back to article ICANN descends into farce as bigwigs try to cling to power

The process to bring greater accountability to domain-name overseer ICANN descended into farce last week when the organization's board tried to skewer plans to force it to answer to the internet community while simultaneously claiming it supported the idea. In an extraordinary, almost surreal three-hour teleconference, the …

  1. graeme leggett

    I am reminded of the words attributed to Cromwell dismissing the Rump Parliament

    One can only hope that someone in authority (even at the barrel of a musket) would say this to ICANN

    "You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I am reminded of the words attributed to Cromwell dismissing the Rump Parliament

      Maybe what prevents this is that at present lack of an alternative. But what's to stop ICANN's critics setting up their own non-profit and pitching for the contract themselves?

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: I am reminded of the words attributed to Cromwell dismissing the Rump Parliament

        "what's to stop ICANN's critics setting up their own non-profit and pitching for the contract themselves?

        I'll vote for that.

      2. Fazal Majid

        Re: I am reminded of the words attributed to Cromwell dismissing the Rump Parliament

        Or even a for-profit corporation like Neustar (the guys who manage the North American Numbering Plan Authority that assigns US/Canada phone numbers). It can't get any worse than ICANN for transparency.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It sounds to me like the Board knows where the bodies are buried and allowing anyone new on the board will find out who, what, and where to the Board's detriment.

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    All hail the unelected king as far as I'm concerned. It works so why fix it?

    (I'm English, so no patriotism here btw)

    1. Mike007

      Because their official role is what I would call a technical role. While they have limited enforcement powers their role is basically to ensure the continued operational stability of the internet by maintaining the registries that everyone else uses to enforce "law and order".

      When they decided to release the piles of new TLDs for financial reasons, the entire technical community opposed it because of the huge risks to the stability and proper functioning of a very critical piece of Internet infrastructure. There were numerous concerns including potentially very serious implications that ICANN hadn't even considered, all were dismissed without discussion.

      It's a bit like having a police force who respond to a video of someone being murdering with "I am not aware of anyone being murdered, and I'm too busy to watch your stupid little home videos, go away and stop wasting our time".

      That is why it needs fixing.

  4. gerdesj Silver badge

    Shurely ...

    US.GOV (as the current sole stakeholder) can simply create a list of requirements, put it to tender and then cast it adrift. Note that tender here does not involve money paid to the govt. but only facility. What could possibly go wrong?

    Another possibility is putting it in the hands of something like the UN <hmmm>. What the hell would be acceptable to everyone on the planet? ISO/OSI? G7 (take one and pass it on every two years)?

    On reflection, I'm with Mr Summers here: stick with the status quo. No one (AFAICT) has ever really complained about the US holding the reigns (har har). The thought of say .cn getting its paws on the real DNS root and the rest of the basics via a slippery slope of some sort is a bit horrible to behold for a huge swathe of the world.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Shurely ...

      But first a quick reply to Doctor Syntax:

      > what's to stop ICANN's critics setting up their own non-profit and pitching for the contract themselves?

      Pitching to who? The US Govt's claim that it owned control was weak enough in 1998 and is even weaker now. That's the wrong model. The correct model is "setting up their own nonprofit and DOING THE JOB themselves."

      Now, to gerdesj:

      > US.GOV (as the current sole stakeholder)...

      No they aren't. The stakeholders are the names, addresses and protocol communities worldwide. And it's the names community that has completely failed to set itself up independently from ICANN. What's really going on here is that vested interests in the names community have long since captured the ICANN Board. What else could explain the egregious behaviour that Kieren reports?

      > in the hands of something like the UN <hmmm>. What the hell would be acceptable to everyone on the planet?

      None of those politicised organisations would be acceptable. Capture by politics is just as dangerous as capture by capitalism.

      > stick with the status quo. No one (AFAICT) has ever really complained about the US holding the reigns (har har)

      Actually, they have: the European Commission for one. We need it out of the hands of both politicians and capitalists.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Shurely ...

