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

Diary - August 13, 2002
(Executive Commitee meeting - I'm not on that committee)

This was yet another meeting of ICANN's "Executive Committee".

The preliminary report is on the web at

The purpose of this meeting was to bail-out the government of Australia and, by implication, create a precedent through which ICANN would pick up the tab on behalf of other governments of the world for their secretarial and "chair" expenses in participating in ICANN's most secretive body, the Government Advisory Committee (GAC).

I wasn't permitted to vote in this matter - I'm not part of ICANN's inner sanctum, the Executive Committee.  Despite ICANN's informal policy of allowing any board member to listen into any meeting of any committee, no information was published to the board about how to do so.  Yes, I could have asked.  But why should a Director have to beg "staff" for information that ought to be made available as a matter of course?  I wonder whether ICANN's "outside counsel" was given that information and whether he was present on that phone call?

Had I had the opportunity to vote, I would have voted "no".  ICANN does not pay for similar "secretariat" services, much less those mysterious "chair services" for the DNSO, PSO, or ASO.  And ICANN has used outside donations, rather than its own funds, to underwrite its faux "at-large" efforts.  Yet here is ICANN using ICANN money to reimburse a body composed exclusively of the wealthiest and most powerful entities on Earth.  (And we ought not to forget that under ICANN's cost-based system of levying tithes on DNS and IP registration systems, that the ultimate source of this money is the consumer of Internet services, i.e. you and me.)

By-the-way, I can understand the costs of phone calls and web-sites and other non-salary costs that constitute "secretariat" costs.  But what is a "chair service"?  Is ICANN underwriting some government person's salary?

I was not swayed by the assertions that to fail to underwrite these expenses would be to open the door to bodies such as the ITU to come forward and begin to take over pieces of ICANN's roles.

ICANN really ought to detach the GAC and let it  be a body distinct and apart from ICANN and from ICANN's funding.  As a separate body the members of the GAC could still render their "advice" to ICANN, in much the same way that ICANN has "allowed" individuals to render their advice.

It is worthwhile to take note of the fact that a meeting of the entire Board of Directors was held on August 23, a mere 10 days later.  Was the government of Australia so in danger of financial collapse during those 10 days that ICANN had to invoke the Executive Committee to keep that nation afloat?  If not, then what exigent circumstance required that this significant change in ICANN's scope be taken out of the hands of the full board?

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2002 Karl Auerbach, All Rights Reserved.
Updated: Monday, September 02, 2002 10:42:00 PM