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ICANN Board Spurns Democratic Elections 115

Pelerin writes "At its meeting in Ghana, ICANN has voted against the proposals made in the Final Report on ICANN At-Large Membership, which among other things proposed an At-Large Supporting Organization (ALSO), which would hold elections for At-Large seats on the ICANN board. Membership in ALSO would have been "based on individual domain name holders". In today's resolution ICANN says that it "is not persuaded that global elections are the only or the best means of achieving meaningful public representation or the informed participation of Internet users in the ICANN process" and proceeded to reject the proposals, while at the same time engaging in a bit of double-speak about its action according to dissenting board member Karl Auerbach. It looks like ICANN is leaning towards its presidents' reform proposal which argues that ICANN suffers from "Too Much Process" among other problems, and that seats on the board should be chosen by the board itself, from among nominations submitted by governments and a new Nominating Committee (NomCom)."
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ICANN Board Spurns Democratic Elections

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  • They clearly don't give a rat's ass about the general internet user, just large ISPs and trademark holders.....
  • ICANN't (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:34PM (#3169272)
    The whole ICANN affair is a disgusting degeneration of what used to be a free Internet.

    The whole disaster conjures up images of the Olympic's IOC. A bunch of politically motivated control freaks acting out of vindictiveness and hubris.

    Can we eliminate ICANN and start over again? Please?

    • Good point bringing up the Olympic IOC. Has anyone noticed how rich the board members of the IOC are? ICANN should have been a not for profit organization made up by internationally elected individuals who have no finacial connection with ISPs or governments. This would result in a truly free internet with no political or finicial agenda's. But there is too much $$$ involved in the internet for such freedom to go without those trying to own as much of its control as possible.

      I say down with ICANN. We should elect our own board and force our ISPs and governments to accept it. Down with ICANN!
    • I am a member of the Board of Directors of a non-profit corporation. At our last annual meeting we elminiated the ability for our membership to elect members of the board. In fact, because they used to have this power, we got them to vote away their authority to elect future boards.

      We aren't control freaks. We don't have some sinister motive. We thought that it was in the best interests of the organization that this be done. Why?

      In our situation we had three types of voters. The first type was the people who just didn't care. They represented the majority of eligible voters. They didn't really understand the issues that board dealt with, primarily because they just didn't care.

      The second type was a small group of concerned individuals who actually cared and educated themselves on the issues. Unfortunately their numbers were very small.

      The last group was the cause du jour voters. They were voting because of one particular issue. They often engaged in relentless political attacks to get their one small issue recognized. They were quick to villify and eliminate anyone who wasn't blindly supportive of their cause. They could quickly destroy years of work. I'm not including those dedicated people who believed in an issue in this group. This group consists of people who, after causing everyone a lot of pain, simply disappear and leave others to pick up the pieces of the organization and move forward.

      By eliminating member voting we have allowed the Board-- a group of people who understand the issues and care about the organization, do their job. There is an obvious danger, of course, because the Board has lost oversight by the membership, but it has made the organization a whole lot better.

      I'm not saying I support ICANN's decision 100%. At some level the oversight is needed. In our case, if the Board screws up people can always go to another company. The ICANN situation is not nearly so simple. I'm just trying to show a peek at the other side of the fence.

      • Congradulations, you just described the U.S. two party system. Perhaps the supreme court* should appoint a president , because some of the people dont care, some care a lot, and some have a bug in their butt.

        *Dont whine and say they did last election, sore loser. I said supreme court because they are not elected per say, and they have a life time appointment.
  • by jlowery ( 47102 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:34PM (#3169273)
    From ICANN to UCANT.
  • I still cant see how ICANN really needs all the funding they claim to need in order to do their job.
    It worked before, with less funds and less fancy meetings.
    And as I understand it their "core business" hasn't changed a bit.

    Is this just a sellout to pay for more fancy meetings, or am I missing something fundamental.
    • If ICANN doesn't get a whole lot more money, the empire-building ambitions of the bureaucracy cannot be brought to fruition. Of course, you and I are expected to pay for this.

      It's time to opt out of all functions administered by ICANN and turn to alternate institutions (AlterNIC?). If ICANN is rendered irrelevant and people stop sending it money, it will collapse. Of course, we will have to fight any effort to give it tax money or a legal monopoly on domain-naming services or there will no longer be an option.

    • I still cant see how ICANN really needs all the funding they claim to need in order to do their job. It worked before, with less funds and less fancy meetings.

      I'm just repeating what someone else posted in a comment to a previous ICANN-related story--but isn't it strange that it costs ICANN millions of dollars a year to do what Jon Postel used to do in his spare time on his personal workstation?

      All the centralization the Internet really needs is someone to dole out IP addresses and suggest where to look for root nameservers. Okay, well-known port assignments too. (E.g., tcp/25 is for SMTP, tcp/80 is for HTTP, etc.)

      Anything else that ICANN does is superfluous to the actual need, and much of it is dangerous.

      I wish Jon Postel had appointed a Benevolent Dictator Heir-Apparent before he passed away a few years ago.

  • Good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "based on individual domain name holders".

    This would bias the membership heavily in favor of corporate members.
  • Seems there is an underlying flaw with having governing organizations for the Internet. It is like legislating how much water can flow in a river (which , by the way, has actually be done more than you might think).

    Just my two cents of course.

  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) <oculus...habent@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:40PM (#3169313) Journal

    Every so often governements become too controlling and revolutions occur. Too little input, sweeping changes, public insensitivity, the like.

    What would you do if the Congress said "general elections are so much trouble - all that counting... We'll just pick our successors from now on..."

    And if you're afraid of losing freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, what would you do if they revoked your right to vote?

    • Re:Whatever (Score:4, Funny)

      by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:45PM (#3169355)
      What would you do if the Congress said "general elections are so much trouble - all that counting... We'll just pick our successors from now on..."

      No...that's why we have the Supreme Court!
    • Rhetoric (Score:2, Insightful)

      by why-is-it ( 318134 )
      And if you're afraid of losing freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, what would you do if they revoked your right to vote?

      Certainly you have every right to your opinion, but I do not think it is in any way obvious that an armed population is a guarantee of, or a precursor to democracy.

      If anything, the risk is that too much rhetoric will obscure the valid point - that ICANN does not want to be accountable to the population they serve. References in other posts comparing ICANN's actions to the IOC are bang on.
      • Re:Rhetoric (Score:2, Informative)

        Analogies aside, I agree. A few reminders from their own fact sheet [icann.org] (I highlight for effect):

        It is ICANN's objective to operate as an
        open, transparent, and consensus-based body that is broadly representative of the diverse stakeholder communities of the global Internet...
        ...a technical management and policy development body that is more formalized in structure, more transparent,
        more accountable, and more fully reflective of the diversity of the world's Internet communities...
        ...As a technical coordinating body, ICANN's mandate is
        not to "run the Internet."...

        Perhaps they need to take a look at their own beginnings. No one should become so powerful or important as to forget where they started.

    • And if you're afraid of losing freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, what would you do if they revoked your right to vote?

      Sadly, most people would take it if they phased it in properly...

  • More Coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Gardener ( 519078 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:40PM (#3169315) Homepage

    There are Web sites devoted to following the criminal antics of the ICANN thievery, such as ICANN Blog [lextext.com] and ICANN Watch [icannwatch.org].

    The Gardener

  • Elections may go bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Virtex ( 2914 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:40PM (#3169316)
    In a way, I'm at least a little bit happy to hear that they won't be conducting elections. This sounds bad at first, but consider this: the only people who would have been allowed to vote were domain name holders, and who owns most of the domains out there? Large corporations. Things are bad now, but if these corporations got to choose who to put on the ICANN board, they wouldn't get any better. No, they would vote for the candidate who would best represent their corporate interests (and screw over the little guy). There's got to be a better way.
    • I haven't really looked in to it, but I suspect you'll find that most of the domains out there are not own by large corporations, but by individuals and small companies. There aren't that many large corporations, and they each probably have several domains, but that is still small compaired to the number of domains out there.
      • Typically, people only vote when they're pissed off about something. If ICANN is supporting the little guy, few little guys show up to vote because everything is going well for them. Then the corporations hate it and vote in someone who will help them out.

        It can work, but only when the voters are interested and informed.

    • Under the At-Large Study Committee (ALSC) proposal only domain name holders would be given a vote.

      But that concept received virtually no public support (as if that mattered in the land of ICANNia.)

      There was far more support for keeping the previously used criteria: Anyone of age 16 or more who had a postal address.

