Sep 23, 1999 (quoted): "Yes, it's true, the solution space for new gTLD's doesn't include any more grants of monopoly windfall profits.

    "But that doesn't have anything to do with me or with ICANN.

    "It's against the law."

    January 6, 2000: A domain name that ends in a dash is ... "a bad idea because it just generates consumer confusion. It doesn't have any utility in the user space."

    June 2, 2000: [On learning that Julia Roberts had won a UDRP decision despite not having a formal trademark.] "It's delightful her lawyer did it this way, ... [Julia] Roberts is not exactly hurting in the wallet, yet she chose this because it's inexpensive and timely."

    July 16, 2000: "Well-meaning people all over the world are mistakenly calling this a global election."

    July 30, 2000: "I think your group [CPSR] needs to self-assess how it can promote its views in a more mainstream manner. Much of the manifesto discussed in Yokohama is wide-eyed utopianism. Railing away at ICANN because it doesn't meet some ideal model of democracy is likely to be about as effective as complaining that the US Congress is too dominated by the money of those who finance political campaigns."

    Nov. 16, 2000 (quoting transcript): "I would like to personally say that I find the triple i thing not acceptable as a string for the TLD space. ... it's essentially unpronounceable. It has no mnemonic value. It is confusing. It says nothing about what that might actually mean."

    January 15, 2001: "Also, every citizen on the Net feels they have been empowered to challenge what [ICANN does], and I think we should be able to get on with our jobs without organized undermining of what we're doing."

    March 1, 2001: "Hans [Klein]- this sort of foolishness is just going to confirm the total irrelevancy of your efforts in the minds of the people willing to give the U.S. liberals another chance to participate effectively in At Large."

    Please feel free to share your favorites...

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  • undated
  • Jun 10, 1999
  • Feb. 16, 2000
  • petition
  • May 12, 1999
  • Sep 23, 1999
  • January 6, 2000
  • June 2, 2000
  • July 16, 2000
  • July 30, 2000
  • Nov. 16, 2000
  • January 15, 2001
  • March 1, 2001
  • bouquet to Becky Burr
  • Roberts resolution of thanks
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