OpenDemocracy Interviews Esther Dyson
Date: Thursday August 15 2002, @04:51PM
Topic: The Big Picture

OpenDemocracy interviewed former ICANN Board Chair Esther Dyson (the article is dated Aug. 14, 2002 and is an update of last year's interview). Overall this is Dyson's most realistic assessment of the situation -- she says that now the only thing which can block the insider takeover of ICANN and the removal of the users' voice is firm action by the US Dept. of Commerce. It seems that ever-so-gradually the scales are falling from her eyes...although we're not there yet. But at this rate we may be inviting Esther Dyson to edit ICANNWatch in about three years.

Odd moment: Dyson seems to suggest that the ITU would be a device by which governments could or would try to impose content control one the Internet. Not that I'm a big fan of the ITU, which isn't a great place for end-user participation either, but where did that come from?

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Re: OpenDemocracy Interviews Esther Dyson
by rhill on Thursday August 15 2002, @10:46PM (#8526)
User #3320 Info |
Esther Dyson was quoted as stating:

"The US government then says, ‘You’re absolutely right. We’ll hand it over to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’ – which has been holding meetings, making moves and planning how to take it over."

It is a matter of public record that the ITU has not proposed to take over any of ICANN's functions. ITU Member States support the proposal that has been made, which is that ICANN and ITU could engage in discussions to explore ways in which further cooperation could take place.

Esther is also quoted as stating:

"ICANN will then become part of the ITU, which for years was basically lobbying against the very existence of the Internet."

ITU's current membership, whether industry or government, is promoting the adoption of Internet.

Esther is also quoted as stating:

"Then [ITU] could say, for example, ‘These particular web sites which criticise governments should lose their domain names because they are not in the public interest’;"

ITU does not interfere in matters which are more properly handled by national laws and regulations. For example, ITU has no documents related to "pink phones". Internet content regulation would appear to me to be a typical "national matter". National governments already make laws concerning Internet content and national courts have not hesitated to enforce national laws. Any claim that ITU might become involved in those areas does not match my knowledge of ITU.

Esther is also quoted as stating:

"The ITU will be successfully lobbied by trademark interests and, if it follows the US, trademark interests will impose much more restrictive rules than ICANN’s dispute-resolution policy"

ITU does not get involved in matters related to intellecutal property, which are handled by a different international treaty organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO). WIPO was instrumental in the preparation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) that was adopted by ICANN.

Esther is also quoted as saying:

"[If ITU is involved] There will be very, very little progress in anything."

If this were true, growth of the Internet would be in trouble in any case, because most of the base standards for the infrastructure on which the Internet runs (including modems and leased lines) are ITU-T Recommendations.

If the ITU-T really were incapable of favoring innovation, it would no longer exist. But membership by private companies is actually growing, so I believe that ITU-T is adding value, in particular by facilitating adoption of new technologies.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: OpenDemocracy Interviews Esther Dyson
by RFassett on Friday August 16 2002, @09:19AM (#8556)
User #3226 Info |
Dear Esther:

Slightly off topic, but if you are at all paying attention here, can you please confirm a report from those in attendence at Bucharest that you really said something to the affect that "not all governments believe in Democracy" as justification for the At-Large to back off on its quest for public elections of Board Members? And, if so, can you explain this rationale for those of us that were not able to attend the meeting in person?
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re: Sucker's Bet
by dtobias ( on Saturday August 17 2002, @11:57AM (#8565)
User #2967 Info |
Even if they're "too little, too late" to give her credibility among ICANN critics, her criticisms now are still important because, since she's an "insider", the fact that she's now criticizing the organization will be taken more seriously by the mainstream institutions than the rantings of critics from the outside.
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