Icann Is an I Won’t
November 16, 2015
Have you ever heard of Icann? You are probably like many people within the United States and have not heard of the non-profit private company. What does Icann do? Icann is responsible for Internet protocol addresses (IP) and coordinating domain names, so basically the company is responsible for a huge portion of the Internet. According to The Guardian in “The Internet Is Run By An Unaccountable Private Company. This Is A Problem,” the US supposedly runs the Icann but its role is mostly clerical and by September 30, 2015 it was supposed to hand the reins over to someone else.
The “else” is the biggest question. The Icann community spent hours trying to figure out who would manage the company, but they ran into a huge brick wall. The biggest issue is that the volunteers want Icann to have more accountability, which does not seem feasible. Icann’s directors cannot be fired, except by each other. Finances are another problem with possible governance risks and corruption.
A supposed solution is to create a membership organization, a common business model for non-profits and will give power to the community. Icann’s directors are not too happy and have been allowed to add their own opinions. Decisions are not being made at Icann and with the new presidential election the entire power shift could be off. It is not the worst that could happen:
“But there’s much more at stake. Icann’s board – as ultimate authority in this little company running global internet resources, and answerable (in fact, and in law) to no one – does have the power to reject the community’s proposals. But not everything that can be done, should be done. If the board blunders on, it will alienate those volunteers who are the beating heart of multi-stakeholder governance. It will also perfectly illustrate why change is required.”
The board has all the power and the do not have anyone to hold them accountable. Icann directors just have to stall long enough to keep things the same and they will be able to give themselves more raises.