[At-Large] Ukraine, .RU, and internet governance

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Sun Mar 13 23:49:24 UTC 2022

I agree with your anger and frustration.

I want to mention another bit of reality that is oft missed in discussions.

ICANN has created a lot of machinery and procedures.  A lot of people 
think of that machinery as if it were some sort of mini-government when, 
in reality it is nothing more than the mutable organization chart of a 
private corporation.

There is also a lot of belief that ccTLDs are somehow "sovereign" or 
owned in some way by the nation each represents.  They are not, 
particularly as exhibited by active ccTLDs that represent nation-states 
that no longer exist (.su)

With regard to the massive ICANN machinery:  Because ICANN intentionally 
created itself to not have "members" (or shareholders) the 
responsibility and authority of the corporation is vested entirely into 
the board of directors.  Although pieces of that authority (but not the 
responsibility) can be temporarily delegated, that delegation can be 
changed or removed at the whim of the board of directors at any time.  
There is no body of members or shareholders who have authority to stop 
the board from engaging in any action that is not unlawful.  (There may 
be some authority in creditors, but usually only in bulk transfers of 
assets or liquidation proceedings.)

In other words, what ICANN's board has created ICANN's board can 
un-create, including all of ICANN subsidiary bodies, its staff, and its 

Along the way ICANN might have to pay out some contractual termination 
fees to executives or engage in some contractual litigation, but that is 
100% within the power of the board of directors.

So if the ICANN board decides to drop or redelegate .ru then there is no 
body within ICANN that can stop it. Such an action might trigger 
litigation in a California court for breach of contract by the current 
holder of .ru, and probably also a request for an injunction which may 
or not succeed..

Once ICANN decides to move forward ICANN can instruct Verisign to make 
the appropriate modifications to the root zone file. Verisign could 
refuse which would engender a contract dispute. And if modified that 
zone file will then pass onto the root server operators who may or may 
not chose to conform.

Notice that there is no national or international authority in this chain.


More information about the At-Large mailing list