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ICANN Board Election Results 119

Posted by Roblimo
from the you-can't-always-get-what-you-want dept.
Soko writes "One American on the ICANN board so far, folks. Newsbytes has this report. " We could do worse than Vint Cerf, but there's still some concern among U.S. polticians that "we" don't have enough representation. From the story: "House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., last week said that it would be 'unfortunate' if the United States were underrepresented on the ICANN board. Because the United States still has the majority of Internet users and businesses and because of the nation's leadership role in inventing and promoting the Internet, the US should be well represented on the ICANN board, he said."
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ICANN Board Election Results

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  • Hum, to most Americans there are two countries : the USA, and the rest of the world. Except for the ones in Kansas who don't even know there is somethins outside of America, "the world just end there" (why would anyone teach this silly theory that the world is round, heck any good Christian knows its flat as God made it ;)
  • House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., last week said that it would be 'unfortunate' if the United States were underrepresented on the ICANN board. Because the United States still has the majority of Internet users and businesses and because of the nation's leadership role in inventing and promoting the Internet, the US should be well represented on the ICANN board, he said."

    The ICANN board should represent the people who have a legitimate interest in its doings. While the heavier Internet presence in the US does tend to weight this criterion in favor of Americans, there is no reason why Americans per se need to be particularly "well represented" -- the relevant community is defined in terms of Net involvement, not nationality.
    /.

  • A couple obvious mistakes:

    A democracy isn't a majority dictatorship. Any responsible government will have protections for the minority, as history shows us the majority is almost always wrong.

    Nor do I know of any working country where ciizens get to vote on each law or committee. All democracies give citizens the right to vote for representation. The 'will of the people' is as a real force as the 'divine right of kings.' Its just progaganda to make us feel like the winning team. Personally, I woudn't want the lowest common denominator getting control of legislation - elections are corrupt enough.

    Your complaint has more to do with toucy-feely PC liberalism than anything else.

  • You'd see the same thing for (Asia).

    Either the writer was too lazy to get his facts straight or thats how the official press release came out. Or ICANN is posting flamebait.

    The board members chosen today were:

    From the PSO: Philip Davidson (Europe); Vinton Cerf (United States); Jean-Francois Abramatic (Europe).

    From the ASO: Ken Fockler (Canada); Pindar Wong (Asia); Rob Blokzijl (Europe).

  • "There's a big reason why the United States should BE represented. Quite frankly its because so much of the activity and traffic on the 'net is located in North America. (I may be Canadian, but basically what's good for ol' U.S of A is good for us as well). If other nations are allowed a much more powerful say in certain topics which go against Corporate America®, then a lot of things can happen which may bring down ICANN itself as the regulator of addresses. Corporate America could start pressuring people (if you know what I mean)®, Some all-too-ambitious Senator may start tossing around a bill which starts to degrade access to servers located in the US, etc etc etc .. in other words it *could* get ugly. Or The ICANN could go the way of the 'League of Nations' with no American Support both political and coporate-wise." Q: So what happens when America shuts down the Internet? A: The rest of the world routes around the blockage and carries on much as before, marginalising the US. The US may be the worlds last Superpower (discounting china for the moment), and it may have the worlds largest economy, but the rest of the world put together is still several times larger than the US (The EU for instance, has comparable economic muscle on it's own)(and a comparable number of companies on the Internet/Web).
  • It's not correct that Americans are the majority of internet users - they used to but that changed a few weeks ago (if i'm not mistaken). However, Americans use the net more because american users in average spend more time online than other users.

    Comparing three representatives for Europe against one for the US isn't fair - Europe consists of more than 40 nations and most of them don't have any representative at all. Europe is a continent - not a country!

    The board members are to be heading ICANN for some time and in that time the rest of the world - and Europe in particaular - will catch up on the US and Scandinavia who currently lead in internet usage.

    Democracy isn't only about representative sharing of power - it's also about making sure as many different views as possible are represented. This is good if you want to be able to find as many solutions to problems as possible. It is especially important with global issues such as the internet.

    Besides, Americans have already claimed almost all of the international domain .com as a US-one. .com is for international commercial sites. Most US .coms are not internationally targeted at all. Adding to the confusion companies in other countries continue in the american footsteps and use the .com-domain with national sites in their own national languages and with no international intent.


    Ulf
  • These people are selected because they are believed to be competent and willing to work for the best of the net as a whole. They are not representing their country, if any of them feel that way, they should be thrown out immediately!

    I have no problem believing a US senator would be stupid or amoral enough to make an issue of the nationality of the board members, but it saddens me to see /.'ers fall for it. What next? Should we ensure that different races, genders, religions, income groups, hair colors, and intelligence levels all have a fair and propertional "representation" on the board?

    Sigh, as I write this, I realize that there will be people who will claim all these groups should be "represented". One particular clueless ./'er even advocated that the board should be elected democrately. That, at least, will ensure that competence will no longer be overrepresented on the board. Sarcasm is hard in the modern world.

  • It doesn't really matter much what the rest of the world uses. The USA and Canada set the standard. Not it may not be totally fair and maybe ISO is better, but that's just the way things are.

