Forwarded from: Jay D. Dyson <jdysonat_private> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Courtesy of Rick Forno. (And if you're not outraged, you'd best check your pulse.) Net standards chief proposes overhaul By Reuters February 24, 2002, 9:00 PM PT The president of the Internet's top standards-setting body proposed a radical restructuring of the organization on Sunday, hoping to settle questions of legitimacy that have dogged it from the start. M. Stuart Lynn, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), suggested at a closed-door board meeting that the group abandon the practice of allowing Internet users to elect some board members and instead appoint government representatives to represent everyday users. The move would amount to a fundamental change in the nature of ICANN, which was created in 1998 in order to transfer technical management of the Internet from the U.S. government to an independent, international body. Lynn said the overhaul would create a more efficient, stable organization that could focus on managing the system that guides Web browsers and e-mail around cyberspace, rather than one preoccupied with its own internal workings. Internet users would be better represented through their national governments than through expensive global elections that may not attract a representative constituency, he said. The move would also provide more stable funding, he said. "We would use the notions of agility and strength of a private corporation with the notion that only governments can represent the public interest," Lynn said. The plan drew immediate cries of protest from some board members who were elected directly by Internet users. "We've just had the equivalent of the president of the United States abolishing Congress," said Karl Auerbach, who represents North American Internet users. ICANN has overseen several transformations of the Internet's domain-name system in its short history. Users now can register domain names with suffixes such as ".info" and ".biz" as alternatives to the crowded ".com" domain through a variety of domain-name retailers other than Network Solutions, which enjoyed a monopoly throughout most of the 1990s. (Network Solutions is now owned by VeriSign.) If disputes arise, they can be settled in a special arbitration process. But throughout, the organization has faced charges that it makes decisions in an arbitrary manner and does not take into account the interests of regular Internet users. Under its original charter, the 18-seat board of ICANN was to be split evenly between the technical groups and businesses that run the Internet, and the global network's 500 million users. An election in November 2000 filled five of those nine user board seats but raised charges of ballot-stuffing and questions of how to run an election open theoretically to anyone on the planet. ICANN set up a task force a year ago to examine the issue, which recommended that the number of user-elected board seats be reduced from nine to six, and that only domain-name owners be allowed to vote. The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal in three weeks at its quarterly meeting in Ghana. Lynn's plan goes farther, eliminating user representatives from the board entirely. Instead, Lynn proposes reducing the board to 15 members: five government representatives, five technical and business representatives, and five others who would be nominated by a special committee. Lynn said he had not filled in the specifics of his proposal, such as how the government board seats would be filled, but that he would like decisions to be made quickly. "This proposal is focusing on the what, not the how," Lynn said. "What I have done is pointed out to the board that we don't have the luxury of time." Auerbach and fellow board member Andy Muller-Maguhn, who represents European Internet users, said Lynn's proposal aroused little debate at the meeting. "I would have expected each board member to have several questions about how it would work and so on, but that was not the case," Muller-Maguhn said. Rob Courtney, a policy analyst with the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, said that ICANN was set up because governments were seen as too slow and out of touch with modern technology to administer the Internet. "If you're going to have governments involved, what is the rationale for having ICANN?" Courtney said. Story Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2 Comment: See http://www.treachery.net/~jdyson/ for current keys. iQCVAwUBPHpQBrlDRyqRQ2a9AQEqKwP9EcbCsZ2fqIHNTCnYtuPf4hP5zjT9cJbw bNl5PdKD2AVG2iiSc6AP+4+k5ZecLc52ZYf1NkAMTTDgs/MWHjILejHV9yqnD/ki YehItTNJW7RRLcpa52FrOq/AZmn5QhHlkQocUiIDBUjwLxna6Y4hS7bb6wlVAkJv G+Ibv71oIfM= =DihG -----END PGP SIGNATURE----- - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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