back to article Is domain overlord ICANN the FIFA of the internet? We'll know this weekend

When comedian John Oliver dedicated the bulk of his weekly show a year ago to soccer organization FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), he noted that most Americans had never heard of the organization. Over ten minutes, Oliver eviscerated the "comically grotesque organization," highlighting how it creates …

  1. Mark 85


    Where's the US Government been on this? ICANN is still beholden to them obviously. When our government insists on "oversight" this seems to be the way it goes. All show and nothing actually done.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Oversight?

      The US government is trying to step back and let the rest of the world figure out how it is to be done.

      They aren't going to volunteer suggestions to fix this problem because anything they suggest will have the taint of the DHS and NSA on it.

      If the internet community suggests it and supports it widely, then probably congress will insist upon it. So we're going to have to tell them what they should insist upon.

      The one good thing is that ICANN is not by US standards a huge well-funded lobby with its own PAC yet. US elected officials won't mind standing up to ICANN because it won't cost them any so-called donations.

  2. dan1980

    I could swear that I made likened ICANN to FIFA in one of the previous stories about the .africa debacle.

    The moral of the story is that self-regulation does not work at any relevant scale and the less transparent an organisation, the more likely they are to be corrupt.

    1. WatAWorld

      I cannot figure out what the board should be, what to suggest.

      If not self-regulating and self-appointing then regulated and appointed by whom?

      A UN agency?

      Or what?

      I suspect the key is in how the body that names and regulates the board is made up.

      We know the UN Security Council idea of 7 big countries each with vetos plus 2 seats rotating through the world's other 227 countries doesn't work.

      And we know the FIFA model of one vote per country doesn't work.

      What will work??? What should we tell the powers that be in US congress?

      What do we want???

      1. Rick Giles


        A UN agency?

        Are you fucking mad?

  3. WatAWorld

    US readers still have power over ICANN for a little while

    There is a little while left during which Reg readers in the USA can fix the disaster before it happens by contacting their representatives in congress and President Obama.

    As a dual UK/Canada citizen I'd like to ask our fellow readers in the USA to write letters urging your government to do what needs to be done to prevent the ICANN bureaucracy taking over as the US government steps down.

    The US government does need to give up control of the internet, but please do not turn it over to this EU, UN, or even FIFA type wasteful self-serving mega bureaucracy.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: US readers still have power over ICANN for a little while

      The date's been set and has been for quite awhile.

      I don't know there's much anyone can do, outside of persuading the President, the JCS, Secretary of Homeland Security and DNI letting ICANN take over is a threat to National Security, which would be a tough sell.

  4. WatAWorld

    So what should readers actually lobby for?

    So what should the US government be insisting upon for the body that takes over domain names?

    What should our fellow readers in the USA be telling their elected officials to ask for, and more importantly, what should they tell their government to insist upon?

    This is a really difficult question, but we have to answer it. Otherwise we'll either get ICANN rubber-stamped or we'll get another decade of delays.

    1. Let it not be pre-determined that that body be ICANN. Open the handover up to competing organizational ideas.

    2. A two year delay in the handover is acceptable.

    3. An external 'parliamentarian' with power over the board and the exclusive right to change the organization's constitution and by-laws.

    4. By-laws that prohibit:

    a) first class travel,

    b) business class travel for trips under 3 hours unless the passenger is over 5'10" or 200 pounds.

    c) hotels greater than 4 stars

    d) meal budgets greater than $X

    e) liquor expenses

    5. The board should not be self-electing.

    6. By-laws that mandate the board be formed from representatives each geographic region of (say) 100 million people. One named by that region's governments. One named by that region's ISPs. One named by that region's academics. One named by that region's non-IT business community.

    One of FIFA's problems is that its board is elected on a 'one country, one vote' basis. Which means places like Monsarat )with 6,000 people), Luxumburg and Lictenstein, have the same vote as China, the USA, Brazil, and Russia. They vote for anything that will give the football bureaucracy in their tiny nations the same share of the FIFA pie as the football bureaucracy in the largest nations.

  5. Ole Juul

    Very good article

    I just want to say thanks to Kieren for really putting out on this one.


    Good investigative journalism at work

    We need Lee Nelson to show up to Dublin and throw a bunch of money at them... seemed to put the writing on the wall for Sepp Blatter... :(

  7. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "(There is, of course, no suggestion of any criminal wrongdoing at ICANN.)"

    There's plenty of that, both at board level and within the structure.

    Unless graft and cronyism are somehow exempt under US laws.

  8. Andy Tunnah


    ...anyone name one body or panel of people that was given a large amount of power, for the purpose of doing some good (or just trying not to be bad) and DIDN'T go corrupt ?

    Oversight is needed because humans are just TERRIBLE people. You give em an inch, they will take a bloody mile. Every. Single. Time. We suck.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to say thanks Kieren for continuing to cover the shenanigans at ICANN - important, fact based reporting that nobody else is covering because its the alphabet soup of acronyms, mailing lists and committees is incredibly hard to follow...

  10. zb

    Excellent article which has opened my eyes.

    Sadly not even El Reg readers seem to care much. So far 13 comments and none of them upvoted more than ten times. It is going to be very hard work to persuade anyone of any importance to take up the banner.

  11. SleepyJohn

    It is difficult for ordinary folk to grasp the importance of this

    I suppose, like FIFA, ICANN will have to do something so stupendously, outrageously and obviously corrupt that those in a position to act against them will no longer be able to pretend it is not happening.

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