    I think this is stupid. I think this boards members should go from most to least in this order:

    Americans
    Canadians
    Australians
    Brits
    Everyone Else

    Because I believe that'd be the best representations. Should Muwak Bintuko from Zimbabwe have as much say as Pierre Cardin from Canada? I really doubt it. I think Americans, Canadians, Aussies, and Brits' votes should carry more weight if you're going to only allow one of them on the board.

    Yet another example of American apologetics though... "Gee, we're sorry we're the most powerful, richest, most influential nation in the world... we'll only have one person on the committee." BLAH!
    ----- if ($anyone_cares) {print "Just Another Perl Newbie"}
  • The US has no authority, moral or otherwise, to dictate terms exclusively for its own interests. They may have created the ARPANET, the father of the Internet (sorry Mr. Gore!), but they do not own it. The most popular portion, the WWW was created at CERN. Hell, the telephone was not even invented in the US exclusively. If the US wants to exert its influence in international affairs to its wishes, it should pony up money and conviction instead of Jesse Helms and hot air. Participation in International organizations means paying the membership dues.

    I could care less about how may Americans sit on the board. Bring the flamers unto me!
  • When ICANN [icann.org] was formed, its charter contemplated having a big chunk of the Board directly elected by individual "members" of the Corporation. The date for that election continues to recede, and the terms by which ordinary domain name registrants or other regular folks might get to choose representatives get more and more crabbed and limited.

    The following exchange I had with Joe Sims, ICANN's Chief Counsel, regarding ICANN's proposed By-laws changes [icann.org] illuminates the issues. I should note that there is a fourth message from Sims that is not in the ICANN Bylaws comment archive [icann.org]. In that fourth message he says, among other things, the he is speaking in his personal capacity, not as an ICANN spokesperson. (As Sims authored most of the legal documents that shape ICANN, the distinction is a subtle one, but real.) When I get permission to host an HTML copy, I'll post a link to it on my WIPO/ICANN page [miami.edu].

    Perhaps the most interesting issues to come out of this debate are, first, to what extent is it correct, as Sims argues, that allowing individuals a direct role in ICANN governance threatens to "destabilize" either ICANN or the Internet. Second, if one has strong individual representation in ICANN (or even if one doesn't) how to structure the body to avoid "capture" by a small faction. And, last but not least, how much individual representation, of what nature, does ICANN require to be legitimate?

    Visit ICANNWatch.org [icannwatch.org] !


    A. Michael Froomkin [mailto],
    U. Miami School of Law,POB 248087
    Coral Gables, FL 33124,USA
  • While this may be true, the World Wide Web was born in Europe (at CERN), not in the US. And as we all know, to the uninitiated, Internet == WWW.

    While this may be true, the fact remains that Internet != WWW.

    The WWW is merely a hypertext system, and not a particularly good one at that. It happened to catch on because it took advantage of the Internet, something (AFAIK) no other hypertext system had yet been designed to do.

    The Internet is the real invention. Hypertext is just an application (one of many) on top of the internet, and something not particularly unique or difficult to implement.
  • Sorry, but the term "American" refers specifically to a US citizen. I've had plenty of debates with people who claim that Americans have no right to that term exclusively, saying that anyone from North, South or Central can call themselves American. What it comes down to is this: we are the *only* country in the world to use "America" in our name (U.S.A). What do you propose we use instead? People from Cuba are Cubans, people from Mexico are Mexicans, so people from the USA should be "United Statesians?" Give me a break. I need a name to call myself, and American is what is.
  • The rest of the world routes around the blockage and carries on much as before, marginalising the US.

    Just like they did with the League of Nations eh?
  • I thought all you people on that continent were trying to move to a "European Union". I mean, what's up with the cute flag and the Euro?
  • Well, the US did "pony up money." You don't think the Europeans payed for ARPANET development, do you?
  • Using current internet demographics may not be the best way to pick the representatives.

    Exactly. So what if today's us citizens can afford to use the 'net much more that the current non-us majority. Think fast: in nine or ten years, more chinese will be online than us citizens are alive. Computer power might be 64 times more affordable in 2010, but *bandwidth* will be 20,000 times more affordable (gilder's law). Take metcalf's law [manufacturing.net], add a billion users, a twist of currency instability, churn vigorously, and you may well have interdependent extranational communities that self-regulate in partnership with (or even independently of) the nation/state.

    Maybe DNS shouldn't represent militant national borders at all: maybe it would be more useful if aligned along linguistic borders with iDNS. What helps us communicate more, fracturing legal jurisdictions, or plain old human language?
  • Comparing three representatives for Europe against one for the US isn't fair - Europe consists of more than 40 nations and most of them don't have any representative at all. Europe is a continent - not a country!

