Former chairperson expresses frustration with ICANN


Esther Dyson, the former chairperson of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), says the organization is mired in disputes about authority, accountability and openness. In a recent talk at Wharton Business School, Dyson said that "ICANN has become a real cesspool". She added that the US Commerce Department should step in to establish standards to adjudicate disputes if ICANN is unable to solve matters in the next six months.

ICANN is undergoing a controversial review of its operating structure, and its president's proposal for sweeping governance reforms has precipitated a lawsuit by an ICANN board member and congressional scrutiny (see ICANN president proposes controversial governance reforms and ICANN limits director's access to its financial records).

Most recently, the US secretary of commerce, Donald Evans, wrote a letter addressed to several congressmen, in which he reported that his staff are following the governance reform closely and are "consulting with US business and public interest groups to garner their thoughts on reform." Evans added: "We are also meeting with our foreign government counterparts and international organizations to address how governments can best support the reform process."

The ICANN board is slated to issue its recommendations on governance for review and comment at the end of the month.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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