I'm sitting in ICANN's new TLD policy session - the restraint of trade is enough to gag a Rockefeller.
ICANN continues to espouse an internet that exists only in its own image. An internet in which innovation and enterprise are forced to conform to ICANN standards of goodness.
In other words ICANN is attempting to impose onto the internet a set of constraints that would deny to new innovators the creative rights - in Jonathan Zittrain's words, the generative rights - that gave rise to the internet in the first place.
For example, ICANN's outgoing chairman made it quite clear that he believes that top level domain used for political purposes would be highly suspect.
ICANN continues to require that an applicant's finances and business plans must undergo ICANN investigation and approval.
ICANN continues to require that names be sold through ICANN accredited registrars - a requirement that makes utterly no sense except as a protectionist measure to maintain ICANN hegemony and ICANN revenue - not unlike the way that certain states require alcoholic beverages to be sold through state-run stores. It is a requirement that has absolutely nothing to do with the stability of the internet.
Right now I'm listening to ICANN's policy to replace the legal system with its own policy to decide who on the internet has the superior right to use a name as a TLD. ICANN is creating law; yet ICANN is not a legislature.
Moreover ICANN's policy creates a veto power for organized interests, particularly trademark interests, to throw so much chaff into the air that no new TLDs will ever survive the gauntlet.
What is particularly galling is that ICANN's new policy is the product of incumbents that have a strong interest in preventing any new TLDs.
The prodigal son of California Corporations, ICANN, is having its first meeting in its home jurisdiction since November 2001.
It's good that ICANN recognizes its ties to California.
I left Santa Cruz around noon. The weather was nice so I headed down the Big Sur coast.
So, I arrived in LA - wow, I am so glad that I moved away - I don't have the stomach for the congestion, noise, and (perhaps from the fires) the pollution.
Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll head over to the ICANN meeting itself.
Let's see what's on the agenda...
Wow, somewhere between one quarter and one third of all of the meetings are closed to the public! Well, we have long known that ICANN takes its responsibility to be open and transparent with more than a few grains of salt. But this seems far more secrecy than is normal, even for ICANN.
But look at this this: The meeting of the At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) is closed to the public! The meeting of the ICANN's company union is closed to its own membership. One would hope that this is a misprint. (Not that it matters much - I consider the ALAC to be a fraud upon the public and merely a means for ICANN to have a story, plausible to those who don't dig deeper, that ICANN has a means for the public to have a say in what ICANN does.)
I see that ICANN's board is meeting with the governments - the GAC. The junior high school/middle school that both Vint Cerf and I attended also had a GAC - the Girls Athletic Club.
Thinking of the GAC, I wonder whether ICANN is even aware of Sections 35000-35007 of the California Corporations Code - the Subversive Organization Registration Law - particularly section 35003(b). And given that ICANN is neither a "labor union or religious, fraternal, or patriotic organization, society, or association" section 35004 may not provide immunity.
Sure that statute is a hangover from an era when the US was highly xenophobic and suspicious of foreign.. wait a minute, that seems to describe the US today, not merely the US of 1953.
Perhaps that's the reason ICANN has shied away from holding meetings in its chosen home for nearly 3/4 of its entire existance.
One of the big tasks after the 2008 elections will be DeBushification of the Federal government.
One of the toughest areas will be to reestablish the judiciary as a non-political branch of government.
That will be hard because most Federal judges are appointed for life, until impeached - or until they chose to retire.
Impeachment of judges, particularly when their offense is that of political leanings rather than truly overt acts, would be far more inflammatory than constructive.
But there is another way: Early retirement bonuses.
Private industry has long used the incentive of early retirement bonuses as a way to avoid layoffs. The employer usually offers employees a substantial bonus - sometimes several years of normal salary - if they voluntarily terminate their employment.
The new Congress could use that same approach to encourage Federal judges to give up their seats and create openings for new judges.
Suppose Congress were to enact a law that would give Federal judges a lump sum, tax exempt payment of $1,000,000, if they leave the Federal bench before the age of 60, $500,000 if they leave before the age of 65, and $300,000 if they leave before the age of 75.
This approach would be politically neutral. And the total cost would be about the same as a few days of fighting in Iraq.