ICANN Bid for Independent Status Gets Cool Reception
Date: Saturday March 31 2007, @11:56AM
Topic: ICANN Staff and Structure

ICANN's new President's Strategy Committee Report makes public for the first time what insiders have been muttering about for almost a year: ICANN has a great new idea for avoiding all accountability. The new brainstorm is to get itself re-classified as an "independent international organization" like those paragons of rectitude the International Olympic Committee and FIFA.

The trouble is that the US is not likely to agree to the sort of host country agreement ICANN would want, one that would essentially shield it from almost any liability or judicial supervision. (Not surprisingly, the lack of accountability at the IOC and FIFA created a climate for scandal and peculation.)

ICANN's current official position is that it would like to have this status while remaining in the US. The US government, however, is likely to be very very cool to this suggestion. On Thursday I participated in a panel at the American Society of International Law on "The Future of Internet Governance" with Prof. Tim Wu, former ICANN chair Esther Dyson, and Ambassador David A. Gross, from the U.S. Department of State,

During the event, I asked Ambassador Gross what the US position was likely to be on ICANN's idea of becoming an independent international organization. While cautioning that he had not read the strategy paper, and thus couldn't comment on it directly, Ambassador Gross said that both the US and many other governments would find any proposal which did not have a role for any governments akin to that which the US currently plays as "very unsatisfactory". He seemed very very sure about that.

Could it be that this is all part of a plan to move ICANN to Switzerland? After all, that's one of the rare places where such organizations tend to live. Only Switzerland is likely to give ICANN what it wants.

So what happens after the US refuses to assent to ICANN's bid for legal immunity? Will it move to Geneva?

Incidentally, it was spooky how much Dyson now sounds like an ICANNWatch editor...

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Pick up the phone!
by Kieren McCarthy on Saturday March 31 2007, @04:10PM (#16922)
User #4206 Info
This is getting ridiculous.

Now you appear to be implying that the President's Strategy Committee is secretive. You even ran a long post of it [icannwatch.org] - on this site - back in August last year - more than six months ago.

I have been trying for ages to get people involved in this - I have spoken to lots of people and I have posted news stories about the committee and where it was going.

I have even personally phoned into two open and public meetings of the committee and asked questions about it. Most recently I created an entire website that had as its first event a president's strategy committee meeting and where anyone could add comments and ask questions that would then be put directly and publicly to the committee.

If there is no other input, what on earth do you expect a committee to do except run with what it has come up with?

Don't start complaining after the event and - yet again - suggest that there is some kind of conspiracy at work. If you don't like something, say so when people are actually having the meeting, not once they have held three meeting public meetings and heard nothing back.

I wish ICANNWatch would switch its focus to involving people rather than complaining about what comes out after a massive lack of involvement.

If you want any help, if you can suggest what could be done to improve public participation, if you can suggest changes to improve the process, please just contact me.

General manager of public participation, ICANN
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
ICANN's institutional fantasy
by jrlevine on Tuesday April 03 2007, @08:59AM (#16938)
User #4218 Info | http://weblog.johnlevine.com/
During the two years I spent on the ALAC, ICANN's board an staff acted out a shared fantasy that it was just a matter of time, and not very much time, until the DOC wrapped up its contracts with ICANN at which point ICANN would become master of its own destiny, subject to nobody but the bottom-up consensus based processes that have brought us such acclaimed public successes as the Add Grace Period, the .MUSEUM TLD, the Verisign sellout^Wsettlement, and the Registerfly collapse and likely loss of all their registrant info.

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community, the USDOC has made it quite clear that they're never letting go of ICANN, and in view of the alternatives, that's OK with anyone who depends on the Internet to actually work.

So this particular exercise is consistent with ICANN's past behavior, but since it has no chance of changing anything, I wouldn't waste a lot of time getting upset about it.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]

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