ICANN passes toned-down Blueprint for Reform

International

The Blueprint for Reform, issued by the Committee on Evolution and Reform last month, has been passed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at its meeting in Bucharest.

The paper responds to critics' calls for reform or termination of ICANN. It also sets forth a proposal for the composition and selection of ICANN's board of directors that removes or glosses over the more controversial aspects of prior proposals by the committee and ICANN president, M Stuart Lynn (see ICANN committee refines governance reform proposals).

Responding to recent criticism from the US Congress that ICANN had evolved into a supra-national regulatory body without appropriate limits or due process (see Senator back-pedals on warning to ICANN), the paper recommends restricting ICANN's policy-making to areas that are "reasonably related" to its technical running of the internet address system. On the question of whether some board members should be elected directly by internet users, the paper backs off from Lynn's February proposal to scrap directly elected at-large board positions.

One of the current at-large board members and frequent critic, Karl Auerbach, has said that "the document is completely out of touch with reality."

The paper represents the position the ICANN board wished to take into its meeting in Bucharest: not as controversial as prior proposals, and diplomatically short on sticky details. Just as importantly, it attempts to reflect a more limited approach called for by members of the US Congress, who have the influence to pull the plug on ICANN if it does not trim its sails.

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

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