    The point is that the board should be representative of the Internet users. Since the United States has more internet users than Europe, the United States should have at least an equal number of representatives as Europe. A smaller number of people having three times as much representation is certainly not a good way to run a representative body.
  • Basically, the representatives should be chosen on merit, not because they happen to be born in one country or another. Interesting is that arguments along the line of "our country is not represented as strongly as it should etc." are mostly fielded by politicians, not the techies. Who cares where the happened to be born, it's the expertise that counts! Having a influential organisation like ICANN without people at the helm with a sound understanding of the complex nature of the internet would be a far greater problem than national "under-representations". Also, as a "european", I think the writer of the article could have done better than calling all candidates of this particular continent(!) Europeans, he could have checked on their nationalities.
  • quote from /. One American on the ICANN board so far, folks. quote from newsbytes three Europeans, one Canadian, one Asian and one US candidate Basic math: One US citizen plus one Canadian equals two americans. BTW Yes US is the leading nation on the web, but perhaps mostly because all "international" domains are us-controlled and located. As I see it, a business or organisation that uses a .com or .org domain is not US-based It is web-based.
  • Speaking as a US citizen who has lived in Europe and worked in the Internt business for years now, I'd say it's about time the US was taken down a few notches. Rep. Bliley's reaction is rather typical of US politicians and their assumptions about governing the Internet. Maybe this development at ICANN will teach people like him a long overdue lesson about better international co-operation.
  • The Nazi's had views like you
  • No other country has more than one representative. Why should the US have? Europe is not a nation. USA is The truly underrepresentated are countries without representation.

  • The Internet is not about borders. It doesn't matter where you come from. What you achieve matters. That you live in a certain country seems totally irrelevant to me.

    All this 'this country is underrepresented' or 'that country is overrepresented' are totally useless in a borderless environment like the internet. There should be good people in that board. If those people happen to live in another county than yours, doesn't mean that's bad for a board like this.

    I'd rather choose someone for a board based on his experience and quality, than on his nationality. I thought this 'thinking in borders' was getting oldfashioned, but the idea is still everywhere.

    Greetings,
    Ivo
  • If a US politician wants to pass laws on the net- fine! As long at those laws only affect the .us domain.
  • please don't equate the actions of US politicians with those of its citizens. The people on Capitol Hill are a different breed of animal.
  • And from what country did the browser technology originate? Without that the internet would still be a plaything in academia.

    Ok, so you want to play that game. Try this on for size. What country invented the internet? Without that Tim Berners-Lee would still be shuffling paper up in CERN.

    When you use specious arguments to make a point you wind up looking stupid.
  • if you really mean the Internet, ok, but I'm pretty sure it's the WWW they are talking about.

    I wonder what Tim Berners-Lee would have applied his hyper text technology to if there hadn't been an underlying internet. Toasters perhaps?

    Let's not have a pissing contest here my little defensive Euros. Everyone is doing there part to make the internet work. Staking national claim to something that clearly had international support at all levels is ludicrous.

  • Small world, but I was just at a presentation by Mike Roberts today (Educause). He was pretty firm in his conviction that the board had to be international and was grumpy when he mentioned the few right wing conservative republicans in Congress who didn't see things this way. In fact, Roberts seemed pretty grumpy about a lot of things. I wouldn't want to be him.
  • Think fast: in nine or ten years, more chinese will be online than us citizens are alive.

    I think that the makeup of ICANN needs to be strongly international despite the current demographics of internet use.

    Having said that, China's problems with literacy rates and lack of infrastructure are not going to be solved in 9-10 years. The percentage of Chinese that finish 1st grade is lower than the percentage of US citizens that get advanced degrees. Less than 5% of the Chinese polulation has ever made a telephone call. The rate of electrification is low. Even lower is the rate of PC ownership. We are talking about a society where the purchase of a personal computer represents two years income for a large fraction of the population. It is going to take China a lot longer than 9-10 years to wire and educate their masses to the point where they surpass the US in internet usage.

  • The difference is that now these corporations care, because influence over the way things are handled can give them a competitive edge, and in other ways increase the amount of money to be made. In other words, the conflict of interest is much stronger now.
  • The Economist has a predictably European slant on the US that is in fact often badly mistaken. The topic for this issue is a clear illustration of that fact.

    For example, in the articles associated with the cover it complains that the US may be heading towards much more protectionist trade policies. This completely neglects the FACT that the US has by far the most open trade policies of any nation in the world today. If you do not believe me, compare the cost of non-domestic goods in the US vs. any European nation. If Europe or Asia as a whole, or any one nation were running anything like the per capita trade deficit the US runs, THERE WOULD BE RIOTS IN THE STREETS IN TOKYO, SOEUL, PARIS, ROME, BERLIN, STOKHOLM and LONDON BY THEIR UNIONS. The Economist is so far off base in this assesment of US trade policy that it has in fact no credibility. It is whining about a perceived possible shift in US attitude towards trade that is in fact far more open than the attitude in Europe.