      There have been even broader proposals - the key being some means to have a degree of confidence that any single person gets but one vote.
  • by binarytoaster ( 174681 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:41PM (#3169322)
    Just so many bad puns with that name... anyway..
    In today's resolution ICANN says that it "is not persuaded that global elections are the only or the best means of achieving meaningful public representation or the informed participation of Internet users in the ICANN process"

    ...What? So suggest something that is. OF COURSE it's not the ONLY, probably not the BEST, but unless you suggest something BETTER, let's go with this one. I personally think a global Internet election would be perfect for this. You'd have to find some way to make it secure against kiddies bombing the votes one way or the other, but I'd say that'd count as "informed participation of Internet users in the ICANN process."

    Except they won't do that. They just want to be gods on the Internet... "NO DOMAIN FOR YOU!" Egh..
  • Sounds familiar (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by rbgaynor ( 537968 )

    and that seats on the board should be chosen by the board itself, from among nominations submitted by governments and a new Nominating Committee (NomCom)

    Isn't this just like the inbreeding that allowed Enron to get away with murder? Maybe ICANN should consider relocating to Houston - I understand there is office space available...

  • The board VOTED (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nyjx ( 523123 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:43PM (#3169337) Homepage
    The story text is rather missleading when it says that "ICANN has voted against" - this should be the "ICANN board has voted against". I.e. not the participants at the meeting (that might just be a bit too democratic...

  • qualifications. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:44PM (#3169347) Journal
    Dictatorship is good for you.

    You just have to have a trusty worthy dictator.

    I somehow do not see these folks as all being properly qualified in this regard.

    at least, in other times, there was the appearance of legitamcy where a large body voted power to a few strong men. Here, there isn't even that.

  • So, what we're seeing here is the same process that goes into forming a gov't. The people want representation, but the gov't claims they don't want huge processes, so they may allow other gov'ts to suggest (or maybe appoint) members of the board, but then you'll have the same problem of a country of states - some gov'ts represent a larger portion of the internet population, so we should get more representatives, but other smaller countries would be equally drowned out, so we set it up like the US republic?

    No, this is going to be another "Good old boy" club, where all the board memebers do things for each other and for their own prestige and power. They nominate others who will help them in their own work, and shun anyone that doesn't comply.

    They claim no responsability to anyone, least of all their users, so they will actually become targets of corporate lobbies and 'gifts'.

    So, let's look back on history, and see if we can find examples of how such organizations and governements were effectively changed by their citizens.

    Move along, nothing to see here, politics as usual.

    • Not quite. The problem with this government is that it lacks the one branch of government that most others have-- a judiciary. Right now, it's a combination of a legislature and an executive branch, with only a lucky few privelaged enough to vote; the remainder of people who didn't manage to register in time are out-of-luck and completely disenfranchised.

      ICANN needs to 1) lose it's name, 2) enact a judiciary, 3) allow people to register to vote in the elections/proceedings no matter how late in the game they are (obviously once an election is over, that's it), and 4) set some binding rules that forbid the main ICANN/whatever members from ever trying to enact a rule or rules that would ever disenfranchise netizens.

      As for the current member/board of ICANN, I think there needs to be more members representing more areas of the world. It definately shouldn't be based upon population (ala the US House, for example), but more like the US Senate (each country would get one representative?). A chairman/leader would be elected as well, by the netizens, with certain powers to keep the whole thing half-assed balanced.

      Really, that's probably better than the current system, despite the way people feel about American politics.
      • Ah, but to enact a judiciary means that they will have to actually persecute actions contrary to their rules and regulations using due process, maybe even a jury of the defendant's peers. Right now, without a judiciary, they can simply decide whether the defendant is doing bad and do whatever they like (within their power - revoke a domain, etc)

        What I was saying is that it's a lot easier (path of least resistance) to run a club than a government. We must treat it as a governement if we expect change, even if it is missing key features of what we would consider a true gov't.

        The true test will come when they try to take over other territory, such as W3C. They won't have a 'typical' military, and no one will call it a 'war', but it will essentially be combat (political) for cyberspace rights.

      • The problem with this government is that it lacks the one branch of government that most others have-- a judiciary.

        No, the problem is that ICANN is taking on way more authority than is required to do its job--which is to perform the minimum level of coordination of "Assigned Names and Numbers."

