Strange Analogy Dept.
Date: Monday May 01 2006, @07:57PM
Topic: The Big Picture

Is ICANN a Hobbit? asks law professor Tim Wu:

Carol Cosgrove-Sacks, until recently the United Nations’ Director of Trade, asked whether an Internet that increasingly reflects the will of individual nations, as our book suggests, won’t inevitably need a more globally responsive domain name system. In other words, she asked whether, in the long run, ICANN just cannot survive.

Esther Dyson, who happened to be at the event, gave a most interesting response. “Domain name governance” she said (and I paraphrase) “is like the One Ring. You can’t trust anyone with its power.”

While she didn't say this, ICANN under this logic is basically like a hobbit -- an organization too weak to be a threat to anyone.

"ICANN has two things going for it" said Dyson, "it lacks power, and it lacks legitimacy. If ICANN tried to do anything controversial, the U.S., Europe, Japan, and the world internet community would resist and put a stop to it."

So is that a good enough answer? Is a decent result enough, or does the process matter?

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ICANN has gobs of power
by KarlAuerbach on Monday May 01 2006, @10:11PM (#16744)
User #3243 Info |
ICANN has billions of dollars of power.

ICANN has imposed an arbitrary cost upon domain name buysers that cumulates to hundreds of millions of dollars per year. If that isn't power than I want some of that lack of power!

ICANN has excluded willing and able entrapreaneurs from trying their hand at running domain name businesses - as the folks at IOD/.web. The ability to exclude people from engaging in business everywhere in the world is a significant power.

ICANN has imposed a rule of trademark uber alles - the UDRP - and created a system of kangaroo courts to enforce it. This ability to enact a worldwide law that can supersede the laws of individual nations is a significant power.

ICANN has decided that domain name owners around the world must have no privacy despite the privacy laws of the nations in which those owners reside. That's a strong exercise of plenary power.

Those who say that ICANN has now power are simply ignorring that the ox that is being gored is that of the public. If ICANN's horns were pointed at the intellectual property industry then we'd be hearing screams about how ICANN has far too much authority.

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