RealTime IT News

Directors Approve Lynn Reform

As expected, the board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Friday passed the reform program pitched by its president several months ago.

The blueprint was passed with no amendments, despite complaints from advocates over the make-up of the new board of directors -- business and government representatives but no public participation.

The committee on ICANN evolution and reform is expected to complete the details outlined in the blueprint by the end of October, when the board of directors meet again in Shanghai, China.

According to the resolution, ICANN leadership barely acknowledged the points made during an open forum meeting Thursday, noting only the board "takes note" of the importance of community input and will take "due account of these issues as it moves forward..."

Directors did concede, however, to advocate calls for at-large participation by stating they will consider the idea of an at-large advisory committee. That committee would formalize the various efforts to include public participation, but would not include any decision-making powers or the right to vote on any issues.

At-large proponents are up in arms over the "concession," deriding the measure in chat rooms and e-mail discussion lists after the resolution was passed. Jamie Love, one such discussion list member, said it's easy for the board to adopt an advisory committee.

"It just doesn't mean anything," he wrote. "You can't vote or freely choose your own leaders. You just become a volunteer focus group for the (ICANN) staff."

Stuart Lynn, ICANN president and chief executive officer, said the accepted blueprint would see little change in the future, as ICANN gets on with the business of reform.

"The board passed the resolution that it adopts and endorses, so we're not going to iterate on this thing forever. I know that there are some people who are disappointed, but there wasn't that much the committee hadn't already considered. It didn't accept all the arguments."

While the resolution calls for ICANN to preserve "its essential character as an open and transparent non-governmental policy development body," Lynn said the board of directors is under no obligation to do so, being a private organization.

"Because ICANN is a private body, we can structure it any way we want," he said. "Our belief is that the restructuring and the other items in the blueprint create a much more effective ICANN.

"The Department of Commerce has stated they would like to see us making good progress moving forward," he added, "and I think it's quite remarkable how much we've accomplished since February."