I met with a United States Congressman today who asked me and others what is wrong with ICANN and how can it be fixed? Everybody knows that VERISIGN got a sweetheart deal from ICANN to be the .com and .net registry in perpetuity and raise the registration rates by 7% every 4 out of 7 years. Maybe that is because VERISIGN spends millions of $$ entertaining, wining and dining ICANN at every meeting 3 times a year around the world.
Now we learn that there was a “glitch” in the system where gTLD applicants had access to other applications that had already been made and ICANN did NOTHING ABOUT IT for 3 weeks!
Then there is the former Chairman of the Board of ICANN who voted to open up registries for additional gTLDs and then quit to represent companies that want to apply for new gTLDs, a genuine conflict of interest and completely unethical.
Don’t forget the push to pass the URS to make it cheaper and easier for big money trademark holders to bring actions against “cybersquatters”. Oh, and how about the fact that there is no penalty for being found guilty of Reverse Domain Hijacking.
I could go on and on with ethical violations, or the fact that this non-profit corporation has over $100,000,000 in the bank, etc. But, what can be done? Do away with ICANN all together? That would just create a void that would rapidly be filled by an international call to the United Nations or some other international organization to take over governance of the Internet! I don’t believe that is an acceptable solution.
ICANN was set up by Congress to govern the internet impartially and it was made quasi-legislative without having to report to any other agency or even Congress itself. I believe that the first step to take is to require accountability. ICANN is presently accountable to no one. It can do whatever it wants with impunity and has done so many times.
I recommended to the Congressman that a Congressional Oversight Committee be set up, and not just another bureaucratic agency. This ICANN OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE will have the authority to require reports and accountings from ICANN and to look into reported misdeeds and unethical conduct. It could require a revamp of the UDRP and put teeth into penalties for REVERSE DOMAIN HIJACKING. It could consist of Bipartisan Representatives and Senators who could insist on accountability.
If you have other ideas, please let us know. More importantly, let your Congressman and Senator know; let the ICA and Phil Corwin know. Now is the time to act and we have the power at our disposal to do so. We just need to have the guts to use that power.
Thanks for “listening”
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