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ICANN's Nominees Come Under Fire

Two weeks after the People for Internet Responsibility took aim at the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers for its board selection criteria, another organization has surfaced to question the qualifications of the nominees.

The Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Tuesday went as far as to say that only seven of the 18 nominees are fit to represent Internet users. The organization is also calling for new nominees to emerge for consideration.

Breaking each nominee down in technical expertise and qualifications to represent users, the letter was spearheaded by CPSR Chairman Hans K. Klein.

Many of those persons considered hail from the Internet supply industry, the intellectual property community and the research and development community. Klein said while their credentials may be impressive, they don't make them uniquely suited for the job.

"Individuals from these groups possess impressive qualifications -- but not to represent Internet users," Klein wrote.

In terms of technical savvy, Klein said 12 have strong computer science and networking skills: Alan Levin and Nii Quaynor from Africa; Johannes Chiang and Sureswaran Ramadass from Asia; Alf Hansen, Olivier Muron, Oliver Popov and Winfried Sch|ller from Europe and Raul Echeberria, Ivan Moura Campos and Patricio Poblete from Latin America, and Lyman Chapin of North America.

The analysis also noted that one nominee's educational field is unknown; Maria Livanos Cattui (Europe) is described as a "graduate of Harvard University."

Through the detailed analysis, Klein hopes that new nominees will emerge to be considered for the member nomination process, which closes Aug. 14.

Klein told InternetNews.com Wednesday that the CPSR wants a more balanced tier of leaders, with a variety of interests beyond for ICANN.

"They're smart, intelligent people -- don't get me wrong," Klein said. "But to say that all of them have a grasp of making decisions on intellectual property for the Internet is... a litle ridiculous."

Klein is essentially arguing for the second track of the two-track process -- the new At-Large process scheduled for Aug. 14.

"On the first track, which is very questionable, you have ICANN members reaching over to the other wing to select people who are just like them -- people who represent Internet suppliers, people who represent big business for trademark purposes and the research and development people," Klein said.

"On the other track, an ICANN member may formally submit their names for nomination, and over the course of the next 16 or 17 days or so, members have the chance to endorse their own candidates. It's more democratic."

"ICANN would say 'We aren't regulators, we're engineers,' but they're not just engineers and it's not fair to say so," Klein continued. "They're making public policy, trademark and intellectual property decisions."

Klein said while ICANN spends much of its time on technical and administrative tasks, it also makes important policy decisions and doesn't always adequately communicate them to the Internet community.

"When they start trying to make policy decisions such as whether or not to enforce policy, the public will take issue get upset," Klein said. " Is a large telecommunications corporation the appropriate representative of users? That seems unlikely although ICANN's Nominating Committee apparently found them appropriate."

Klein listed the seven persons his organization favors, representing small business, users and public interest groups. Five candidates have backgrounds related to networking and small business in developing countries. Most have entrepreneurship and policy experience.