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DOC to ICANN: Time to End Double-Weighted Voting of Registries and Registrars

The US Department of Commerce and ICANN announced today an Affirmation of Commitments.

One of the important elements of that document was in section 4, namely that “ICANN and DOC recognize that there is a group of participants that engage in ICANN’s processes to a greater extent than Internet users generally.”

I’m sure that most people can recognize that this refers to the so-called “contracted parties”—the registry operators and registrars who will control half the voting power in the GNSO, ICANN’s policy-making body, under the current reforms. This disproportionate voting power has led ICANN policy astray over the years, for example pushing for a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) free-for-all over the overwhelming objections of the general public and without any economic analysis of the benefits vs. the costs.

To ensure that policy outcomes truly reflect the public interest, the voting power of the general public (business and non-commercial users of the internet, excluding the registrars and registries) needs to rise within the GNSO. ICANN should make it a priority to review and adjust the voting power of the various GNSO constituencies in a timely manner.

By George Kirikos, President, Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.

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