    The second article complains vigourously about the US rejection of the test ban treaty. There is some justification of these complaints, however there is a strong case to be made that this treaty does not in fact address the matter of nuclear proliferation whatsoever. The only signatories to the treaty were countries in fact that had no need to conduct nuclear tests - either they have entrenched capability, or they have no programs for the development of nuclear arms. No nations with aspirations of developing or in the process of developing weapons were in fact signatories to this treaty. If in fact this treaty did actually amount to anything substantial I am sure that there would have been enough votes to at least delay consideration of the issue, and probably approve it. The concept that the US is in fact withdrawing in some fashion from international affairs is nonsense. In fact it is the US that is spending far too many of it's tax dollars in military readiness IN ORDER TO ASSUME DEFENSE BURDENS THAT THE EUROPEANS SHOULD BE MANAGING THEMSELVES. Why in fact should the US have to assume such a large part of the burden in Bosnia and Kosovo? Is this not internal to Europe? Why do we need large military bases in Europe in this post USSR era? IT'S BECAUSE THE EUROPEANS HAVE BEEN NEGLECTING TO MANAGE THEIR OWN FORIEGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENSE, not because the US is behaving in a isolationist manner.

    Dammit, without the US founding NATO and institution of the Marshall Plan after the end of WWII, I'd bet that most of WESTERN Europe would be in the sad state that Eastern Europe is still in today.

    These complaints about the US being insular quickly shrivel up once you hold up the complaints to the light of the facts. They are Myth, as any real student of history and world politics soon realizes.

  • Umm, on the issue of trade.

    Ask Australian farmers about lamb imports into the US. How, after the Aus. Government made some concessions for US farmers to make inroads here, the US Gov turned around and said "Well, thanks for that, oh and we'll increase tariffs on your lamb by x%" (x being about 50, iirc).

    Don't tell me the US is the most open trade economy. It's not. It, like *every* other trade economy has, as a primary motivator, self-interest.

  • To the uninitiated (i.e. the vast majority, The Internet == the WWW. Hypertext linking has nothing to do with WWW? I'll let your stupidity speak for itself.
  • Not that you'd want to sound racist or anything like that :P
  • Telstra AU has at least 150mbps of links to the states. The US companies at the other ends of those links said - "We're not paying for any of that. You just want to connect to us". So Telstra paid.

    A while back, Telstra took stats and at least 25-30% of traffic was US outbound - i.e. originated. Reasonable suggestion: ask US companies to pay 30% of link costs - remember AU's geographic isolation. Those links are friggin' expensive. They were point blank refused.

    Hearsay: I think I heard rumblings about it going to court.

  • Don't tell me the US is the most open trade economy. It's not. It, like *every* other trade economy has, as a primary motivator, self-interest.

    I am certainly going to tell you this, because it is the fact. Anecdotal evidence regarding lamb or any other single commodity does not provide proof otherwise. As a counter example, look at the awful shellacking the US is taking in it's steel industry due to dumping at below cost prices by Far Eastern nations. The US was the inventor of the TV and the VCR. Are VCRs made in the US? Not any more. Ditto TV tubes. What other nation would allow something like steel to be eviscerated in this manner?

    Perhaps it is motivated by self-interest. That doesn't change the fact that it is the most open in the world. A lot of economicists in the US believe that an open trade policy despite the economic dislocations that result is in fact good overall because it results in an economic system that must be competitive on a global basis. The economic growth that the US has enjoyed for the past 9 years is a strong argument in favor of that viewpoint.

    What really frosts my butt is reading a viewpoint from, say, the Economicist, based in England where the costs of goods paid by citizens are much higher due to outmoded economic models, that the US is insular. Utter and complete rubbish.
  • Well, how many TVs are in China today? Asia? ROW? How much do TVs cost users today?

    My nifty $1000 sony vaio today will cost you $15 bucks in 2010. Spread easy payments over 3 years! DSL today connects me to you for $50 bucks a month. 2010 it'll cost three cents a year. $5 or 10 bucks a year seems like affordable access, even if you make only $350 bucks a year. Either refute Gilder's law, or do the math. Moore's law is way over-rated.

    Wireless bandwith doubles every 9 months. The Chinese cel phone market (wireless) is alreadly exploding today in 1999. Extrapolate. How smart a device will $100 buy in 2010? $10? How many Chinese will connect? 400 million by 2010? 2015? 2020? (And what if rural access spreads with agents like Grameen?) What year do *you* predict that more chinese will be online than us citizens are alive?

    and again, btw: top level domains should be linguistic, non militaristic.
  • Another US ego trip. So they started the net. Who cares? The US used to be a European colony, so
    by the same logic we could say, hey, there should
    be no US members of the ICANN board anyway, afterall WE started America.

    Message to the Republicans: Stop living in the past and admit that today's society is global.

    Oh, and, pay your debts to the UN already.
  • My first thought was, "gee, that's odd." Then I realized that it doesn't matter. It's not like any of those people are going to be able to change the internet for the betterment of their own country. Gimme a break.

    A big advantage of Vinton Cerf is that he's relatively unbiased. I mean, as much as we'd all like Alan Cox on there, he's just too tied to any particular internet "faction." And since these guys (as far as I can tell) are all not part of any "faction" its better. Countries don't play that big of a deal on the 'net... get over it.

    -Chris
  • by Wayfarer (10793) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @08:28PM (#1584823) Homepage
    I know that the Internet began as a primarily American phenomenon. Likely, that hasn't changed much, despite the globalization of the Internet.

