December 1, 2005

A View From Vancouver

This is the strangest of ICANN meetings.  Several registrars sit in the lobby making deals; other registrars are very angry about the Verisign-ICANN "settlement"; there are domain name owners who are equally ticked off about the same thing; there are the .xxx people wearing scowls, GAC people wearing deep blue, and often shiny, suits; there are trade booths (wo-)manned with folks who could be easily mistaken for trade show bunnies; a small number of board members pass through the public areas in as short of time as they can; a larger number of board members are unseen; and ICANN "staff" is largely invisible.

Barely anybody talks about WSIS. But there is a lot of talk about lawsuits filed or contemplated.

There is a lot of quiet talk about how .xxx was suddenly removed from the agenda and how a redacted Freedom Of Information (FOIA) inquiry indicates that the Bush Administration, in the person of Karl Rove and at the behest of religious fundamentalist James Dobson, caused the US Department of Commerce to secretly instruct ICANN to deny .xxx and thus triggering a dance of the proxies as ICANN and/or the US government attempted to create a screen of deniability by getting other countries to do the dirty work.

Nobody here seems to support the ICANN-Verisign "settlement", although nobody seems to really think that ICANN will listen to the nearly universal complaints beyond making a few cosmetic adjustments.

Those who actually use domain names, the community of internet users, are nearly completely absent; the ALAC meetings were so under-attended that they could be squeezed into a small room at the end of a nearly hidden corridor.  Even as UN is demonized for its incorrectly characterized attempt to "take over the internet", at least the formative UN Internet Governance Forum will probably allow individuals to obtain credentials while ICANN relegates us to a powerless limbo.

There is talk of the splitting of the internet, not as something to come but rather as something that has already happened.  And that impossible as it is to trivalize the situation when the split involves China and other Asian nations ICANN has managed to pretend as if nothing of significance has happened.

And in a bit of stunning Orwellian NewSpeak the United States Federal Trade commission said that to protect privacy it has to kill it.

Matters of IP address policy are not discussed.

Questions about the fate of the 40 TLD applications left over from year 2000, for which ICANN collected $2,000,000, remain unanswered while a very glitzy and expensively printed, but otherwise vacuous and self-congratulatory, booklet from ICANN's ombudsman occupies space on the information tables.

Posted by karl at December 1, 2005 5:29 PM