        ICANN shouldn't be making any decisions that would ever require the interpretation of a judiciary or the enforcement of an executive. If that kind of "government" is necessary then let the real government take care of it.

        Oh? You say there's no worldwide government? Oh well. That's no excuse for making a special little ad hoc pseudo-government to run the Internet.

        As long as we're not stepping on each other's IP addresses, and as long as there's more-or-less-general agreement on which root nameservers are considered authoritative, what more do we need?

        Specifically, international trademark and other intellectual property law belongs in the appropriate existing judicial fora. There's no need for a separate legal entity for that.

    • >No, this is going to be another "Good old boy" club

      Isn't the "Good old boy" club operating at every level--condominium, city, state, country, student--where they do dole a vote to every drooling fucknozzle that, nine times out of ten, won't even show up to vote? Let alone carefully study the issues for free as if his very life depended on the outcome and he's got absolutely nothing at all better to do with his time...

      The last time I checked, Adam, elections were run by Madison Avenue and a lot of voters couldn't even figure out the ballot itself!

      Elections are run like a light-switch: first you pay your dues to the "Good Old Boys" and assure them of your future reliability and support, then they buy you an election--which you wouldn't be able to afford on your own, I assure you.

      Why is everybody so in love with one-man-one-vote elections--"the cornerstone of democracy"--which have now been reduced in virtually every setting where they occur today, to something that obviously isn't even close to working at an acceptable level?

      Thank Christ that ICANN isn't asleep at the switch and isn't going to serve us up another something like the Savings and Loan industry collapse, for example, that passes for self-government these days, but is, in reality, just another scam to bilk Joe Smuck--which is you and me, kiddo.
  • See also (Score:3, Informative)

    by nyjx ( 523123 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:45PM (#3169360) Homepage
    Story at The Reg [theregister.co.uk] which is here [theregister.co.uk].

  • Membership in ALSO would have been "based on individual domain name holders".

    This doesn't mean "one domain name, one vote", right? If it does, I'd agree with ICANN that this isn't the "best means of achieving meaningful public representation or the informed participation of Internet users".

    We don't need to provide yet another incentive for evildoers and corporations with vast financial resources to grab up unclaimed domains. However, this may be a misinterpretation of the text.

  • by phallen ( 145919 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:50PM (#3169384) Homepage
    ... any organization that approves TLDs named ".museum", ".pro", and ".aero" needs reform.

    I have some proposals:
    * .minime -- for all mini-clones of people.
    * .geek -- geeks only. Just as clear as ".pro", isn't it?
    * .bomb -- for dot-coms that have folded. Maintaned by ex employees of the company who constantly say "... if the bubble haddn't popped, we would have been HUGE!!!"

    What do you think? Will you elect me to the ICANN board?
  • Ironic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by InterruptDescriptorT ( 531083 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:51PM (#3169388) Homepage
    Does anyone else find it funny that the meeting were held in Ghana, which is relatively proximate to another area where democratic elections were 'spurned'--that's right, Zimbabwe.

    ICANN is no better than Mugabe and his henchman--hell, at least they gave the impression that the election was fair.

    <steam>Anyone want to join me in a holy crusade against ICANN?</steam>
  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @02:57PM (#3169425)
    - Self Perpetuating
    - Autonomous
    - More interested in their own welfare thatn the welfare of those whom they "govern"
    - exagerated sense of self importance
    - listens to $$ over all else
    - obscure governing structure

    The only difference is that it took the IOC nearly 100 years to get the way it is; ICAAN is what - 5 years old? We still have a chance with ICAAN, to wit: dismantle it.

    Who takes over? Pick one:
    - Who Cares
    - US Department of Commerce

    Don't like the second choice? Tough. The internet was born, bred, and raised through adolescence by the US, and to just let it go for PC reasons is stupid. Maybe the Internet NEEDS a benevolent dictator, and if so, the US gov't is the best bet.
    • The internet was born, bred, and raised through adolescence by the US, and to just let it go for PC reasons is stupid.

      PC reasons? The Internet is a global environment, and any organization that "oversees" (if that is an appropriate term) the Internet must have a global perspective if it to be of any use or legitimacy.

      Having the US government take over will no doubt benefit US corporations, but for the remainder of the planet, it will be no better than what ICANN is proposing. The interests of the few will be forced upon the rest of us.

