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Would-be Internet domain chief demands Privacy™

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The man named on Friday as the leading candidate for the vacant ICANN hotseat, has an interesting personal perspective on domain names that is likely to raise serious questions about his suitability for the job.

Paul Twomey, an administrator with close links to the Clinton bureaucrat who established ICANN, Ira Magaziner, was cited by the Washington Post as the leading contender for the vacant ICANN CEO post that has been filled in recent years by giddy Silicon Valley dingbat (and occasional Earth-visitor) Esther Dyson, gravelly Net godfather Vint Cerf, and most recently by the accidental-CEO, Stuart Lynn, respectively.

So what, you suppose, kind of track record should a wannabee high priest of Internet Domain Naming bring to the job? It's anyone's guess.

In Dyson's case, she was the permanent and permanently vacant Silicon Valley networker who got the job largely out of name recognition. Her successor, Vint Cerf, had real technical credentials (as the co-author of TCP/IP) and Lynn, well, he played tennis with someone.

But Twomey's credentials look a lot less innocuous For here's a chap who tried to trademark the very word "privacy".

Veteran ICANN gadfly Michael Froomkin, who has not ceased in his efforts to find who or what might be accountable in this important but sprawling quango - or more accurately, family of quangoettes - reminded us via ICANNWatch that Twomey filed an intellectual property right to "privacy.biz" on the basis that privacy was a trademark. As in,Trademark™.

That claim is "transparently bogus", Froomkin notes. Twomey's company at the time, Privacy Solution Asia Pacific had only the most tenuous claim to a word that was already generic.

And while this might be enough to torpedo Twomey 's title to the job in some parts, charges of nepotism will be harder to refute. Twomey established a consultancy company Asia Pacific with Ira Magaziner, who was instrumental in establishing ICANN itself.

Before turning to the Internet, Magaziner was Hilary Clinton's liaison in her ill-fated attempt to reform the US' medieval healthcare system.

Nepotism aside, can you ever trust anyone who has tried to trademark Privacy™ to run your domain name system? ®

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