Feeds

Dotcom contract 'undermines' ICANN's integrity

Board member lashes out at decision

Security for virtualized datacentres

The new dotcom contract undermines ICANN's integrity and "poses unacceptable risks to the values that underly ICANN's mission", one of the internet watchdog's own board members said.

In statements released today over the controversial contract passed earlier this week, new member Susan Crawford pulled no punches in her dissection of the deal. She also has the support of other board members, including some that voted in favour of the deal.

The contract, which awards control of all dotcom domains to VeriSign until at least 2012, was ratified on Tuesday by nine votes for, five against, and one abstention.

Board dissension over the deal was widely known, and two special meetings were held to push the deal through before ICANN's public meeting later this month.

Todays statements reveal the degree of disagreement at the top of the organisation, and reflect the internet community's dislike for the new contract.

Crawford said the agreement damages ICANN's reputation, undermines its mission as a forum for policy development, and disrupts its effectiveness. She said: "We will need to evaluate how ICANN should be structured and should operate for the future, so that crises of confidence like that created by this proposed agreement can be avoided."

Other board members rallied to her cry. Raimundo Beca raised points about the secrecy of the deal and the long and short-term impacts of ratification. Njeri Rionge said the main reason behind her decision to vote against the deal was that "the community with whom we are representing are clearly not in favour of this agreement".

But among the camp that favoured that deal, Veni Markovski marked it as "a positive step forwards, as it puts an end to a long-lasting tension which was driving ICANN away from its main job". Instead, he laid the blame on the ICANN community that he said was only interested in finding problems, rather than solutions. But, he says: "I agree with Susan that we need to start to talk about ICANN and its role in a changing environment. We'll see soon whether this was a 'good day for the internet', or a 'death sentence' for ICANN."

Collectively, the board members that approved the deal released a statement which said the decision to approve the contract was made based on four main factors.

It claimed the "presumptive right of renewal" granted to VeriSign - effectively permanent control of the dotcom registry - was in the previous contract with VeriSign and as such was not a "substantive change".

Secondly, it said the agreement was the best it could expect given the lawsuits VeriSign holds against it.

The third factor is an attempt to explain why the agreement was reached behind closed doors. Private negotiations were "an essential element of ICANN’s ability to obtain an agreement", the statement says. It also claims that the public comment process was sufficient for objections to be raised.

And finally, the issue of VeriSign's ability to raise dotcom prices by seven per cent a year was ICANN's attempt to "loosen the artificial constraints that have existed on the pricing of .com and other registries".

The statements are a radical departure from the organisation's usual approach of complete silence on board discussion and feeling, and as such will be warmly greeted by those that argue ICANN's opaqueness is a major contributing factor to its problems. However, the fact that such strong disagreement is present on the ICANN board is only likely to encourage critics of the deal, of which there are many. ®

Related links

Individual statements by board members
Board joint statement

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.