      Maybe the Internet NEEDS a benevolent dictator, and if so, the US gov't is the best bet.

      That is strictly a matter of opinion. If I had to choose, I would trust the benevolence of the EU long before I would trust the benevolence of the US. At least the EU has a wider variety of interests to represent.
    • Maybe the Internet NEEDS a benevolent dictator, and if so, the US gov't is the best bet.

      The US would be an excellent dictator, but a benevolent dictator? You must be kidding...

      Who cares more about money than the US government (corruption is opposite to benevolence)? Look at who you have as a president and tell me how it could have happened without money. Look at what the USA does to prevent its own interests (Iraq, VietNam, lying to people about the plane on washington [do a google search]) but does little when its own interests are not at hand (Somalia, Congo, China, ...).

      I wouldn't trust the US government to save my life, would you?

  • by Kiwi ( 5214 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @03:00PM (#3169435) Homepage Journal
    It is interesting how different computer programs reflect the thinking and attitudes of various people. DNS, and how it is implemented, reflects the needs of bureaucrats using bureaucracy to minimize the amount of work they have to do, while maximizing the amount of power they perceive to have.

    There are a lot of things in the DNS protocol that are downright ugly, such as the useless idea of "zones", the allowing of NS referrals without glue records, and the CNAME record. These only make sense when we look at the needs of those that designed DNS. The protocol is designed to make it as difficult as possible to manage DNS records (so that the bureaucrats can feel cozy that they know how to manage zones better than the average system administrator). The fact that MX and NS records point to names instead of IPs reflects the fact that the average DNS bureaucrat was too lazy to run their zone files through a sed script when making changes. The fact that out-of-bailiwick NS records (records without glue) is allowed reflects both the average DNS bureaucrat is too lazy to supply the IP for an out-of-bailiwick record, and that a DNS bureaucrat likes having well defined boundaries of authoritity.

    The top down hierarchical structure of DNS also reflects the fact that the bureaucrat likes well-defined authority. The discomfort BIND developers with alternate root servers reflects the bureaucrat's desperate need to cling on to the power that they perceive having.

    The fact that some DNS bureaucrats have really silly requirements for someone to have a domain in their bureau [cr.yp.to] shows the kind of power grabs DNS bureaucrats enjoy having.

    It comes to no surprise to me that ICANN does not want things like democratic elections; their job is to do things as slowly as possible (doing things any faster would actually take work) while getting as much control and sucking as much money out of the system as possible.

    Now, at this point, all I am doing is defining the problem; I do have some ideas bouncing around my head as to what a solution should be; however those ideas still use the top-down hierarchical structure that DNS has. It would be better if there was a way to have the DNS resolution structure be based on rough consensus instead of via a top-down structure; perhaps something that allows indivual DNS servers to send "votes" on who should control a given top-level-domain; if a given set of servers for a given top-level domain get enough "votes", they control the TLD in question.

    Then again, a community-controlled system needs protections to not become the diastar that IRC has become; where 14-year old kids struggle to control the channel so they can be a jerk by kicking and banning people at random.

    - Sam

    • One solution to the problem of Top Level Domains controlled by large corporations is www.opennic.glue [opennic.glue] or www.opennic.unrated.net [unrated.net] for those of you who can't resolve the .glue TLD. From the FAQ

      "What is the OpenNIC?
      The OpenNIC is a user owned and controlled Network Information Center offering a democratic, non-national, alternative to the traditional Top-Level Domain registries.
      Users of the OpenNIC DNS servers, in addition to resolving host names in the Legacy U.S. Government DNS, can resolve host names in the OpenNIC operated namespaces as well as in the namespaces with which we have peering agreements (at this time those are AlterNIC and The Pacific Root).

      Who makes up the OpenNIC?
      Membership in the OpenNIC is open to every user of the Internet. All decisions are made either by a democratically elected administrator or through a direct ballot of the interested members and all decisions, regardless of how they are made, within OpenNIC are appealable to a vote of the general membership."

      OpenNIC currently resolves .indy, .geek, .null, .oss, or .parody. I am not sure what (if any) protection exists against the IRC problem, but I think since it is a democratic system, a 14-year old kid (with bad intentions) is not going to be able to convince enough people to vote for him. They do have a strict policy on spamming, too.
    • Well, it sure beats FTPing gigantic HOSTS files from SRI twice a week and hoping your updates got in there.

