October 11, 2005

Exclusion - The WSIS/WGIG is merely following in ICANN's footsteps

I see in several news items and blogs that some people are finding the WSIS/WGIG effort to be tainted because either businesses or ICANN's President are excluded from certain meetings.

I wonder where those people and blogs were when ICANN kept people out of many of its meetings?  Why is the WSIS/WGIG considered so horrible when it is merely engaging in practices that are the norm in ICANN?

Indeed, ICANN still has several meetings that in which the doors are locked against outsiders.  And much of ICANN's work is done, as it always has been done, behind closed doors by a secretive and closed "staff".

In fact ICANN has gone so far as to lock its own directors out from inspection of its own financial records.  It took a successful lawsuit to overturn that unlawful practice of ICANN.

Those who are complaining about the UN cite its bureaucracy, secrecy, exclusion of participants, and behavior of a questionable nature.

On a dollar-per-dollar basis ICANN serves up more bureaucracy, secrecy, exclusion of participants than the WGIG/WSIS effort.  And ICANN has engaged, in the opinion of the judge who handed down the decision, in clearly unlawful behavior.

I can't give much credit to those who are complaining about WSIS/WGIG and holding ICANN up as some sort of superior entity.  Their credibility would be greatly improved if they were to demand improvements in ICANN, improvements such as:

  • The majority or more of ICANN's Board of Directors must be elected by the public (using a relatively direct system such as was used in year 2000 to elect 5 directors.)
  • All board meetings and all other meetings of ICANN decision-making bodies should be either open to the public or fully recorded and those recordings available to the public except when matters of employment or contract negotiation are being discussed.
  • ICANN must properly represent itself by giving a clear and honest definition of ICANN's role of regulator of the domain name business, making it clear that ICANN does not oversee or manage domain name technology.
  • A clear recognition that ICANN's role with respect to IP address has been effectively abandoned and left to the regional IP address registries (RIRs).
  • A clear recognition that ICANN provides no oversight of DNS root server operations.
  • A clear recognition that most of IANA is merely a secretarial function performed for the benefit of the IETF.
  • The word "stakeholder" should be recognized for what it is: a preferential status endowed on those selected few who are given a voice in the ICANN system.


Posted by karl at October 11, 2005 9:55 AM