Jay Fenello on 17 Jan 2001 17:45:10 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Vint Cerf wants to remind you that ICANN isstill not a world government

Original posting edited ...

At 08:36 AM 12/6/00, Stefan Krempl wrote:
>here are some quotes from a talk I've had with the new-elected ICANN 
>chairman right after ICANN's annual meeting in Marina del Rey last month.
>The whole interview is online in Telepolis at
>There's been quite a lively discussion about content related gTLDs like
>dot-kids. That brings us to the point that many people think about ICANN as
>some sort of a world government.
>This is not a good way to think about ICANN. Many people want it to be. I
>think I understand what's going on. People see this Internet, and they see a
>lot of its power and effects. And they recognize, it can be abused. And they
>want somehow to have a place to go to deal with problems and their different
>policies. Now they see ICANN over here and it has a fairly international
>profile. So they want to load up ICANN with anything that might have to do
>with either regulation of the Net or with somehow addressing complaints.
>This is probably not a very fruitful idea in my opinion.
>ICANN will function best if it's very constrained in its responsibility.

Hi Vint,

While you may believe these things to be
true, ICANN has consistently pursued an
agenda that implies otherwise.

At every turn, ICANN has made decisions
that result in ICANN assuming total 
authority over the name space.  (i.e. 
look at the registration agreement of
*every* ICANN authorized registrar.)

Further, at every turn, ICANN has made
decisions that limit its accountability
to anyone other than the forces who have
supported ICANN from its inception.

>Could you please elaborate on the role governments have within ICANN or what
>role you want them to play in the future?
>Well, at the moment the GAC has no role in the selection of the board
>members. That might conceivable change. I could easily understand a
>government saying: we have responsibility for a top-level domain and the
>decisions made by ICANN could have an effect on our top-level domain, an
>important countrywide infrastructure. And so they want some representation.
>So I can imagine the GAC becoming more like a support organization. GAC can
>also be a very good avenue for discussing various issues associated with
>Internet operation, because government and the private sector do have to
>work together in this field. They may disagree with each other. That's not
>unusual. But at least there would be a forum for having a debate.

While you imply that the GAC has no 
authority over the board of ICANN, this
has not been the case.  Every decision 
of the GAC has been followed exactly by
the ICANN board.  

As an outside observer, the GAC is the
authority behind ICANN, and not simply 
an advisory body as many would like us 
to believe.

>Right now it's a little less structured than that. A top-level domain is
>typically run out of the government's authority, often it is run by a
>university, but more often it is run by a government sanctioned operation
>which might or might not be for profit.

This is not my understanding of past
delegations.  In fact, Jon Postel went
to great lengths to stress that the
delegation of ccTLDs was independent
of the government, not subservient 
to it.

[In fact, this is what the current 
controversy between the GAC/ICANN 
and the ccTLDs is all about.]

Your claims otherwise are most 



Jay Fenello,
New Media Strategies
http://www.fenello.com  678-585-9765
Aligning with Purpose(sm) ... for a Better World
"Like everyone else, you were born into bondage ... born 
into a prison you cannot smell, or taste, or touch ... 
a prison for your mind" -- Morpheous

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