      BTW, I have a feeling most DNS "bureaucrats" are overworked, underpaid sysadmins what have much better things to do than implement the latest poorly thought out naming scheme handed down by the PHBs.
    • "The useless idea of zones"? The concept of zones is integral to delegation, which is in turn vital to decentralizing management of the naming database.

      As for "the discomfort BIND developers [have] with alternate root servers," the IETF has also gone on record as favoring a single root.
    • You think that stuff is ugly? Take a look at this [verisign-grs.com]. That's a list of all the registered nameservers that match, which is supposed to be ns1.telocity.net. In particular, note the last entry, which has no IP address, but the name is! Yes, that's right, that's "" in a zone file (note the trailing dot), with "20" as the top-level domain!

      I can understand a lame-ass registrar with poorly-written software not catching this, but the NSI Registry (aka Verisign GRS) should know better, and should have rejected it.
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday March 15, 2002 @03:03PM (#3169444) Homepage
    What you're basically asking is for a dictator to decide to replace himself with a democracy. Nine times out of ten (at LEAST), that's not going to happen.

    I ask you: why let others vote on things and hope they rule the way you want when you could just keep yourself in power and have things your way.
  • "At its meeting in Ghana, ICANN has voted against the proposals made in the Final Report on ICANN At-Large Membership,

    Are you sure it wasn't Zimbabwe?

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @03:04PM (#3169455) Homepage Journal
    So, how long until the ICANN board starts calling themselves "General this" and "El Presidente that"?

    These are the antics of a banana republic dictator - the same methods should be used to remove them.

    Come mister ICANN
    Tally me domain name
    Alternate root gonna break you down

    It's dot-biz dot-per dot-com CRASH
    Alternate root gonna break you down

    They say PAAAAY-OH
    Alternate root gonna break you down

  • it's almost funny if you ignore what's at stake.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Icann flies to all these places and stays at resorts all over to consume their growing budget.

    Rhodes, Greece ; Yokohama, Japan ; Bucharest, Romania; Washington, DC, USA ;Limerick, Ireland
    Lomé, Togo ; Honolulu, Hawaii, USA ; Amsterdam, Netherlands ;Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA ; Accra, Ghana ; Bangkok, Thailand ; San Diego, California, USA
    Salzburg, Austria

    ICAN wastes millions partying in far away locales to prevent proper voting.
    Look how much they sqaunder. Its as if they are trying to funnel funds into Travel Agencies!

    9-13 September -- RIPE 43 -- Rhodes, Greece
    14-19 July 2002 -- IETF 54 -- Yokohama, Japan
    24-28 June 2002 -- ICANN Meetings -- Bucharest, Romania
    18-21 June 2002 -- INET 2002 (ISOC) -- Washington, DC, USA
    3-6 June 2002 -- TERENA Networking Conference 2002 -- Limerick, Ireland
    14 May 2002 -- AfriNIC -- Lomé, Togo
    5-13 May 2002 -- AFNOG Network Technology Workshop (5-10 May) AFNOG 2002 (12-13 May) -- Lomé, Togo
    7-11 May 2002 -- WWW2002: Eleventh International World Wide Web Conference -- Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
    29 April - 3 May 2002 -- RIPE 42 -- Amsterdam, Netherlands
    7-10 April 2002 -- ARIN IX -- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    17-22 March 2002 -- IETF 53 -- Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

    10-14 March 2002 -- ICANN Meetings -- Accra, Ghana

    3-7 March 2002 -- APNIC 13 -- APRICOT 2002
    ICANN Address Supporting Organization (ASO) General Assembly (5 March 2002) Bangkok, Thailand

    10-12 February 2002 -- NANOG 24 -- Miami, Florida, USA
    6-8 February 2002 -- Network and Distributed System Security Symposium 2002 -- San Diego, California, USA
    1-2 February 2002 -- Tagung des ICANN Studienkreis -- Salzburg, Austria

    By wasting money and creating a need for a big budget they are trying to create a situation where funding is vital and needs to be extorted from someone.
    • Apparently ICANN's choices of far-flung venues have put off some members from attending: there's apparently an armful of vaccinations necessary or recommended before traveling to Ghana, for example.

