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ICANN Officials Violated Protocol, Say Asian Net Officials

Officials of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) apparently affronted Asian Internet community officials during March's Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) in Singapore by not adhering to protocol.

APRICOT organizers invited ICANN to hold a general meeting in conjunction with the Asian conference and various other meetings of regional Internet organizations.

In Singapore, ICANN adopted a policy to accredit Internet domain name registrars and laid the foundation for the ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO).

"For the parties with vested interest, the end result was that very good work was accomplished," said Pindar Wong, chairman of the Asia & Pacific Internet Association and APRICOT's organizer.

"My understanding was that ICANN wanted to hear our views and interests," continued Wong. "From APRICOT, we wanted to understand what ICANN was"

"Knowing that the participation of Asians in ICANN is nonexistent, we felt awareness and education were important," said Wong. "That is why we--APRICOT--invited ICANN to Singapore in the first place."

Wong and other Asian community members said that ICANN officials violated protocol and did not meet with the Asian Internet community.

"What was evident was that they were oblivious to the AP community," said Wong. They flew in and then flew out.

According to another source, ICANN officials only briefly appeared at an APRICOT lunch honoring them, arranged a press conference without notifying their hosts, and met with the Singapore government without informing Asian industry leaders.

"Ultimately, we made some unintentional protocol mistakes for which we apologized," said Esther Dyson, interim chairman of ICANN and Net guru. "We have learned from them, and we believe we have been forgiven."

"For what it's worth, I gave one of the keynotes at APRICOT, and turned it into an interactive session with the mostly Asian audience, and I learned a lot from it," said Dyson. "Overall, ICANN serves the Internet community, of which the pan-Asian Net community is a part.

One Asian Internet community leader said that he found the Americans to be arrogant but that it was more important to build a closer relationship and not to dwell on it.

However, Wong emphasized that ICANN can't "say that they are globally represented by saying they had meetings in several geographical locations" but without really communicating to the international community.

Asian industry leaders hope that the next ICANN meeting, in May in Berlin, will heal the "damage" that was done in Singapore.