Reading the Draft Registrars proposals, I'm struck by this extraordinary assumption that Registrars and Registries should have so much executive authority on the Board of ICANN - notwithstanding obvious commercial conflicts of interests that exist if they participate in decision-making processes and have the right to vote.
Surely commonsense and honesty would dictate that if the Registrar and Registry communities want their expertise and interests represented in the way the DNS is administered then their place in the ICANN structures should be reserved for advisory capacities - not voting and executive roles when many of their commercial interests are at stake.
Furthermore, the Registrars draft makes no protest at ICANN's abandonment of elected representatives for the millions of ordinary worldwide internet users. It is extraordinary that when there are hundreds of millions of ordinary internet users and a handful of mostly small registrar companies, their proposals offer much more executive influence to this tiny vested interest than to the real internet community for whom the internet should really be administered.
Looking at the Registrars draft proposals, individual registrants (who are a very large constituency of internet users) are listed as only ONE out of 14 categories for possible "nomination" to ten proposed 'At Large' places on the Board. If interpreted and projected in this way in real terms, this might result in only ONE ordinary registrant on a Board of 15.
And even that ONE individual would not be publicly elected but would have to be approved by a "Nominating Committee" where registrars/registries hold a third of the positions.
Why? Particularly given the potential for conflict of interest, shouldn't Registrars/Registries be limited to merely advisory capacities? And why should they have any voting powers or say in the kind of ordinary user or individual registrant that is "nominated"?
The Proposals from the Registrar Constituency (if adopted) re-inforce ICANN's determination to keep out elected representatives of the public who in their hundreds of millions invest in the Internet, finance ICANN, develop the Internet, and use the Internet.
This Registrars Draft embraces the idea of "Nominating Committees" to "vet" the kind of people who are acceptable for the Board. And at the end of the day, it seems to offer the mass of ordinary users about ONE out of 15 places (a carefully "vetted" ONE) who can be easily marginalised, outvoted and rendered powerless.
This Draft Proposal is therefore unacceptable. The Registrar community should be limited to "Advisory" capacities. Their commercial interests should exclude them from executive positions inside ICANN. The millions of internet users among the general public have a right to a central role and representation at the heart of ICANN.
This statement - and any responses - can be found at this ICANN mailing list.
[Editor's note: For more by Richard Henderson see his page, The Internet Challenge , concerning ICANN's failure to intervene over registrar fraud, and his campaign for mandatory "Best Practices" for Registrars and protection for the consumer . -mf]