Response to Jonathan Cohen in Wired: ICANN Needs Another Long Trip
Date: Saturday November 23 2002, @12:23PM
Topic: The Big Picture

SimonHiggs writes "I would like to respond to Jonathan Cohen's totally irresponsible tirade about the failure of ICANN and the resulting ICANN-bashing in Wired's Rants & Raves. There are a number of factual errors in his world viewpoint."

  1. ICANN isn't an experiment. It has used that term as a self-defense mechanism against real-world accountability. It produces real-world policy decisions which directly affect every domain name holder and indirectly affect every Internet user. There's nothing experimental about it. It's a cop-out to justify non-compliance with it's principle mission.

  2. Historically, the United States was forced to step into the situation to stop the gTLD-MoU from wreaking havoc to the Internet. This "Big and Bold" move by the United States was to recognize the need for an accountable corporation to provide technical management of the Internet's key protocols, including IP addresses and domain names. Ironically, the same people that were behind the failed gTLD-MoU are now behind ICANN. ICANN has failed to fulfill the agenda that it was created to support, and instead supports the same agenda as the gTLD-MoU. The White Paper that the United States published as guidance has largely been ignored by ICANN. The Internet Society, which was the driving force behind the gTLD-MoU, can clearly be seen being paid off by ICANN (against far superior bids by substantially more qualified groups) for it's prior "contributions" with a TLD of it's own - .ORG.

  3. Jon Postel's vision for ICANN was absolutely nothing like the circus farce it has become. How do I know? I was one of the people that Jon consulted in creating ICANN. And I was also part of a group called the Open Root Server Confederation (ORSC) which attempted to bid on the original ICANN contract. Unfortunately, the contract has never been open to public bid. It was awarded, without a competitive review, to the IANA "function" (Jon Postel's legacy) in Marina Del Ray in a short-sighted attempt to provide minimum disruption to the Internet.

  4. Karl Auerbach was duly elected, within ICANN's own election process, to represent North America. And Mr Cohen obviously has a huge problem with that. It's not a technicality, it's a reality. The people picked Mr Auerbach fair and square. Does Mr Cohen's problem come from the fact Mr Auerbach wants to be accountable to his Constituents, or is it because Mr Auerbach simply recognizes his full duties as a director and isn't afraid - like Mr Cohen is - to exercise that duty.

  5. ICANN is structured so that the only voices that are heard are a small group of people. Mr Cohen sates that "eloquent spokespeople from all the Constituents that make up the Internet are clearly heard." Don't forget there is no longer a forum for the Internet Community to contribute - the @Large Membership has been disbanded. Not to mention the countless times where the various committee recommendations to the Constituencies have been ignored, whereby the Constituencies Council's recommendations are then ignored by the ICANN board, whereby the ICANN board is totally ignored by ICANN staff. These highly elitist statements and decisions show us that 99.9% of the Constituents and 100% of the Internet community are viewed as totally inelegant and unworthy of contributing to ICANN. We have a clearly defined Internet aristocracy and an unheard populace. To quote David Holtzman: "If we're going to have a world government, I want a revolution first."

  6. I also must take issue with Mr Cohen's statement that "Privacy and freedom of speech, are looked at differently from country to country and ICANN must be very careful not to stray into Policy decisions on such subjects that prefers one philosophy over another." What is missed here is that the principles of Human Rights are the same everywhere. The same ethical treatment is required in one jurisdiction as another. ICANN has an open and public policy of "looking the other way", not because of any established policy, but because it remains in power by it's own abuse of the principles of human rights over the Internet Community.

So my message to Jonathon Cohen is rather simple: Give me your shoes.

Best Regards,

Simon Higgs


"DNS needs stability and property rights for existing names and uses,
and therefore requires somebody who can manage, second, the DNS also
needs somebody with the ability to create revolutionary change and
expand the technology into international character sets,telephony
applications, and new TLDs, which will require someone who is
visionary and not afraid to turn the sacred cows of the International
Telecommunication Union and the Internet Society into hamburger if
they get in the way."
                               - Paul Mockapetris, January 23, 2001

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Re: Response to Jonathan Cohen in Wired: ICANN Nee
by KarlAuerbach on Monday November 25 2002, @07:22AM (#10276)
User #3243 Info |
I ran in in an open election. I won. I beat six other well qualified candidates in an election run under ICANN's own rules.

I am the only person on the ICANN board who obtained his/her seat by an open election in North America. I am sorry if other board members, particularly those board members who established the rules of that election, have a problem with that. But I am even more sorry that they have chosen to even further de-legitimize ICANN by eliminating those few vestiges of public accountability that ICANN once had.

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