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U.S. Advocacy Office Wants ICANN to Open Up

Citing concerns that the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers is ruling with too much autonomy, the U.S. Office of Advocacy filed a request this week with the group asking it to create a formal accountability statement.

The government's small business watchdog said it feels ICANN is responsible for taking advantage of its power by putting themselves in a position to evade accountability through the lack of a set of internal rules and regulations.

The statement warned that a set of internal procedural policies are required by ICANN's "memorandum of understanding" with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The administration said ICANN's current organization of posted comments is jumbled and difficult to follow. It said comments from many proceedings were slapped together in a single list, making them very confusing to read. It also said ICANN does not appear to have any means of acknowledging receipt of comments, or records of comments made.

The advocacy office also said people who have commented to ICANN were either not given consideration or were completely ignored. The statement said that no evidence exists to demonstrate that comments were reviewed.

On the matter of transparency, congressman and chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Thomas J. Bliley, a Virginia Republican, said he had a problem with the way ICANN conducts its board meetings.

He said that although they are mostly open, board members refrain from making decisions until they meet in closed sessions, prompting him to wonder why the board seems to be operating in secret. The office said this undermines ICANN's credibility.

The statement urged ICANN to begin the process of adopting procedural policy at its November meeting.

The request was filed two days after ICANN conducted elections, filling two-thirds of its 18 board slots.