        'Pitching to who? The US Govt's claim that it owned control was weak enough in 1998 and is even weaker now. That's the wrong model. The correct model is "setting up their own nonprofit and DOING THE JOB themselves."'

        From the sidebar of TFA: 'The US government contracts non-profit ICANN to run the so-called IANA functions' Whatever you may argue about the US government's claim the de facto situation is that it's the USG/ICANN contract that's the basis for the existing administration of IANA and it would need to be a USG/ANOther contract to replace that. What mechanism do you suggest for ANOther to simply shoulder ICANN out of the way (desirable though that may be) and take over?

  5. Rol Silver badge

    ICANN was not given the keys, to then so lightly give them away.

    In the manner many disagreeable governments have needed more than harsh words from their citizens to step aside, we shouldn't forget, their disagreeable nature was directed at their own citizens while falling over themselves to be very agreeable to their former alien overlords.

    If the board of ICANN so much as smile at the idea of user representation they will find themselves replaced with Colonel Slaughter and his dogs of oppression pdq.

    America has no intention of giving in to democratic representation, unless of course it ushers in a more agreeable set of shisters, which in this case, it won't.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Just DISSOLVE it already

    Expunge it, erase it, eradicate it.

    Ask the SWAT teams to go in there and frogmarch everybody out and take them all to jail.

    Then bring in a NEW team, recreate a new ICANN on the latest board-refused proposal.

    Since the board is so adamantly against it, it has to be good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just DISSOLVE it already

      Ask the SWAT teams to go in there and frogmarch everybody out and take them all to jail.

      Then bring in a NEW team, recreate a new ICANN on the latest board-refused proposal.

      A sort of "Internet spring"? That is working so well in the middle east, isn't it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just DISSOLVE it already

      And what's to stop the NEW team being WORST than the last. Furthermore, what if the power vacuum that results causes a less-agreeable group to take over (IOW, what if the names are usurped by, say, the Chinese)?

  7. Michael Seven

    No Board Needed

    ICANN does not need a board. It needs representation by the internet community. A figure head? possibly, an experiment? absolutely. The internet provides for the larger community to voice it's opinion and leverage it by representation. In America's past centuries it needed senators and representations in Congress forge the People's intentions. We now have a means to voice our immediate interests and concerns through the web. While the US will not abdicate it's state's voting process to a larger voting system, it will eventually have to. We should do this when it comes to internet governance and ICANN should be leading the way. That would truly be a bottom up ruling class that the world could embrace and be invited into.

    We the people, by the people; not we the people, buy the people. When a body like the ICANN board, states that they are in agreement "in principle" they mean they never really intend to implement it. Out with the old and in with the new, shall we?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Board Needed

      Given we can't even prove our identities over the Web (which is why things like Internet voting are viewed with such disdain), what's to stop the process being hijacked?

      Also, like it or not, the Internet runs on wires. These wires are located in sovereign nations which will, by definition, carry vested interests in what runs down them. This means the names debate is unavoidably political, and as bad as the situation is now, it's VERY easy to see this unavoidable politicking make the situation irrevocably worse.

  8. Michael Seven

    ICANN does not need a board. It needs representation by the internet community. A figure head? possibly, an experiment? absolutely. The internet provides for the larger community to voice it's opinion and leverage it by representation. In America's past centuries it needed senators and representations in Congress forge the People's intentions. We now have a means to voice our immediate interests and concerns through the web. While the US will not abdicate it's state's voting process to a larger voting system, it will eventually have to. We should do this when it comes to internet governance and ICANN should be leading the way. That would truly be a bottom up ruling class that the world could embrace and be invited into.

    We the people, by the people; not we the people, buy the people. When a body like the ICANN board, states that they are in agreement "in principle" they mean they never really intend to implement it. Out with the old and in with the new, shall we?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020