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Stuart Lynn and and Michael Froomkin on the Lynn restructuring proposal
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I added the following to the discussion:
I must respond to Stuart Lynn's comments, particularly his implication
that I want ICANN to remain unchanged.
Here's is what I said to the US Senate last year
( http://www.cavebear.com/cavebear/growl/index.htm ):
ICANN is ill designed,
has been ill operated,
has brought upon itself significant ill will within the Internet
and has greatly exceeded its proper scope.
I believe that significant restructuring of ICANN is needed so that the
corporation can fulfill its purposes and fulfill its obligations towards
its stated beneficiaries.
In other words, it is appropriate to restructure ICANN.
However, Stuart Lynn's plan is a bad plan, one that is designed to not
improve internet governance as much as it is to insulate ICANN's
spendthrift management from public control.
And as we have seen, ICANN's management is opposed to technical evolution
- they are neo-Luddites who oppose innovation in naming systems because,
like some midaevel peasant, they fear and lash out against that which they
do not understand. And there is much that they do not understand.
Let's look at ICANN's management in dealing with security - they've done
essentially nothing. Yet there is much that they could have done. Not
only did I propose a DNS monitoring system on my very first day in ICANN -
15 months ago - but I also put forth specific and concrete security steps
that ICANN could do quickly and expensively:
Yet ICANN has ignored every one of these suggestions.
And ICANN's failure to have a working at-large is the direct result of the
hostility of ICANN's management to the creation of an at-large. I
personally find it offensive to hear Stuart's claim that public processes
in ICANN are unworkable. The hubris of that assertion is not unlike that
of Marie Antoinette's famous utterance to the starving peasants of France.
It has been said that where there's a will there's a way. Well, inside
ICANN there isn't any will; in fact there is overt hostility to public
processes. One has only to look at how ICANN is still refusing to allow
me to inspect its records, a right that under California law is
"absolute", to see how far the reality is from management's assertions.
As for Stuart's claim that my ideas haven't convinced anyone - The reality
is quite the contrary. I won a public election - I have more people
backing and supporting me than do any of ICANN's management or any of the
non-elected board members. If one reads the commentary on the technical
mailing lists, one will see that ICANN in general, and Stuart's plan in
specific, have been soundly rejected.
Perhaps the fear of ICANN management of an at-large is based on the fact
that were that management to stand before the court of public opinion it
would be found gravely wanting.
ICANN's current management has clearly demonstrated its incapacity. They
have shown themselves to be unequiped to run an institution of internet
governance. Their failure should be reason to dismiss them so that they
may engage in other, safer endevours. Their ineptitude should not be a
reason to elevate them to an even higher role in which they will not only
be able to cause greater damage but do so with less public oversight.
Would anyone seriously suggest that the failure of Enron is a reason to
reincorporate Enron so that those same Directors and officers could
operate without shareholder restraint or real financial audits? Yet isn't
that what Stuart Lynn's plan does - uses ICANN's failures as an excuse to
elminate exactly those elements of ICANN that ICANN's management found
Yes, ICANN must be reformed; but it must be reformed to become more
accountable to the public and more closely constrained to a narrow
technical mandate. Stuart Lynn's plan is, however, a huge step in exactly
the opposite direction.
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