I think this article pointing out the conjunction of two further usurpations of the ICANN machinery is focusing on the issues. We have ex-staffer Mike Roberts and non-staffer Joe Sims calling the shots, it has always been that way, and it is getting worse. What power should either of these two individuals have? They are accountable to no-one.|
When necessary their worldview is passed on to the always willing ICANN staff for action. Should there be a BoD motion required they can go to the ExComm. To make ICANN appear open and transparent they can have full BoD meetings at which it is woefully apparent much of the BoD is unprepared, if not outright clueless. The BoD motions almost always go the way that Roberts and Sims want, and are almost always passed with little or no discussion or dissent. Isn't this rather surprising given the ICANN BoD and SO structure was ostensibly created to bring together dissimilar and even competing interests? The BoD is just a rubber stamp, a titular figurehead to divert attention away from the backroom boys. It seems to be obvious to all but the willfully blind that there is a major disconnect of what constitutes consensus.
Most all of these upper level folks couldn't write (or read and understand) a line of code to save themselves, yet we are supposed to believe that internet security needs to be vested in their hands, with one side effect being that any built-in brakes on the non-elected and non-appointed will be completely broken.
There are two main scenarios here. The first one is that the threats to internet security are much overblown, either because terrorists see more of a payoff in real world actions than in impeding our ability to reach dognoses.com, and/or because that part of the internet infrastructure that is within ICANN's purview have withstood prior attacks, including by some who are much more technically clued about how to do it than the terrorists appear to be. There are reports of terrorists taking flying lessons, not BIND 101. What's more, as terrorists use the internet to pass coded messages, why take it down? So they'd have to use less secure and more traceable means of communicating? That doesn't make any sense.
On the other hand we have a scenario where the dangers of attacks on the internet infrastructure are real. If that is the case then do we want this bunch, who can't do a proof of concept rollout of a few new TLDs without repeated (and continuing) pratfalls running the show? There are already government departments involved with internet security, to the point they are stepping on each other's toes. We also have some in the private security industry saying they're the ones who should be counted on. ICANN, no matter how optimistically one views them, can't be anything but a detriment to this mix. What is most surprising is that they would even want the responsibility. If someone does launch a successful cyberattack surely there will be some serious, even shrill, questions raised about how and why the ICANN backroom single point of failure has been mapped as authoritative over the previously decentralized internet, and it won't just be ICANNWatchers they'd have to answer to. -g