Tuesday, July 18, 2006

US government told to take its hands off internet

US government told to take its hands off internet | The Register
Kieren McCarthy analyses in this article the responses to the USG's request for consultation on ICANN - in light of the expiration of the MoU under which ICANN operates. Interestingly, almost 2/3s of the responses that were on target (ignoring the ones that didn't refer to ICANN) were supportive of the USG removing itself from the running of the Internet and its oversight role, suggesting that it be handed over to an international organisation (not necessarily the UN).

ICANN itself didn't come off very well, as many respondents thought that ICANN is not doing very well, with quite a few suggesting that ICANN be disbanded, because it's failed at getting bottom-up input, (as well as being non-transparent).

So that's an indictment of the ALAC, of which I am a member (albeit a newbie, about 6 months) whose job it is to put in place a system for representation of end-users. Now, many people believe that the only way for end-users to be represented is by direct vote. Those are mainly USians. This is interesting, as the US itself does not have direct elections for President... electoral college anyone?

I think that the structure as proposed by ICANN can work in many parts of the world. We have begun to build those structures - Africam Asia Pacific, LAC and Europe are all in advanced stages of building the Regional At Large Organisations (RALOS) - a bit late, as not much was done in the past 3 years, and I can see that people looking in from the outside can say that we've not managed to do it.

But I have to remind them that nothing really happens before its time. The fact that all 4 RALOs are being organised now (mostly bottom up) reflects the potential for success of the structure - 4 years ago many people in LAC didn't know anything much about ICANN, far less why they should join.
The WSIS did raise conciousness, and now there's momentum. The challenge is to get things going fast, before we lose that momentum.

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