      Guess you won't find many ICANN attendees down at the local blood bank donating.
  • We all know our elected officials answer to us, and not a set of nameless soft-money wielding multinational corporations, right?
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @03:25PM (#3169553) Homepage
    There seems to be an unspoken assumption that democracy is always the best system of government. Any time an organization decides, as ICANN has, against an entirely elected government, protests are raised.

    Democracy works if, and only if, the individuals voting have good knowledge of the issues on which they are voting. Richard Feynmann once suggested that referendums concerning the use of nuclear power should be restricted to people who could accurately explain what the equation y(t) = y(0) * exp(-t/l) meant; I would likewise suggest that the number of people competant to make decisions regarding the structure of the internet is quite limited.

    In a "perfect democracy", dihydrogen monoxide would be a banned substance.
    • We're asking to be able to vote for the ICANN board. Not on individual policies.
    • uninformed voters are infinately better than self interested dictators.

      Furthermore democracies genrally work especially if they concern something as trivial as what icann is supposed to do. Usually really uninformed voters will not vote and only the informed ones will, unless icann does something stupid or starts spending a lot of money, then every one will vote against them.

      Maybe the people competent to make decisions about the structure of the internet is limited, but people that have domain names are competent enough to know when the ones making the decisions are fucking up.

      Also ICANN is not really going with meritocracy either, they are choosing some self perpetuating form of government that ensures the current board members remain in power.
    • How ironic. An excerpt from a review of "The Meaning of it All" by Richard Feynman in Nature 394, 144:

      Feynman doesn't always make sense. In one crucial passage he tries to argue that "ethical values lie outside the scientific realm". This must be a comforting opinion for someone who worked on the bomb, but he is on controversial ground, and here most of all he reveals himself to be surprisingly inarticulate. Here is one whole argument for the separation of science and ethics: "First, in the past there were conflicts. The metaphysical positions have changed, and there have [sic] been practically no effect on the ethical views. So there must be a hint that there is an independence."

      By the way, equating democracy with unwashed plebeians is dishonest - particularly the comments about "perfect democracy" as we can make equally absurd points about patronage and non elected bodies.
  • by dgreenwood ( 190540 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @03:27PM (#3169563) Homepage
    Harald Avlestrand has written what I consider a good analysis [alvestrand.no] relating to ICANN Reform

    " ICANN Reform - a personal view

    Note: This is not the view of any body, organization or entity that I
    sometimes represent. It is my personal attempt to organize thoughts that can
    form the basis of saying something about how ICANN should be organized.

    What ICANN was designed to do

    ICANN, as designed, was supposed to carry out a few tasks:

    • Control the content of the "root zone file"
    • Hand out address space (IPv4 and IPv6) in a responsible manner to RIRs
    • Perform book-keeping functions on other number assignments

    All these functions can occupy a full-time person. Making sure the
    information about those changes and modifications are visible to the world at
    large throuh a web service can occupy another.

    The rest of ICANN is concerned with one matter only:

    Who gives those two people their instructions?

  • Did any of you really expect them to vote themselves out of cushy jobs with lots of power just because the world wants them to? Having this happen is about as likely as the U.S. Congress adopting term limits on Congressmen and Senators. As long as you have a bunch of people that oversee themselves, nothing will ever change....
  • So, if ICANN becomes a totalitarian government, does that make them the fourth member of the Axis of Evil?
  • But, mind you, it's difficult.

    It involves editing your named.conf.

    See .sig for details.

  • I say they should be forcefully shut down and have a new committee based on elected representatives from different countries. Each country should be free to elect their representatives how they see fit.

    Screw ICANN, who the hell made them the Gods of the Internet anyway?

  • by hrieke ( 126185 )
    So much for that democracy thing.
    Maybe we can have King George move in?

    Why haven't we replaced ICANN yet????
    The internet is designed to route around problems, after all!
  • Why are we letting the ICANN become the electronic equivalent of the UN ( i.e. Holding court in foreign countries, ignoring US interests ) ..when the majority of the internets infrastructure is here in the US, not to mention the majority of high tech and other blue chip companies.
  • You'd think ICAAN wouldnt have the nuts to make such an obviously self-serving decision in light of the OBVIOUS conflict of interst. It realy is sickening that these Corporate Whores would insult the public with such drivel... im amazed.

    This by no means is DIRECTLY related, but it remind me of the fact that ENRON got to selecting their own regulators [mindfully.org] in the energy commission.

    Coruption in America is starting to become almost a Banana-Republic-like comedy.

