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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Interview with Karl Auerbach: "ICANN is out of control"

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Sun, 08 Dec 2002 23:01:26 -0500
To:             	politech@politechbot.com
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Interview with Karl Auerbach: "ICANN is out of control!"
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com

[I occasionally forward items on ICANN, and many are admittedly
negative. This is due to most of the articles and material available
on the Net -- and Politech is only as good as its sources -- being
somewhat critical. As always, I would be happy to forward rebuttals
and replies from ICANN and/or its defenders. --Declan]


From: "Richard Koman" <rkoman@attbi.com>
To: <declan@well.com>
Subject: Karl Auerbach: ICANN "Out of Control"
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002 22:06:54 -0800


You might be interested in this interview I did with Karl Auerbach,
soon to be an ex-public board member of ICANN.


Here's the intro:

October's distributed, denial-of-service attack against the domain
name system--the most serious yet, in which seven of the thirteen DNS
roots were cut off from the Internet--put a spotlight on ICANN, the
nongovernmental corporation responsible for Internet addressing and
DNS. The security of DNS is on ICANN's watch. Why is it so susceptible
to attack, when the Internet as a whole is touted as being able to
withstand nuclear Armageddon?

It's religious dogma, says Karl Auerbach, a public representative to
ICANN's board. There's no reason DNS shouldn't be decentralized,
except that ICANN wants to maintain central control over this critical
function. Worse, Auerbach said in a telephone interview with O'Reilly
Network, ICANN uses its domain name dispute resolution process to
expand the rights of trademark holders, routinely taking away domains
from people with legitimate rights to them, only to reward them to
multinational corporations with similar names.

Auerbach--who successfully sued ICANN over access to corporate
documents (ICANN wanted him to sign a nondisclosure agreement before
he could see the documents)--will only be an ICANN director for a few
more weeks. As part of ICANN's "reform" process, the ICANN board voted
last month to end public representation on the board. As of December
15, there will be zero public representatives on the ICANN board.

How does ICANN justify banishing the public from its decision-making
process? Stuart Lynn, president and CEO of ICANN, said the change was
needed to make ICANN's process more "efficient." In a Washington Post
online discussion, Lynn said: "The board decided that at this time
[online elections] are too open to fraud and capture to be practical,
and we have to look for other ways to represent the public interest.
It was also not clear that enough people were really interested in
voting in these elections to create a large enough body of voters that
could be reflective of the public interest. This decision could always
be reexamined in the future. In the meantime, we are encouraging other
forms of at-large organizations to self-organize and create and
encourage a body of individuals who could provide the user input and
public interest input into the ICANN process."

Former ICANN president Esther Dyson is also supporting the move away
from public representation on the board. "I did believe that it was a
good idea to have a globally elected executive board, [but] you can't
have a global democracy without a globally informed electorate," Dyson
told the Post. "What you really need [in order] to have effective
end-user representation is to have them in the bowels (of the
organization) rather than on the board."

Auerbach isn't buying. "ICANN is pursuing various spin stories to
pretend that they haven't abandoned the public interest," he says in
this interview. "ICANN is trying to create a situation where
individuals are not allowed in and the only organizations that are
allowed in are those that hew to ICANN's party line."

In this interview, Auerbach makes a number of strong criticisms of
ICANN, beyond the issue of public access:

   a.. ICANN uses its domain name dispute resolution process to expand
rights of trademark holders, routinely taking away domains from people
with legitimate rights to them, only to reward them to multinational
corps with similar names, Auerbach says.
   b.. ICANN unnecessarily maintains the domain name system as a
database, making it vulnerable to attack.
   c.. ICANN has failed to improve network security since September 11
has ignored Auerbach's suggestions for improving DNS security.
   d.. ICANN staff takes actions without consulting the board,
information from the board, and misleads board members.
   e.. Finally, Auerbach charges that ICANN is guilty of corporate

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