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

Diary - November 18, 2002

This entry is derived from notes written while the meeting was in progress.  I was at the IETF meeting in Atlanta, so, from my perspective, meeting occurred at the relatively late hour of 8:30am rather than the more typical 5:30am.

The preliminary report is online at:

Approval of Minutes

I voted yes.

ccTLD Agreements

There were three ccTLD agreements on the agenda.  There was nothing unusual about the agreements themselves, but there was something very odd about the context.

Each of these ccTLD agreements was closely - and perhaps inextricably - linked to a redelegation of the operational authority for each ccTLD.

In the past such redelegations were governed by RFC1591 and ICANN's ICP 1.  The administration of these redelegations was performed by IANA, not by ICANN.

These resolutions, however, appear to have tied the approval of the redelegations to the signing a contract with ICANN by the new operational authority of the ccTLD.  One could chose to believe that approval of the redelgation and the signing of the contract are totally coincidental.  But could one reasonably hold to that belief given three such occurrences?  There are reasons that could lead one to come the conclusion that ICANN's management is engaged in a systematic effort to obtain a coercive advantage over ccTLDs by requiring a ccTLD sign ICANN's contract before ICANN-acting-as-IANA will approve a transfer of operational authority for a ccTLD.  This conclusion is made the more believable by ICANN's continuing, and technically unsupportable, practice of refusing to update ccTLD name server records for ccTLDs that refuse to allow ICANN to copy that ccTLD's zone files, sometimes in violation of that nation's privacy laws.

I strongly feel that the administrative matter of redelegation should be performed by IANA without reference to whether a contract exists between the ccTLD and ICANN or not or whether contract discussions are occurring.

The conclusion that I draw is that the IANA functions would be better performed if done by a body that has a distinct existence apart from ICANN with its own staff and own management.  (See my paper A Plan To Reform ICANN - )

As for the resolutions themselves, I voted "yes" on the Sudan and Afghanistan agreements.  I did this because these were transfers of operational authority that were supported by all appropriate and interested parties.

In the Kenya case, however, I abstained.  I was initially supportive until I heard that the objecting party, who happens to be the present operator, is part of the political opposition to the government that is supporting the transfer of the ccTLD away from, and over the objection of, the present party.  I got the impression that ICANN might be being used as a tool of an internal political fight.

I do not agree with the position that was put forward that ICANN's role is to ensure that a ccTLD must be run to meet some ICANN-defined standard of quality or degree of public service.  To my way of thinking that is the business of the sovereign nation related to the ccTLD and is simply none of ICANN's business.

On a side note - I noticed that ICANN's staff attended a meeting in Kenya en masse.  I found it odd that even though an ICANN Director was present at the meeting, ICANN's management also chose to send several officers (including ICANN's peregrine president) and other staffers half way around the world to attend; one would have been enough.

CEO Search

I'm not going to comment much on the CEO search.  However, I will say that I objected that the salary that was offered to the present president was much too high at the time it was offered - it greatly exceeded the market rate for corporate presidents even in those days of apparent scarcity.  In the present economic conditions, there no reason to repeat that mistake.

I have never seen ICANN's present CEO at ICANN's offices.  From ICANN's travel records it appears that the current president is yet another ICANN officer with an excessive penchant for travel on ICANN's dime.  ICANN's new president should have an awareness that in many situations, the Internet is an effective alternative to travel.

And the new president should be able to recognize that the job of a president is to carry out the will of the board of directors, not vice versa.

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2002 Karl Auerbach, All Rights Reserved.
Updated: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 01:18:33 PM