CPTech Statement on Bucharest ICANN Meeting

June 28, 2002

CONTACT: James Love
Cell: 202-361-3040

"I've posted a number of reports from here which reflect our views on the ICANN meeting, but now that the Board has approved with June 20 Blueprint plan, one week after anyone had seen it, it is time for governments to wake up and look at what is being created. Despite countless letters from the US Congress and contractual requirements to do so, ICANN is refusing to create an independent review panel. ICANN is eliminating the ability of individuals to freely debate issues with the ICANN system, even going so far as to remove the ability of the public to elect their own leaders or have votes in public forums that have no legal power. The original concept of a public "at-large" membership that would elect board members has been replaced with cynical top down staff/board managed PR exercise that will ironically be used by the board to pack key committees,including the new "NomCom" with cronies. Esther Dyson, who is making a career out of protecting ICANN from its critics or government oversight is currently in charge of deciding who "really" speaks for the public, and what constitutes "constructive" input. This is a huge mistake, because Esther is completely out of touch with the public, and would likely have no support in any at-large strucutre that was democratic.

The board can freely meet in secret, and makes no efforts to even record telephone board meetings, even when making decions that effect millions of internet users, such as the delegation of .org, a "business" that is probably worth $40 to $100 million. It will not provide its own board members access to its books, or tell the public how much ICANN is spending on litigation to prevent such access.

Everyone is searching to understand what the new "reformed" ICANN is, and it appears to be partly like the unacccountable International Olympic Committee (IOC), and partly like OPEC. The clique of insiders who control ICANN are not willing to give up control, the unelected board members who promised years ago to leave ICANN are still there, and the at-large elected members will soon be moved off the board.

The GAC itself is part of the problem. It does not meet with the public, is surounded by secrecy itself, and has done nothing at all to address the transparency or accountability issues for itself or ICANN. The member countries for the GAC should hold public consultations at home and also jointly to allow civil society to have a voice. The Internet is too important, ICANN's proposals for policy making authority too sweeping and ambitious, and the costs of cartel like activity too high to allow ICANN to operate outside of all known systems of accountablity.

Most important, the GAC and the member countries have to allow new ideas for DNS management to be given a fair hearing, the subject of the last motions the ICANN General Assembly was permited to vote on. At yesterday's meeting the ICANN board said it did not understand how it could decentralize policy making, as if there were some technical hurdles it could not overcome. This of course is no more true than saying the entire global phone system should be regulated by a single agency just become someone has to allocate country codes for phones. The entire DNS management issue needs to be much more decentralized, and the groups that act as gatekeepers to new TLDs should be spit up and put into a new framework that would have pro-competitive incentives, and give the public a choice and also a chance to create TLDs that they can control themselves. We expect to participate in a meeting on these and other ICANN issues on September 9-10 in Geneva, and we ask others who are interested in serious policy discussions about ICANN to also participate."

Return to: CPTech Home -> Ecommerce Page -> CPTech Page on ICANN