[At-Large] ITU versus ICANN

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sat Oct 9 14:26:28 UTC 2010

There has been quite a bit of news lately regarding noises made about ICANN
at the recent meeting of the International Telecom Union (ITU).

One proposal from Russian-speaking countries has gone so far as to call for
scrapping the GAC, and have ITU give itself veto power over all ICANN board
decisions. Even a compromise would essentially undermine the finality of any
ICANN Board policy.

I want to call your attention to a very thoughtful article in
by ALAC's own Sivasubramanian Muthusamy, as well as the comments by
former Board member Karl Auerbach to another CircleID
by Gregory Francis.

I am very interested in hearing the views of others here on this topic. In
some ways it seems that ICANN has practically begged for such intervention,
through a history of opacity and an agenda driven by business and
self-aggrandised senior staff rather than the public interest. Our own
difficulty within At-Large to advance policy -- seen most recently through
Board pushback on two important cross-community initiatives -- offers plenty
of evidence of that.

Then again, I have serious doubts that the ITU's oversight will be any
better for the public interest, but rather just assert the worst of all
levels of government control.

Does ICANN At-Large have any role in this debate? Can we help save ICANN
from such capture? Should we welcome it? Should we care?

I welcome any comment that will help guide my own approach to this,
including (especially!) from Karl and Sivas.

- Evan

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