At-Large Representative for Canada and the United States on the
ICANN Board of Directors
Karl Auerbach

Diary - August 23, 2002

The preliminary report of this meeting may be found on the web at: http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-23aug02.htm

It is worthwhile to note that some of the items to be discussed were never described in detail to the board until they actually came up at the meeting itself.  This failure to give directors adequate notice of matters that are to be discussed at meetings would be inconceivable in any organization except ICANN.  In ICANN - a body whose job is to oversee the largest communications system in the world - the concept of communicating information to Directors is, in a word, absent.

The usual non-board members were present at this meeting of the board.  I was surprised at the presence of one person who I had, apparently mistakenly, believed had left ICANN.

Here's what happened and how I voted:

Approval of Minutes

I voted yes.

New TLD Evaluation Process Planning Task Force (NTEPPTF)

I voted no.

Although the resolution was merely an acceptance of the report, I learned long ago not to accept damaged or incomplete goods.

I found several technical errors in the report.  The report's huge sections on business and legal aspects are simply out of scope for any conception of a limited ICANN.  And the report contains a bias in favor of the status-quo and against innovation.

In 1993 the deployment of the world-wide web created a significant, and qualitative, change in the way the Internet was used.  The WWW was a sea-change in the rate of DNS queries and TCP connection set-up and tear-down.  Had the underlying view of this report been in effect in 1993 it is doubtful that the world-wide web would have passed muster; the WWW would have been considered a disruptive technology that could have had an adverse, and thus entirely unacceptable, effect on the then-existing infrastructures and practices.  Fortunately the analogue to ICANN's NTEPPTF was not around in 1993.  Yes, the web brought major changes in everything from TCP stacks (several were substantially revised) to resource provisioning.  Whole new industries - content management and web caching - arose.  Even companies, such as Microsoft, rewrote their entire business plans.  Yet, in the end, it was well worth it.

I was also bothered by the failure to address the status of the 40 applicants who were not selected two years ago but have been routinely and repeatedly assured that their applications have not been denied and are still pending.

I would also have liked to have seen an accounting for the $2.1 million that ICANN's management claims has been spent on this project.

Reconsideration Requests

Recommendation RC 02-1

I voted to accept this recommendation.  I did, however, have a feeling that apart from the merits of this request, which I felt were valid and substantial, the recommendation also was an unstated attempt to propitiate governmental complaints.

Recommendation RC 02-4

I voted against this recommendation.

I felt that the underlying request had a great deal of merit.  I did not like the way that the committee report that attempted to create a pseudo-jurisprudence of reconsiderations or to define into non-existence the concept of reconsideration.

VeriSign WLS Proposal

I voted "no".

The sine-qua-non that I required to vote "yes" would have been for there to have been full and complete adoption of the DNSO's conditions on WLS.  (I do recognize that the DNSO recommended a flat rejection of WLS and that the conditions were only a fallback position.)

I supported the amendment to require that WLS not be deployed until at least six months after the deployment of the Redemption-Grace system.

I put forth the following amendment:

(d) With regard to transparency of information regarding WLS subscriptions, the WLS provider shall promptly and without charge inform the current domain name registrant of any and all WLS subscription(s) taken out on the registered name including the identity and and other contact information of each person or entity that has obtained such a subscription.

I chose this wording to reflect two main points - an affirmative duty to notify the current registrant and a duty to disclose the identity of the WLS subscriber only to the current registrant rather than to the general public.

I had to retreat on one of these points - the requirement to provide identity of the WLS subscriber - in order to obtain the other point.  I considered that in this case that half a loaf was better than none.

But despite having, in my opinion, improving the resolution, because the end result did not meet my minimal requirement of notice, I voted "no".

I rejected the arguments that to deny this resolution would be to further ensconce ICANN as a regulator - as I see it the total amount of regulation is the same with or without this resolution, only the parties being regulated changes.

I also rejected the arguments that people ought to release domain names when they are done with them.  It's my feeling that ICANN should only deal with matters pertaining to technical stability and avoid saying what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

E-Mail Lists

I believe it is high time for ICANN to create a discussion forum in which the Board of Directors can speak among themselves without "staff" listening in.  ICANN has major staff issues and the presence of "staff" inhibits the Board from coming to grips with those issues.


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2002 Karl Auerbach, All Rights Reserved.
Updated: Monday, September 02, 2002 10:41:50 PM