[Politech] Karl Auerbach on ICANN, Commerce Department, and broken promises

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Wed Apr 07 2004 - 10:58:19 PDT

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    Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 23:59:37 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Karl Auerbach <karl@private>
    To: Dave Farber <dave@private>
    On Tue, 6 Apr 2004, Dave Farber wrote:
    > As per my previous note, I agree with the verdict and might agree with the
    > Associations statement if I could parse the socially correct statement.
    > Plain English would be appreciated.
    > Was WSIS worth it? The general verdict on the recent United Nations
    > World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)...
    My kind of plain English is this: The community of internet users has been
    so badly abused by ICANN and the United Stated Department of Commerce
    that just about anything would be be an improvement.
    At the beginning of ICANN, a promise was made that the community of
    internet users would be able to elect at least half of ICANN's board of
    directors.  That promise was broken.
    Today ICANN/US-DoC has made it plain that under their form of Internet
    governance, the users of the net are excluded from any role except that of
    paying the bills.  Today, under the "reformed" ICANN those internet users
    who wish to participate have to first join an ICANN-approved club.  That
    club must, in turn, join a second ICANN-approved club.  And that club,
    in turn, gets to send a few representatives to yet a third level of
    ICANN-approved club.  And that third club, in turn, gets to send a couple
    of representatives to a pre-stuffed ICANN committee that, in turn, gets to
    name only a portion of the ICANN board of directors who, in turn, usually
    rubber-stamp what is put before them by ICANN's "staff".
    You and I as internet users will have about as much say in who becomes the
    next pope as we do in the formulation of policies by the ICANN/Dept of
    Commerce generation of internet governance bodies.
    Yet the same time, ICANN and the US Department of Commerce have a well
    oiled machine that grants to the intellectual property and DNS
    registry/registrar business pretty much whatever those businesses want.
    ICANN/DoC have done an amazing job convincing people that they have
    lowered domain name prices when in fact under ICANN/DoC polices, domain
    name prices are today artifically inflated and protected against
    competitive forces that would drive them down.  This has cost the public
    millions and millions of dollars wasted on overpriced domain names and
    poor service.
    And during this time ICANN and the US Department of Commerce have done
    nothing - I repeat - *nothing* - that actually improves the reliability or
    resiliance of the internet's domain name system or IP address allocation
    systems.  In other words, ICANN and the US Department of Commerce have
    completely dropped the ball when it comes to what internet users and
    internet businesses need the most - technical stability.
    The community of internet users are tired of simply paying the bills, they
    want a real voice in the creation of policies that affect them.  And they
    want an internet that is operated towards the goal of running reliably
    day-in-day-out rather than as a means to overprotect trademarks.
    It is hard to imagine a situation that is worse for internet users than
    the status quo.  So one ought not to wonder why the UN or the ITU look
    like knights in white armor.
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