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ICANN Getting More Control Could Mean Major Reform

Kieren McCarthy reporting in the Register: “Domain name overseer ICANN is likely to go through a radical reorganization if it wants to be given more control of critical internet functions, currently run under contract from the US government. Two recent papers—one from independent legal experts hired by a group looking into the contract’s transitioning, and a second from an internet governance think-tank—have both highlighted the benefit to making ICANN a true member-led organization, with the internet community given real powers to effect change.”

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Comments

Deja Vu all over again Karl Auerbach  –  Apr 11, 2015 7:56 AM

If I remember right, ICANN once had elections, oops I mean “selections” for a few board seats - I remember because I occupied one of those, at least until ICANN erased even the possibility of director seats filled the public.

ICANN has worked tirelessly to deny even its directors the exercise of their clear authority and power to direct the affairs of the corporation - I had to bring legal action even to exercise a director’s clear and unambiguous right to inspect the financial ledgers!!  ICANN fought that for 18 months, and even today they fail to remember that a judge quickly ruled their claims as utterly baseless and ordered ICANN to comply.

The California law that gives ICANN its existence is not a stupid or silly law - and it is a law at least on par for openness and accountability as the best of similar laws around the world.  There would be no particular gain by moving ICANN to any other jurisdiction, in fact there would be likelihood of diminishment.

However, over the years ICANN’s Board of Directors has acted more as a passive, contemplative body of pondering worthies than as a body that holds the ultimate responsibility - even to the extent of personal responsibility - for the policies and actions of ICANN the corporation.  ICANN’s Board of Directors, under the direction of the law firm that created ICANN, has pursued a system that has increasingly has lead to an ever weaker Board of Directors and every more powerful and ungoverned executive staff.

ICANN ought to be returned to what it ought to have been when it was created - a public benefit/non-profit corporation *with members* under California law who have all the powers that are given by that law.

This might mean that ICANN could face the thing it most fears - a derivative action by its members.  But “accountability” is not a meaningless, empty concept.  Accountability means that when the corporation does not hew to its goals and purposes that those for whose benefit it exists should be able to pull hard on the reins.

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