    However, I think that if we are to make the Internet a truly global phenomenon, the US should be prepared to let other nations have a significant say in what happens to the 'Net. This means swallowing some pride and allowing themselves to be "underrepresented", despite the fact that the Internet was originally exclusively American.

    Just my 0.02 zlotniks.
  • If this board is suppose to represent the internet AT ALL it must have some US representation.

    However, whining congressmen is not the way to ensure this... the fact that there was worry that there were not going to be any US members goes to show how UNreprestative this system is... any system where the users had a voice in the outcome would have had more US representation, but that would have been a side-effect of being representative of the Internet, which this board ought to be...

    I am not a howling nationalist, but still think US representatives are needed, because w/o this ICANN will eventually be marginalized as a policy actor.

    the only actual power of the ICANN revolves around IPs and domain names. However it provides the ulitmate bully pulpit to influence policy initiatives in the US (and other) government(s)...

    if the US gov't starts ignoring the advice of ICANN it would be a shame, as the policy makers by and large are not very Internet-literate... or rather ignoring the ICANN _would_ have been a shame had it been representative. As it is, it is a corporate tool, and so I am not sure how much is lost by its possible marginalization...
    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars --Oscar Wilde
  • Anybody else find it ironic that we call ourselves a democracy yet cater to the minorities rather than the majorities? Here is just another example in a long string of attempts to please "everybody". Let's let the hungarians sit in, and maybe a few people from the names-you-can't-pronouce parts of Africa.. oh, and don't forget the eskimos - they've been really upset about being underrepresented since they got that T3 up.

    Stop trying to please everybody! Instead do it right the first time and do a net election - let's VOTE these people into office, and simultaniously move the state of the art forward by making online democracy play a pivotal role in the future of the internet. It was created for democracy, now let it be governed by democracy!

    --

  • So I take it that the Americans would prefer to be over represented instead? I am sure that there are many other countries are even more under represented than america in ICANN.

    It would be nice if some Americans would think globally for a change. Not all standards and defaults that suit america suit the rest of the world (you wouldn't believe how much trouble is caused by applications setting the default paper size to Letter (a format that is pretty much only used in the US), in other countries).
  • by Thalia (42305) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @08:30PM (#1584827)
    Isn't that there is only one American on the board, but that there are no representatives of the actual users of the Internet on the board. Every one of the elected members represent large Telcos. Vinton Cerf is an MCI WorldCom vice president. His point of view is that of a large corporation. This also applies to the remaining members.

    On the other hand, according to ICANN's web page, the Board of ICANN will be composed of nineteen Directors, nine At-Large Directors, nine to be nominated by Supporting Organizations, and the President/CEO (ex officio). This election was for the nine members nominated by Supporting Organizations. So there is still time to get some representation for actual techies onto the ICANN board.
  • I'm here in the US, but I keep getting the feeling that perhaps we should keep the US low on number of representatives.

    Perhaps then the US government will see that they can't control the whole of the net, and they will stop passing laws like they're the owners of the whole thing. Plus, more foreign reps would perhaps help keep the net growing internationally....

    ~Chris Carlin
  • It is very unfortunate that ICANN and the *SOs do not have a more representative system of governance. the *SOs appoint half of ICANN, ICANN appoints the *SOs. The other half of ICANN is elected by an arbitrary pool of 5000 "members"...

    the IETF is not this bad!

    Instead of this Catholic-church-esque system (Cardinals appoint the Pope, the Pope appoints teh Cardinals) it would have been nice if there had been seperate councils for nations (one rep per nation) for the companies (Internet companies pay $x to be members of the Internet Chamber of Commerce, and then those members elect a council of thirteen or something) and for the users (roughly equal representation for each of the major "districts" defined as the major subdivisions of ICANN (ARIN etc.) as they are geographically based, individuals pay $20/year to have a vote (ISPs urged to pay this for them) and then flat election)

    Each of these "estates" (yes allusions to 18th cen France) would have some machinery to keep it going, the Third estate in particular would need some election machinery...

    each estate council would appoint 3 members to the governing council of ICANN, and the IETF would be able to appoint 2 of its own representative to be voting members (total size 11)

    This seems more fair than the current system, IMHO

    -RS

    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars --Oscar Wilde
  • Vinton Cerf is the coolest guy I have ever heard speak. I think he is the best choice to be in there... Hell.. He invented TCP/IP. On a side note when he came to speak at purdue, he said his dog wears a shirt that says "IP on Everything". But... I don't see him having a lot of power now adays on the internet.. He made a big push to roll out IPv6 a while back and no one listened.. But.... Vinton is definately the best choice for the US. ChiefArcher
  • I think the current system is fscked, but nonetheless, a net election is not a grand idea, as corruption is just too easy....

    how do we prove uniqueness?
    by IP? that can be spoofed very easily, and is unfair to countries outside US, where IPs are not as available, (there many more use NAT-style tech)

    (no I am not talking about Australia or Finland, but more like Poland and Zimbabwe)

    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars --Oscar Wilde
  • anyone else find it interesting that they don't refer at all to the European's country of origin?
  • I can't believe these people can maintain any credibility when Cerf gets elected over Al Gore. Now I realize that he has made his contributions an all, but lets face it - he's hardly the father of the Internet. Anyone who knows what they are talking about will tell you that Big Al is the real father of the Internet. C'mon people, at least research the subject before reporting on it.

