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> roving_reporter t byfield

Mon Sep 18 20:41:10 EDT 2000

ICANN MAL candidate questionnaire: Subhash Gupta

[Subhash Gupta is no longer an MAL candidate.]

1. ICANN presents itself as a "technical coordination body for the Internet." Do ICANN's activities to date support this description?


2. ICANN describes itself as "transparent," "bottom-up," and "consensus-based." Do ICANN's activities to date support these descriptions?

Transparent, because we cannot find its managers, or have upfront contact us information. Bottom-up because the real work is done by the "lowly staffers" who are ill-equipped to handle the responsibility or the numbers. Consensus-based -- hardly!

3. The "stability" of the internet is a staple if ICANN's rhetoric, as if to suggest that the net is a fragile entity that needs to be protected. What do you think ICANN is protecting it from?

I guess they probably meant to say stability of the DN structure, but even that is falling apart. Nobody can really protect Internet, except its users and developers, and they are not the threats! If ICANN existed in the '60s or even the '80s, we will still be deciding on the names and types of the Internet protocols.

4. "Global" top-level domains pose a basic quandary, which can be summarized thus: everyone in the world can point somewhere and say "there," but there can only be one, one, and one Many people have legitimate claims to what, within the limited context of DNS, appear to be the same words. Rather than expanding the namespace in order to produce a diversity more adequate to the rapidly expanding demand for new domains, ICANN has devoted much of its resources during its first two years to developing a global policy for arbitrating conflicts. In the balance, was this the best approach?

No. In fact, global names such as com, net, org, and edu have already led to dominance by the first-comers, and cybersquatting by large firms like, amazon, AOL, and yahoo!

5. Should the refusal of the country-code domain registrars to pay the invoices ICANN submitted to them be seen as a referendum on ICANN's legitimacy as a "global" organization?

Yes, and there is a legitimate reason for it too. If you review the rules and procedures, for example, between us domain versus in domain, you will soon find the answers.

6. ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) stipulates that "the complainant shall select the [dispute resolution] Provider from among those approved by ICANN by submitting the complaint to that Provider." Is this an appropriate way to assign resolution providers to cases?

No, especially if the providers were approved the way the at large nominees and cc delegates were.

7. ICANN often mentions its limited resources as a decisive factor in justifying various actions -- in other words, there seems to be a serious disjuncture between ICANN's means and its goals. Has this cast doubt on the results of ICANN's activities to date?

ICANN had proposed and obtained a no-cost contract to NTIA, with a defined set of responsibilities. If they can't perform the functions within that contract, ICANN should get it amended, default, or eat the additional costs.

8. The law firm Jones, Day, Reavis, and Pogue has played a huge role in ICANN, mainly through Joe Sims, ICANN's Chief Counsel, and Louis Touton, ICANN's Vice-President, Secretary, and General Counsel. Sims, with JDRP since 1978, was intimately involved in crafting ICANN's bylaws and selecting the initial boardmembers; he remains a cental figure at board meetings. Before joing ICANN, Touton spent the last 18 months of his 18-year practice at JDRP as a legal advisor involved in ICANN's formation, registrar-accreditation and dispute-resolution policies, and the NSI/DoC/ICANN agreements. Is it appropriate for an organization such as ICANN to be so closely aligned to a single law firm?

Like any corporation, ICANN should get its lawyers, auditors, accountants et al. be elected by a vote of its stockholders and maintain an arms-length relationship with them!

9. ICANN may soon be a kingmaker, with the power to delegate the administration of new top-level domains. This will almost certainly be a multibillion-dollar business. Is an adequate system of checks and balances in place to ensure that ICANN's officers and staff do not abuse or exploit this power?

No way. They could not handle a simple process like at large registration and endorsement process effectively, objectively, properly, fully, and legally. They should not be given any more power until and unless DoC, EOP, member countries, US Congress and GAO review their operations and accountability.

10. Based on ICANN's actions to date, should participants in the Membership At Large, specifically, and netizens, generally, trust ICANN to honestly report the election's outcome?

I hope not. But I don't hear much noise. Perhaps, ICANN will wither away because of lack of interest!

The above material is Copyright © 1999 by t. byfield.

The r_r began as a semi-collaborative nym on the <nettime> list, where it worked well; but the pseudonym precluded comments, and there was more to report than was good for the list, so now it -- or a mutation of it -- has resurfaced on TBTF. [ back to the roving_reporter]


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