Massive Conflict Of Interests In ICANN Called Out By CEO, Start To Get Some Attention

from the the-system-is-broken dept

We've noted what a joke ICANN has been for quite some time, culminating with some of its more bizarre decisions to help governments seize domains and censor the internet. Separately, its sense of entitlement towards its role managing domain registrations is really pretty disgusting. Of course, for years we've also discussed its ridiculous policy of rolling out new top level domains whose sole purpose appeared to be to transfer money from companies to registrars.

At a recent ICANN meeting, however, outgoing ICANN boss Rod Beckstrom (who we had hoped would clean up ICANN back when he took the job) blasted his own organization for the massive conflicts of interest that have made the organization almost entirely ineffectual when it comes to doing anything for the public's benefit.
"I believe it is time to further tighten up the rules that have allowed perceived conflicts to exist within our board," Mr. Beckstrom said in a speech during an Icann meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, last week. "This is necessary, not just to be responsive to the growing chorus of criticism about Icann's ethics environment, but to ensure that absolute dedication to the public good supersedes all other priorities."
In fact, it looks like the conflicts are even worse than originally discussed, with a significant number of top people being closely tied to registrars directly, such that their positions are heavily influenced by what makes registrars the most money rather than what's best for the public or the internet as a whole. Isn't it time to just start over again from scratch, rather than letting this farce continue?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    money has always been more influential than the public. it aint gonna change now. like the entertainment industries, the ICANN guys will fight tooth and nail to maintain the hold they at least think they've got

     

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    Jeffrey, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Ah, well then...

    Don't be surprised if the CEO is mysteriously replaced soon for calling things out. Board directors don't like it when the CEO does crazy talk. (See Movie Reference: Iron Man)

     

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      MrWilson, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:30pm

      Re: Ah, well then...

      You missed the part where Mike mentioned that this CEO is outgoing, as in leaving, rather than being social.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    Yarrrrr! Pirate Mike wants to overthrow ICANN. LMAO!!

     

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    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Has anyone seen this? http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000787.html

    Tech blogger Laurent Weinstein has put forward a solution and we need some debate on this. Can it work? Would it work? If so, when do we start?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    sounds like certain political organisations or politicians; take a position that is supposedly to serve the public; then create policy or laws that mostly benefit yourself financially.

     

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    Anonymous Nerd, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    I smell a Corporate Civil War

    What happens when Big Film Business does something like this, before attacking us, they try to censor each other out, then destroy themselves?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 8:02pm

    "At a recent ICANN meeting, however, outgoing ICANN boss Rod Beckstrom (who we had hoped would clean up ICANN back when he took the job) blasted his own organization for the massive conflicts of interest that have made the organization almost entirely ineffectual when it comes to doing anything for the public's benefit."

    Sounds mostly like he didn't get the job done, is going away, and has sour grapes because he couldn't get people to do it all his way.

    Good riddance!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 7:12am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 8:02pm

      No. It sounds like the organization has become infiltrated with people who would rather look out for greedy special interests for their own personal benefit over the best interests of the general public contrary to the principles on which the creation of the Internet was founded. This is similar to the situation we have in Congress.

       

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    PSC, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    As a private sector multi-stakeholder organization that only exercices power via contract ICANN has inevitable potential for conflict, both on its Board and in its internal policymaking process, as parties potentially affected by its policies get to shape and vote on them. That said, it's still better than an ITU takeover of the DNS that would put governments in the driver's seat and push aside NGOs, business, and entrepreneurs with a real understanding of the system.

    ICANN has conceded that its ethics/conflicts policy is in need of major revamping and is moving to do so. Anyone can comment and participate in that process -- so do so if you care about this, and think about what comes after ICANN if it is junked rarher than reformed.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      That is one of the problems. ITU is horrible in how they act at the wim of the "traditional values" countries (Traditional values is basically a talking point like "omg child abuse, piracy, terrorism" used to justify censorship). However, there is a need of a system with more neutral bonds and even though ITU failed, most european politicians want ICANN to assume international status. Some of the countries to assure control of its process and others to avoid the current corruption and preferrential treatment of selective US interests.

       

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    Ninja (profile), Mar 26th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    We need a decentralized system for the same urls. You'd need a coordinated action to take down domains and this would only be done if due process was followed. Even if the US in its sense of entitlement decided to take, ie., Rojadirecta offline, it would only happen on their DNS system. Since the system is distributed, most browsers would go for the overall DNS activity, ignoring the single one that presents the domain as another IP. This would force the US Govt to follow due process and get it seized on the majority of the DNS servers. Something they wouldn't succeed in Rojadirecta's or Daja1z cases.

     

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