    I say we make our voices heard. If we're to have only one representative on the board, it has to be Al. Lose the Cerf guy.

  • Hmmm ... Being one of the "rest of the world" (as most americans think of us non-americans), this is good. After all, isn't this supposed to be a "world" wide web?
  • Anybody else find it ironic that we call ourselves a democracy yet cater to the minorities rather than the majorities?

    Last time I looked at the population figures, Americans *are* the minority.
  • Tempting as the idea is to use a net-election as an equalizer, we haven't yet learned how to run an impartial online poll. It's been repeatedly illustrated that the kind of polls that are most widely accessible to people (CGI-based web-hosted ones) are also grossly easy to ballot-stuff the results. Somewhat more secure polling methods have far smaller potential voting bodies. Even the web, which does provide a data conduit to a lot of people, would demographically distort in favor of those who have such access (underdeveloped nations would be underrepresented, e.g. the ones getting their domain names plundered). Beyond that, an online vote would be distorted by exposure -- as the effect of slashdot readers on straw polls has repeatedly shown. Likewise language -- have a vote in English, you'll sway in favor of the English-speaking parts of the world. Have a multilingual vote and the vote will favor the language on the front page. Have a multilingual vote with every language represented in random order, and you'll get a result biased in favor of regions with faster net connections. Half of the users of the web can't figure out how to fill out a form, much less think about what they're putting down ("elect esther dyson, she gives good porn pix me too"). And so forth.

    Rather cynical, actually. None of that is to say that the votes presently conducted out there in the Real World are any less distorted -- probably worse, look at the goobers who keep getting elected because they got media attention and money.

  • > I know that the Internet began as a primarily
    > American phenomenon.

    While this may be true, the World Wide Web was born in Europe (at CERN), not in the US. And as we all know, to the uninitiated, Internet == WWW.
  • It can't really be considered fair that the USA is under/not represented in ICANN. The comment from Thomas Bliley states the case best: "...the United States still has the majority of Internet users and businesses..."

    Because of this, it is only fair that the United States have at the very least some say in ICANN, if not a majority position, because the desicions made by ICANN will affect the United States more than any other country.

    Off-beat example here: Say you come up with a "Wonderful New Idea" (tm), which brings forth the "Next Big Thing" (tm). You start a company. Your "Next Big Thing" (tm) grows beyond measure and becomes used by people around the world to the point of being taken for granted. You still expect to have the greatest say in what track your "Next Big Thing" takes in its evolution, right? WRONG. The "World Colloquium" (making this up as I go along) decides that there should be an independent body to govern its evolution. OK, we can handle that, it's fair to the users of the "Next Big Thing" to guide its progress. So, you expect to be in this independent governing body, right? No. Well, maybe you can get your best friend on it? No. How about Barney down the street? No. Your invention is now controlled by somebody else, and you have no say in it at all, but sure, you'll still upkeep the infrastructure. You're that nice of a guy, after all.

    Granted, this is over-simplified, and perhaps a bit silly (that's my disclaimer), but it's an approximation of what no American representation in ICANN is akin to.
  • What do you mean, no representation ?
    You have a member!! There are some countries that would have a national holiday to have a member on ICANN ... the Internet is global ... it "breaks communication barriers". So why are you saying one country should have a majority vote ? The earlier post was right on, about the US Letter default ... I bet there would be a howl if M$ distributed Word with English (Australian) or English (UK) - the real English - as the default !! (i.e. we spell color colour).

    Think globally, not locally.
    Because the Internet IS global by its very nature.


    -
  • by davew (820) on Wednesday October 27, 1999 @12:19AM (#1584842) Homepage Journal

    Guys,

    There are techies on the ICANN board. The ASO is a blatantly techie group I was there. I helped select the three European members of the ASO.

    This has been a more open process than people seem to believe. There is seems to be an attitude of "I didn't see a Slashdot article on this, therefore I wasn't represented". A slashdot poll, or any kind of net election, is not a good way to have everyone's voice heard. Net polls are fun, but I have never seen any "democratic" concept more abused than that, including student politics.

    This has been an open process, and anyone who has web or email access has had a voice. RIPE, ARIN and APNIC - the three regional registries representing in equal parts Europe, America and Asia-Pacific - made a proposal on how to form the ASO [icann.org]. Another joint proposal came from CIX, EuroISPA and eCOM-LAC [icann.org]. Comments were invited, and received, and recognised, on both proposals. (I made mine).

    In the end, the proposal from the registries was accepted as the most open and fair way forward - with an acknowledgement that no solution is perfect and so the ASO will need to answer to an ad-hoc committee in the initial stages to ensure that true representation is occurring.

    The process of selecting ASO members was itself open. RIPE is a completely open group - you do not need to be a customer of the RIPE NCC to attend its meetings or take part in its working groups - and ARIN and APNIC are rapidly heading in that direction. Bear in mind that the Canadian member of the board was chosen has the representative for ARIN, the RR for America writ large, North and South.

