ICANN: Regulator, or Technical Coordination Body?
Date: Thursday December 19 2002, @02:04PM
Topic: The Big Picture

Anonymous writes "A story on MSNBC talks of problems at a registrar, and ponders ICANN's responsibility, correctly coming to the conclusion that it's not up to ICANN to regulate consumer affairs. A quote from an ICANN spokesman said,

"We don't set customer service policies and there's nothing in the agreement that says you must take care of customers, answer the phone within 3 rings or anything like that," Halloran said. "(Registrars) are free to compete on customer service and on price. It's pretty much laissez-faire. ... Some people want us to be a consumer protection agency, but we're not. We're a technical coordination body."
If this is true (and I'd like to believe that it is), then how do you explain the fact that problems like these are exactly the reason given by Stuart Lynn to avoid creating any new unsponsored TLDs? Certainly, there's no difference between a registry and a registrar when it comes to customer service. Yet the problems used by Lynn as an excuse to eliminate unsponsored TLDs from consideration were all business or customer service issues. Technical issues, in fact, have all proven to be reasonably inconsequential."

ICANN likes to have its cake and eat it too. It calls itself a technical coordination body when that hat suits it, and it says that it must regulate for the good and stability of the Internet when restrictions suit it.

In short, ICANN does what it wants, and puts on the hat that best supports its unfounded decisions. At least, that's one person's opinion.

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Re: ICANN: Regulator, or Technical Coordination Bo
by rachelmacgregor on Monday December 23 2002, @12:51PM (#10670)
User #3082 Info
ICANN's brief should be limited and should concentrate on its narrow technical mission, BUT... BUT...

...if it is going to authorise Registries, and if it is going to accredit Registrars, then it should do everything reasonably within its power to establish decent principles which protect consumers and facilitate the distribution of the DNS in a fair and equitable manner (which is an essential aspect of its mandate and reason for being)... SO...

...if ICANN enters into Agreements with a Registry or accredits a Registrar, then it should make sure these agreements are as precise and clear as possible, so as to pre-empt consumer problems wherever possible...

...it is far easier to address these problems in advance (to protect people) than to just be what Dan Halloran calls "laissez-faire" and leave the poor consumer to pick up the pieces when they get ripped off... because it becomes incredibly difficult to pursue registrars or registries across international boundaries and most consumers just give up...

...it stands to reason that with ICANN's authority to delegate namespace via registries goes a RESPONSIBILITY as well... but if you look at the Agreements that were made with Neulevel or Afilias, it soon became obvious that these were useless to protect the process from all kinds of abuse...

...the dot.info Sunrise was a shambles, because the basic rules were so loose that people could exploit the weak Agreements to play the system... but also in that chaos what we saw were Registrars who also played the system and yet STILL carried on being accredited by ICANN...

So although ICANN has a fundamentally technical mandate (and should stick to it), if it is also going to take on the role of delegating namespace, selecting Registries, designing the TLD structure etc, then it HAS to take on the responsibilities which go with the role...

For Dan Halloran to say they choose to be "laissez-faire" is completely unacceptable, because it implies ICANN can operate in some wholly amoral market-driven vacuum... whereas they are actually taking on responsibility for the world's namespace, for procedures that impact on decent people, and for the fair distribution of names...

"Laissez-faire" is unacceptable

...If ICANN are to be narrowly tecnical, then the allocation of New TLDs to Registries (and the accreditation of Registrars) should be carried out by another body... on the other hand, if ICANN want the power and influence that the broader delegating authority gives it, then it should also accept the responsibilities that accompany the power...

Why was there such a disgraceful shambles accompanying last year's NewTLDs? Because ICANN failed to establish clear rules, because ICANN failed to implement clear rules, because ICANN was "laissez-faire" when consumers lost out, because ICANN was incestuously involved with its registrars and friends, and preferred to protect them rather than the whole worldwide public they were set up to serve.

They are dickheads.


Rachel Macgregor
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Re: ICANN: Regulator, or Technical Coordination Bo
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday December 24 2002, @05:19PM (#10699)
User #2810 Info
You'd all be happy to know that sometime ICANN accredited registrar bondi.llc has finally achieved its coveted ICANN accredited registration about a year after it claimed to have such, and nearly as extensive a period since the .biz and .info registries each separately listed that Bondi was an ICANN accredited registar, a position that ICANN staffers Dan Halloran and Ellen Sondheim variously denied, agreed to, prevaricated about, or ignored, for most of that period.

Regardless of what accreditation means in the ICANN dictionary, if the ICANN staffers charged with overseeing that accreditation are so unwilling or unforthcoming about who is accredited, then really, what good is it? Two well-paid people can't manage a less than 200 entry database over a yearly period? C'mon!

You find a bit more of the Bondi dossier here, as opposed to at icann.org. -g

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Re: ICANN: Regulator, or Technical Coordination Bo
by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday December 19 2002, @08:46PM (#10609)
User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
An anonymous writer criticizing somebody else for being anonymous... that's rich.
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