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The Internet Technology

ICANN Ethical Conflicts Are Worse Than They Seem 26

hapworth writes "In light of outgoing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom's admission that the board is mired in conflicts of interest, another ICANN insider has spoken up to say the ethical issues go way deeper than what Beckstrom pointed to. Beau Brendler, chairman of the North American Internet user advisory committee to ICANN (NARALO), lists ICANN's executive committee members and their individual conflicts, stating that the 'public interest is not well served by a structure and executive leadership that's conflicted by the same industry it's supposed to oversee.' Brendler says the truth about ICANN's 'hundreds' of ethical conflicts has been buried for years and is only starting to come to light because of a 'few rebellious voices.'"
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ICANN Ethical Conflicts Are Worse Than They Seem

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here's hoping for a tell-all expose.

  • The good part ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @05:05PM (#39433223) Journal

    The good part is that the members seem to be declaring their conflicts and recusing themselves (sometimes over half of them) rather than participate in decisions when they have a conflict. I wish this were the case with more commissions regulating other industries.

    This is characteristic of all government regulation organizations. It's called "regulatory capture". Virtually anyone who has the expertise to regulate an industry developed that expertise by working in the industry - typically in high positions - and being interested in it. So the regulatory boards end up stacked with people with conflicts of interest (even if the boards pay well enough for the members to divest themselves of all current financial ties).

    • Although you can also get branded as being too non-neutral, which can make it harder to get work in a regulatory agency, or can mark your opinions (fairly or not) as biased by the position of the organization you used to work for. Maybe not directing the agency, since those are mostly political employees, but certainly as a worker bee.

    • Except that it was the one CEO that did the declaring, and I didn't see anything about anyone recusing in the article. Did I miss something?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      have no industry connections at all. I don't even have any friends. At all.

      So, I would be a perfect member of the board.

      How do I get started?

    • Re:The good part ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@nosPAM.hackish.org> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @06:30PM (#39434153)

      That's often true, but there are a reasonable number of qualified people when it comes to internetworking technology who could serve on such a board, if it didn't take so many business connections and wheeling-and-dealing to get on the board in the first place. Some of the IETF folks, for example, work at national labs or in academia, rather than in industry.

  • I think "Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Trades" has a better ring to it anyway...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @05:47PM (#39433687)

    I have followed ICANN for a decade and worked for it for three years. I wrote a post on this issue that should give some answers to the questions asked above as well as give some insider insights:


  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @05:52PM (#39433731)

    It's hard for me to see how anyone could be knowledgeable enough to be in this sort of oversight role yet not in a position where conflicts of interest could be a problem.

    And I'm including members of educational institutions in that statement - not just corporations. They all have vested self interests that will be affected by any decisions made about protocols, net neutrality, DNS... anything.

    • There's also the news that ICANN will help cooperate with global domain seizures [news.idg.no] (posted as a /. submission, but didn't make the front page), perhaps being preceded by this [slashdot.org].

      While I'm not sure about handing control of DNS to the UN, leaving such an important and essential resource to a non-democratic organization (and the country that hosts it taking extralegal measures to seize domains) is going to become increasingly untenable, and I wouldn't be surprised if the system fragments -- or is replaced altogethe

  • From ICANN's past... (Score:5, Informative)

    by linuxtelephony ( 141049 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @05:56PM (#39433789) Homepage

    Remember these?
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/02/05/22/0150223/icann-director-seeks-court-order-to-review-records [slashdot.org]
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/02/03/15/1655246/icann-board-spurns-democratic-elections [slashdot.org]
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/02/10/31/2035207/icann-ditches-public-participation [slashdot.org]

    The problems with ICANN go back a long time. The only thing that seems to be new here is that perhaps, finally, more light is being focused on them and more people are finally taking notice. Sadly, I suspect it's too little, too late.

    • by Jay L ( 74152 )

      I was just thinking "Hasn't Karl Auerback been trying to get the world to realize this for a decade?" Thanks.

  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @06:47PM (#39434333)

    Greenspan himself said:

    "But on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.

    “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform"

    New York Times Link [nytimes.com]

    Self-regulation was an experiment that failed. Government however is currently under the control of bought politicians. So any attempts to put some effective regulation in place will be halfhearted at best, and subject to constant undermining from the inside. November 2012 hopefully will bring some changes and some sanity restored to government and its regulatory bodies.

    “Politicians are like diapers, they both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

    The same reason you don't want an entrenched imperial presidency is the same reason you don't want an entrenched, imperial Congress.

  • by Eightbitgnosis ( 1571875 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @10:44PM (#39436709) Homepage
    "Public interest is not well served by a structure and executive leadership that's conflicted by the same industry it's supposed to oversee"

    America needs to build a large statue and put this on it
  • ... ICANN, IANA and IETF into one international consortium-style organization, w/ nothing to do w/ things like TLDs and domain names, and move those type of resources down to the RIRs, and let each country deal w/ the RIR that covers it. That way, there will be no reason for any government - US or other - to intervene in the operations of this body, but they can work w/ ARIN, APNIC or whoever is applicable in their case.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker