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[ga] Internet Governing Body Needs Limits, Consumer Advocate Says (NYT)Communications-related Headlines for 9/27/99 (fwd)

        Internet Governing Body Needs Limits, Consumer Advocate Says (NYT)

At a conference organized by Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility and attended by many critics of the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers, consumer advocate Ralph Nader offered a 13-point
proposal to limit and define ICANN's authority. "ICANN has procedural
problems," Nader said. "Lack of openness is one. Lack of accountability,
lack of membership at the moment, and an unelected board making policy
decisions... And what is at stake here is the principal democratic
communication technology for the next century. These are big stakes." Esther
Dyson, chairs of ICANN's interim board, defended ICANN and its process at
the conference, saying the organization has strict bylaws that prevent it
from moving beyond decisions affecting the Internet's "plumbing" and from
being taken over by special interests. Dyson said that with the exception of
the proposal for an international charter, ICANN's bylaws look a lot like
Nader's plan. "We are not trying to be something that can be used as an arm
of governments or big corporate interests," Dyson said. "The goal of this
organization is to keep itself very limited." Milton Mueller, associate
professor of information studies at Syracuse University , said ICANN was
formed largely to protect trademark interests before new domain name
suffixes are added to the global network. All of ICANN's actions to date
reflect that, he said. "It is controlled by a faction with a specific
agenda," he said. "All of this has nothing to do with the technical
coordination of the Internet."
[SOURCE: CyberTimes, AUTHOR: Jeri Clausing (jeri@nytimes.com)]