Define your terms, or at least 'democracy'. UUNET is a democracy of sorts, it has a Board of Directors. Do they not vote? It has investors, do they have no say? Ditto for most private companies of some size. And even more ditto for non-profit foundations. The companies and foundations are also subject to the legislation of governments, which are in turn a democracy of sorts, at least in many countries. ICANN is a democracy of sorts, it has a Board which votes, it has committees which vote, it has stakeholder organizations which mostly vote, it even had (non-)members which voted, and which was largely a success despite how the ICANN anti-democratic forces spin it. And even when it goes private next year, it will be more or less subject to governments, much as some within ICANN will fight that.|
What are you proposing as an alternative, a dictatorship? Why should ICANN be a democracy? Because they are building a global government with global laws and with a global police force. Leaving that in the hands of a dictatorship (and ICANN has strayed into that area too often for my liking) seems like a Very Bad Thing. I agree that they should be limited to a few well-defined functios, but that is not the reality, ICANN is going in the other direction and growing like Topsy and shows no sign of slowing down.
Even Bradford Brown, former chief counsel for technology for the DoC and now Chair of the National Center for Technology and Law, is concerned [com.com] that, given ICANN's past track record of "terrible decisions", the US administration should think long and hard about where ICANN is going. Giving ICANN less oversight, more autonomy, less checks and balances, more non-democratic (if not dictatorial) power, is a recipe for disaster. As Winston Churchill approximately said, democracy is a terrible form of government, but it is better than all the others. -g