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

    ICANN Staff and Structure Lynn to At-Large and Non-Commercial Interests in ICANN: Drop Dead
    posted by michael on Sunday February 24 2002, @01:21PM

    ICANN CEO Stuart Lynn today released the official version of the plan Joe Sims was peddling to the European Union last week. We'll post a more detailed commentary in a day or two, but in the mean time suffice it to say that the plan envisages having 5 of 15 Board members selected directly by governments (plus an ex officio GAC member) and the rest by registrars, registries, plus a few Board-squatter-like ringers chosen by the ICANN Board or staff.

    The main justifications offered for this shift are that in order to be "strong" ICANN needs more money, more support, and less "process". Of course, promises Lynn, ICANN's "core values of openness and broad participation" should be "preserved". (Don't laugh. It's not funny.) "Meaningful participation" will be achieved by cutting out any direct representation for end-users.

    ICANN was supposed to save the Internet from governments; since major interest groups such as the ccTLDs and RIRs won't do what ICANN wants, and won't pay it, ICANN now turns to governments to save it from the Internet.

    See the Press Release here, and then look at the entire brazen thing.
    [Updated with links to early news coverage.]

    One question which comes immediately to mind is to what extent the EU, the US, and other major players have bought into this takeover plan. There are a lot of others, too....

    One obstacle to drafting a properly thoughtful rely, alas, is that ICANN has so debased the language. Of course we want an "open and transparent" process. It's just that when ICANN comes promising openness, transparency, consultation, and other good things, one cannot help but read those promises in the shadow of how ICANN's staff has implemented those same promises and slogans for three years. There's a real 1984 situation here when it comes to nomenclature.

    PS. Lynn asserts, preemptively, that the folks who will oppose this plan are "those whose thinking is limited to self-interest in a narrow sense." Looks like we're in for a very civil debate here indeed.

    Update: Links to early news coverage.
    Reuters; Associated Press; Dow Jones;

    Fullest coverage in Reuters:

    `We've just had the equivalent of the president of the United States abolishing Congress,'' said Karl Auerbach, who represents North American Internet users. ....

    Lynn said he had not filled in the specifics of his proposal, such as how the government board seats would be filled, but that he would like decisions to be made quickly.

    ``This proposal is focusing on the what, not the how,'' Lynn said. ``What I have done is pointed out to the board that we don't have the luxury of time.''

    Auerbach and fellow board member Andy Muller-Maguhn, who represents European Internet users, said Lynn's proposal aroused little debate at the meeting.

    ``I would have expected each board member to have several questions about how it would work and so on, but that was not the case,'' Muller-Maguhn said.

    Rob Courtney, a policy analyst with the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, said that ICANN was set up because governments were seen as too slow and out of touch with modern technology to administer the Internet.

    ``If you're going to have governments involved, what is the rationale for having ICANN?'' Courtney said.

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