ICANN Draft Plan to Implement GAC Policies on Grabbing .info Country Names
Date: Sunday February 24 2002, @10:52AM
Topic: ICANN Meetings

ICANN has just published a Draft Report of the .info Country Names Discussion Group.

Since the report pretty well adopts the GAC line and ignores the DNSO's suggestions, there is of course no possible way that ICANN can call this a consensus policy, which it isn't. In fact, adopting this GAC plan in the teeth of the contrary recommendation of the DNSO would go against the exact wording of ICANN's Bylaws which say that supporting organizations have "primary responsibility for developing and recommending substantive policies regarding those matters falling within their specific responsibilities." One can only conclude that the Committee's members -- Vint Cerf (Chair), Rob Blokzijl, Alejandro Pisanty, Nii Quaynor, Amadeu Abril i Abril, Paul Twomey, Christopher Wilkinson, Len St. Aubin, Mohd Sharil Tarmizi, Antenor C. V. Correa, Keith Besgrove, Susanne Maedrich, and Amy Page (Hmmm. Where's the end-user or consumer representative there? What open and transparent process produced this group? How open and transparent were its meetings and deliberations?) -- either don't understand the purpose and spirit of Bylaws (unlikely), simply don't give a damn about the reason for this part of Bylaws (increasingly likely), or have , at the urging of the staff, mixed up what they have the raw power to do with what they should do (story of ICANN, really).

Almost three weeks warning (I stand corrected on the dates) is actually pretty good by ICANN standards. If past form is any guide, thought, expect ICANN to drop even bigger bombshells with less advance warning between now and the start of the upcoming ICANN meeting in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, March 14. Update: You want bombshell, we got bombshell.

On the specific legal question of whether ICANN can legally take this action in the face of the DNSO's contrary position, not being a California non-profits lawyer I have to fall back on generalities. I imagine there's an argument to be made that the Board has to have some discretion to act; I doubt, for example that it lacks the power to modify DNSO suggestions, even when the matter falls entirely in the subject matter jurisdiction of the DNSO and no other supporting organization. But even if ICANN's adoption of this policy were technically legal in the teeth of the Bylaws -- a question on which others can better opine -- it would be one of the most brazen breaches yet of the principles ICANN claims to live by.

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