  • by oo7tushar ( 311912 ) <slash.@tushar.cx> on Friday March 15, 2002 @04:43PM (#3170012) Homepage
    The move by ICANN is totally unfair. I have watched and listened to the proceedings over the last few days. I am extremely disappointed as ICANN is attempting to consolidate power within their own group. The internet is not theirs, it is ours, it was never ment to be controlled or regulated by a small group. Those who think alike will stick together, what about those who "Think Different"?
    A quote from icann.org: Created in October 1998 by a broad coalition of the Internet's business, technical, academic, and user communities. Shouldn't that mean that we the people who create the user communities have a choice on how the specific areas are run?
    Also, ICANN is a corporation, therefor it will side on the side of corporations and will attempt to modify the system to support corporations.
    It seems that corporations are going to control of the internet as well...what are you going to do about it?

  • Isn't it odd that the quote of the day (at the bottom of slashdot pages) when this story was posted is:

    "When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship. -- Harry Truman"

  • written by Esther Dyson, an ALSC member and former chairman of ICANN.

    "...The ALSC is an independent Committee created by ICANN earlier this year to provide recommendations to ICANN's Board on how to structure the diverse
    >global Internet community's participation within ICANN..."

    on other news, the king abolished voting, appointed a committe (headed by himself) to decide if voting was really necessary, which declared voting rights "an overwhelming success", by which they meant "there will be no more voting", and assured the voters that he was happy to have be re-appointed ruler and would strive to remember those who got him there.
  • OPENNIC (Score:4, Informative)

    by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Friday March 15, 2002 @08:27PM (#3171225) Homepage

    Use OpenNIC, [unrated.net] a truly democratic system for domain names.

    It only takes about 2-5 minutes to set up on your computer. [unrated.net]

    Learn more by reading the OpenNIC FAQ [opennic.glue].

  • Pies in the face, for each and every member of the Board! Then, a merry round of Public Flogging!

    As I've stated before, ICANN must be Destroyed! Destroyed! Destroyed! They have lost the right to exist. Only a democratically elected board can appropriately handle the issues that have been before this board with proper respect to the actual users of the Internet.

    • Nobody questions by now the fact that AmerICANN must be destroyed, and so must be its links to the US DoC.
      The real question is: to be replaced by what?
      By the pseudo-democratic fiction of the At-Large membership, which has provided us with ineffable twits of the caliber of Andy Müller-Maguhn (the Chaos Computer Club would-be At-Large director)? Or else by government representatives, as the GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) keeps clamoring about?
      Folks, let's drop this matter... Let's just fuck up as much as we can the single DNS root server system, as already proposed by many worthy colleagues and fellow Netters, and let us deny a single entity the privilege of deciding on who can and who cannot get a domain name.
      We want a real Internet democracy? Why allow corporate/government goons to edict rules which are technically unnecessary then?

      PS I fully back smagruder in his request for a Public Flogging of the current AmerICANN directors...
  • ...or care what ICANN does or how they do it.

    When I posted this the story had been up for 7 plus hours but has only 99 comments. I would imagine even less than that have ever let ICANN know their feelings about how ICANN should be run.

    ICANN sees apathy from the community so they just do as they please because they don't think anyone will ever complain.

  • The ICANN Movie:
    http://paradigm.nu/icann/icannstage.html [paradigm.nu]

  • If normal corporations ran this way, they'd issue a press release after a board meeting:
    The board of directors today approved a resolution that will improve the ability to reach broad consensus support of shareholders, and guarantee all shareholders the opportunity to meaningfully participate in policymaking.

    In the resolution, the board stated that it "wishes to move forward with energy and enthusiasm to build a meaningful structure for informed participation by the full range of shareholders, and seeks avenues to achieve these objectives that are bottom-up, self-organized, and self-sustaining."

    The board is not persuaded that elections are the only or the best means of achieving meaningful participation by the shareholders.

    The actual resolution would eliminate the voting rights of the common shareholders, and their representation on the board.
  • A self-selected set of 10-20 people claiming to represent 6 billion people (the current/proposed board structure) is not democracy. The ICANN critics have got that right.
    However, a self-selected set of 20.000 people claiming to represent 6 billion people (the current round of At Large elections) IS NOT DEMOCRACY EITHER.
    Stuart got that much right.


"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM