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http://news.dot-nxt.com/2011/03/14/magaziner-speech

While ICANN has its faults... I think there are things that ICANN should do to work better...

  • "The president of the university of southern California called saying that they could not take the lawsuits that were being directed against them and wanted out of their contract. Our legal counsel described over 50 lawsuits all over the world that could tear the Internet apart. A delegation from the International Telecommunication Union, after a dozen years of opposing the adoption of the Internet protocols, approached us demanding to take over the Internet. A delegation of U.S. Congressmen and senators insisted that the U.S. government had created the Internet and should never give up complete control of it. Several delegations of representatives from over 100 leading I.T. and media companies and 10 trade associations visited saying that Internet technical coordination and security had to be brought into a more predictable global environment before they would invest money in it."

  • "And the EU delegation said that they would pursue their own relation of the Internet routing system unless the U.S. changed its policies. Representatives from the Internet Society that I had dinner with told us that the Internet Society controlled the Internet and they would resist any attempts by the U.S. government or any government to take control. And the U.S. government security task force on the Internet delivered a report to us saying that as currently organized, the Internet was in danger of disintegrating from the lawsuits and lack of agreed-upon coordination mechanism."

  • "If we left the coordination of the Internet DNS to an intergovernmental body, we feared that it would get bogged down in bureaucracy and approvals would move at a glacial place. Personally I'm a believer that governments play an important role in societies, and I'm a supporter of the United Nations. I work closely with U.N. agencies in my current work, leading efforts at the Clinton Foundation on Global Health and Climate Change, but the slow and bureaucratic processes of government and multilateral government bodies are not the best way to coordinate a fast-moving, creative, chaotic medium like the Internet. They move too slowly. They're too risk-averse. They officially represent only governments and not other constituencies. And just in general, they're too cumbersome."

  • "On the other hand, the Internet could not be coordinated by a normal private entity. There must be public accountability to Internet users and investors. There also has to be accountability to governments. The idea of setting up a private nonprofit organization that would be organized to be a grass-roots organization of technical experts accountable to Internet users and constituencies and be recognized by governments but not controlled by governments was risky. That had not been done before on a global scale. We knew it would be difficult and somewhat messy, but we thought that it offered the best chance of success"

  • "Experts and political leaders alike said I was wrong. It would be impossible to go from 16 million people -- which is where we were then -- to 1 billion people in just 15 years. They argued it would be politically and technically impossible for the Internet to expand that fast. I was accused of being a big thinker and a dreamer. Well, I was wrong, but not because of what the critics said. I was wrong because I did not think or dream big enough. Today, there are almost 2 billion Internet users. There are over 3.7 billion IP addresses. And over 129 million domain names. And electronic commercial has grown to almost a trillion dollars per year."

  • "Now, would things have worked as well if we would not have created ICANN and did the things we did? Maybe. You can always speculate. But the reality is for all its shortcomings, ICANN has not prevented this resolution; and by most accounts, it has played an important and positive role in helping to enable it."

  • "So the reason for my history lesson today is to remind you all that the Internet almost broke down before it really took off in the late 1990s. And it almost broke down in legal, political and policy disputes that could have fragmented it, inhibit its use and, the very least, delayed it and made it more difficult to access."

    Improvements

  • "One is ICANN always needs to work hard to be more international and, in particular, to include more people in its leadership and management from developing countries around the world." "Number two, ICANN must take great pains to operate in an efficient manner. It is a public service organization with a technical mission that should be frugal, and it must always have humility in the way it works."

  • "Number three -- (applause) -- ICANN must be incorruptible and fully transparent in what it does seeking consensus and explaining its decisions fully."

This gives you the false impression no matter how bad ICANN is... if we can just fix these things then everything will be fine and puts the idea in your head that there's a plan. Pure shock doctrine.

  • "Fourth, ICANN should always look to empower Internet users. Do not make a rule that limits what people can do on the Internet unless it is absolutely necessary for the Internet to function in a predictable, safe and secure way."
Most organizations do this by letting the members vote. But that's too expensive. That would take away the money for the round the world five star junkets.

  • "And, finally, I will offer this to my successors in the U.S. government, that they should exercise their role in full consultation with other governments and in a light-handed manner."
Oh rly? There have been consultations? Where? When? "Be transparent and open - do as we say, not as we do"


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