Stuart Lynn and and Michael Froomkin on the Lynn restructuring proposal
Date: Wednesday February 27 2002, @09:28AM
Topic: ICANN Staff and Structure

Dave Farber has put together a mini-debate, well worth reading, on the merits of Stuart Lynn's latest. In the first salvo, Lynn urges that "we should leave the red herring of the original plan for ICANN outside the room," and explains that he is unpersuaded by the argument that "ICANN should retreat to a very narrow technical mission." He reemphasizes his position that "the original noble 'experiment' -- and it was noble -- to see whether a purely private entity could successfully manage a critical (and increasingly more critical every day) global resource simply will not work."

Farber invited ICANNWatch's own Michael Froomkin to respond. Froomkin's answer begins: "The founding agreements that led to ICANN are anything but a red herring. Of course the White Paper is not sacred, but there was near consensus around it, a near consensus which was the result of a great deal of discussion in very varied communities. The Lynn paper seeks to throw it all out, pretty much single handedly, and does so in a way that does violence to the substance and spirit of the original deal -- and without much thought for what motivated it either."

Read the whole thing here and here.

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Re: Stuart Lynn and and Michael Froomkin on the Ly
by hofjes on Wednesday February 27 2002, @01:35PM (#5108)
User #60 Info

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment, in response to the Lynn proposal, posted at . However, I would like to see more of a focus on due process in your position. Though you speak of the checks and balances problem with the system Lynn endorses, nobody has mentioned that the public is bereft of recourse against bad decisions.

ICANN is doing the job of a government agency. However, parties against whom ICANN has grievances, and parties who have grievances against ICANN, do not have any legal authority to turn to for support. Unlike ICANN, real government agencies must answer to the law.

For example, when the FTC asserts consumer protection violations, it must sue the party alleged to be in violation of the FTC Act in a federal district court. Consequently, the party against whom the FTC has grievances has a right to defend itself in court pursuant to due process laws. The FTC cannot simply issue its own injunctions and sanctions.

More analogously, the FCC can impose sanctions, but the FCC licensee has a right to challenge the FCC's order in a federal district court.

On the other hand, when “IANA” believes a ccTLD administrator is doing a poor job, ICANN can pull the plug on the registry, and award the delegation to a new party who pays a hefty fee. Maybe ICANN's vice-president gets a kickback (which wouldn't be illegal). The now-former registry operator has no recourse.

Lynn's proposal solidifies this government sanctioned structure which defies constitutional reason. I believe this is the most important public policy for opposing Lynn's proposal.

The next thing that may happen is a private Trade Commission Corporation. The board will be comprised of state representatives, and some board members who appoint and re-appoint themselves. The Trade Commission Corporation will have the right to allege consumer protection violations and impose fines and injunctions against companies, without any burden to make a legal case.

Similarly, the Communications Commission Corporation will be formed. The board will also be comprised of state representatives, and some board members who appoint and re-appoint themselves. When Clear Channel Communications proposes to the Corporation that it operate every radio station in Miami, the Corporation may then revoke all licenses to the current licensees in favor of Clear Channel. Of course, Clear Channel will pay a substantial fee. Maybe the Communication Corporation's general counsel will get a kickback (which wouldn't be illegal if it were a private corporation). The former licensee will have no recourse.

I join in your opposition to Lynn's proposal for the reasons you articulated, but more importantly because of the due process violations the government (and the proposed several nations) endorse(s).

So frustrating.
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Re: Stuart Lynn and and Michael Froomkin on the Ly
by KarlAuerbach on Wednesday February 27 2002, @02:23PM (#5109)
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