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.

The

se are:

  1. Quaynor (Africa) -small business, Internet access
  2. Moura Campos (Latin America) -government research management
  3. Levin (Africa) -small business, IT-health care
  4. Chiang (Asia) -College of Commerce, small business and IT
  5. Echeberria (Latin America) -small business
  6. Poblete and Popov have some claim to be in this group for bringing the
    Internet to Chile and Macedonia, respectively.


After reading the analysis, ICANN’s Chief Policy Officer, Andrew McLaughlin, told InternetNews.com Wednesday that Klein was entitled to his own opinion, and defended ICANN’s methodology.


“The names on the NomCom’s list come from different user communities: business users, technical users, academic users and individual users,” McLaughlin said. “Hans Klein seems to have a skewed view of the broad range of interests that ought to be a part of the ICANN process as users; he only defines certain kinds of users as “users” for his purposes. ICANN is a public interest organization with a responsibility to serve
the entire internet community, and not just certain ideological interests.”


McLaughlin said he was surprised that Klein would pick at the people in such detail.


“It’s a little weird for him to attack the people. Why did he take this route as opposed to suggesting members that he had in mind?” McLaughlin wondered.

But some people aren’t subscribing to either point of view.


Lauren Weinstein, cofounder of the People for Internet Responsibility, said analyses done by firms are inevitable, if not a little irrelevant. He believes the key to ICANN’s improvements lies in the foundation — not in the people laying it.


“There are lot of flawed details within ICANN,” Weinstein said. “We need a clear and formal structure — not just people to take care of technical issues, but a much broader system. I do not see the rigorous procedures being exercised to fix ICANN, which, by the way, I don’t think will be fixed.”


Excerpts for this article where taken from CYBER-FEDERALIST, a
regularly-published series of analyses and commentaries on Internet
governance and ICANN elections produced as part of the Internet Democracy
Project
.

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