    To anyone who thinks that this method of decision doesn't work, or doesn't properly represent anyone, remember that this is the same method by which any progress has been made in the last ten years. A group of techies meet (IETF, RIPE, NANOG, whatever) representing their various companies, ISPs and customers, thrash out the issues of the day - IPv6 allocation, too many updates in the RIPE database, how to measure network performance between Amsterdam and New York - and walk away knowing what direction to proceed in.

    The process is not the flawed democratic principle whereby an uninformed electorate is given a bad bunch of choices (picked by a mysterious process which the population at large has no control over) and asked to pick the one which the least people hate most. It is a process where anyone with a good idea can make a proposal, and anyone with a problem with that proposal can have their voice heard, and have it fixed. Or looking at the another way, "If you don't like this option, fine, but I'll want to hear some better ones please."

    It's an open-source election, people. Please don't abandon it in favour of a trumped up slashdot poll.

    Dave

    --

  • Nice try, but no go. There are something like 100 million American internet users, which is orders of magnitude higher than any other country on the planet in terms of wired citizens. As such, Americans should certainly have much more of a say than a country like China or India

    One thought which may be slightly off-topic: if that is the case, why don't some of you guys pay for international bandwidth?

    My understanding is that any bandwidth from Europe to the US is paid for by the Europeans. The American view is apparently that no-one there needs the bandwidth, and that the internet is an American thing.

    It seems that George Bush was not the only man with a problem with "the vision thing."

    I would suggest as a topic for discussion that it could easily be best for the internet that no americans be on ICANN. After all, look at the mess NSI are making.

    Unfortunately, I don't believe my own suggestion! :)

  • Well said, however on the last point:

    "despite the fact that the Internet was originally exclusively American"

    Another post on this thread has already made the point internet== www, and that comes from CERN.

    However, even the grand-daddy of them all, ARPANET, has had European links from at least 1980, or roughly one third of its life so far.

    For a historical perspective (and some other very cool net maps) check out:
    http://www.cybergeography.com/atlas/historical.htm l
  • Anyone who thinks the three appointees from the DNSO are not representatives of a very narrow faction hasn't been paying very much attention. It has nothing to do with regional representation; they are all vocal advocates of corporate interests, and very much against any sort of rights or protections for the individual domain name owner. So far the DNSO has no provision whatsoever for representation of individual domain name owners. This to me is the most disappointing and frightening development in the SOs thus far.

    Check out http://www.idno.org/ [idno.org] for more information on this issue, and make your voice heard.

    - Paul
  • People should be less concerned with the national origins of those on the board, which is largely irrelevant to the issues under discussion, and be much more concerned with what other interests these individuals represent, and where they stand on the important issues they will be deciding.

    - Paul
  • I think that it is good that more countries are getting involved in the Web. After all it is a global network. However, I feel that ICANN representation should be based on the number of Internet users in that country.

    If the United States is under-represented, then other countries will be making the decisions for us. For example if the US has 56 Million Internet Users and 60% of them shop online. Would it be fair for a country like Uganda which may have 60,000 Internet Users (None who shop online) to make laws governing E-commerce or gTLD's ??

    I think not!

    This system is about fairness and representation. It is good that the US is finally giving some control back to the other countries of the world. But, the United States has more Intenet Users and therefore deserves a louder voice in representation.

    If the numbers change 10 years from now. Then, so should the representation percentage. For example if the European Union in 10 years has 56 Million Users and the United States has 20 Million, then the EU should have greater representation.

    This should not be an ego-driven, or jealousy-driven process. It's not one country saying "We're better than you".. it's simply a matter of Mathematics:

    More users = more representation (regardless of national origin) Plain and simple.

    ---
    The statement below is true.
  • Last I heard it was Al Gore who invented the Internet. Bob Dole whines about not getting enough nookie from his wife because he's all hopped-up on Viagra.
    ---
    The statement below is true.
  • Actually, we did. The Europeans have been on ARPANET from the start due to NATO contacts. Companies like NORTEL and British Telecom (and the continental equivalents) were responsible for transAtlantic cable. We have helped to more than pay our fair share.
  • Not from the start. European links were added around 1979 or 1980. ARPANET (in one of its various forms) has been around since the late 1960s.

    They were responsible for the transatlantic cable because they're the ones that wanted on the net. The Americans had already been running it for 10 years prior to this transatlantic cable being connected.
  • A common misconception is that democracy was a founding principle of the United States. It was not. Democracy is merely a tool meant to protect liberty, and not always the best one. Many Founding Fathers were very cautious about unfettered majority rule, which is in essence a dictatorship. Tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the minority? A noxious choice in my book


    _________
    Sometimes, when I'm feelin' bored, I like to take a necrotic equine and assault it physically.

  • Way before Tim Berners Lee came up with HTML, I was using the internet, sending email, reading usenet, playing MUDs, netrek, and hacking Unix.

    The internet has been around far longer than the WWW, and even the more significant technologies related to the WWW were invented in the US.

    TCP/IP? Yes.
    Ethernet? Check
    Routers? Check
    the ISP? Check
    Unix? Check
    C? Check
    PERL? Check
    UUCP? Check
    Fidonet? Check
    SGML (basis of HTML)? Check (IBM's GML)
    Graphical Web browser? Check
    SMTP? Check

    I remember pirating warez in the early 80s and trading with Europeans in the UK, Holland, and Germany, and the fact of the matter was, there was no as thriving a online community in Europe in those days. They owned inferior hardware (more expensive in Europe), and generally, someone in the US had a 9600 baud modem, whilst a European had 1200 or 2400 baud. Any European who was a major online surfer had to use stolen phone/calling cards.

    I could go on and on. Face it, the telecomm market in Europe sucks ass. The socialist economy sucks ass. Many Europeans even pay per minute phone rates for local calls! How the hell can you have a vibrant surfing/ecommerce community when you are feeling the pressure to log off because of your phone bill?

    Europeans even know they are better off in the US economy. Want freedom? Want to work for big bucks? Want to start your own company? Want to get investment? want to work at exciting places? Europe has no real equivalent of Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Austin, or Northern Virginia.
    If you live in California, there is a party everynight where you can meet hundreds of young people working on hot technology. The geek social scene is way better. The only European equivalent is the demo-scene parties which wreak of young pimply faced teens, not 20-something entrpreneur geeks.


    The real innovation and action is happening here, and if Europeans know better, like Linus, they come here.

    Fix the European economy first by tossing out the socialists and maybe things will be better. Otherwise, keep dreaming and revering Tim Berners Lee, you're only memorable star.

  • I am certainly going to tell you this, because it is the fact. Anecdotal evidence regarding lamb or any other single commodity does not provide proof otherwise. As a counter example, look at the awful shellacking the US is taking in it's steel industry due to dumping at below cost prices by Far Eastern nations. The US was the inventor of the TV and the VCR. Are VCRs made in the US? Not any more. Ditto TV tubes. What other nation would allow something like steel to be eviscerated in this mannerI am certainly going to tell you this, because it is the fact. Anecdotal evidence regarding lamb or any other single commodity does not provide proof otherwise. As a counter example, look at the awful shellacking the US is taking in it's steel industry due to dumping at below cost prices by Far Eastern nations. The US was the inventor of the TV and the VCR. Are VCRs made in the US? Not any more. Ditto TV tubes. What other nation would allow something like steel to be eviscerated in this manner

    Doesn't imply open. Implies flawed. Read Michael Crichton's Rising Sun for an interesting insight into this. Americans frequently complain about the Japanese behaviour business-wise. If you're behind the eight ball, it's your job to adapt to the other party, not vice versa.

  • Break granted :-)
    Actually I'm more irritated at people who think "Europe = EU" or those here (in Sweden) who say "I went down to europe" or something like that.
    Anyway we usually refer to US citizens as "Yankees" even if they never left mississippi... sorry bout that.
  • by hta (7593)
    Your proposal is much like the present system, except for the details of what constitutes an "estate".


    The current "estates" are roughly domain name functions, address functions, and protocol functions. Makes more sense than geography to me.

    The IETF is one of the supporting organizations of the PSO - we only got one of "our" people in this time.

    BTW, there's a Governmental Advisory Council - it doesn't put members on the board, but it does offer "advice"....

  • I'd say one vote per organization that has aquired IP addresses. That solves the authentication and authenticity issues.. but leaves out the general population. Not sure whether that's a bad thing or not, however.

    --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Thanks for making a blanket statement about how you think Americans perceive reality. You are the one proclaiming yourself as "one of the 'rest of the world'. No American did it for you.

    To quote Wired magazine, "It's the Internet, stupid."

  • Last time I looked at the population figures, Americans *are* the minority.

    Nice try, but no go. There are something like 100 million American internet users, which is orders of magnitude higher than any other country on the planet in terms of wired citizens. As such, Americans should certainly have much more of a say than a country like China or India who, while they may indeed have a few billion people living within their borders, have only a few thousand actually able to get onto the internet.

    -A.P.
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by Quesne (84010) on Tuesday October 26, 1999 @10:04PM (#1584866) Homepage
    You must be counting AOL disks. And even if true, "orders of magnitude" less than 100 mill. is 1 mill. A number of countries has many times this number of users.

    The largest segment is not necessarily large enough to be considered a majority. A quick peek at linuxcounter indicates that USA is at 20% of the net population.

    And from what country did the browser technology originate? Without that the internet would still be a plaything in academia.
  • I like the idea of letting the U.S. be a little under-represented. Often, the largest and most powerful member of a comittee will find it easy to 'ignore' others concerns (see business practices of any powerful corporation (Microsoft)) A large, diverse group is generally a plus for promoting the most open and free standards. Also, I think that this sort of international representation might be part of the key for taking the internet to the global level that it lacks now. For example, naming practices right now are pretty odd, with most sites outside the U.S. using country codes while many in the U.S don't use them at all. This sort of implicit arrogance is exactly what a global network like the Internet doesn't need.

    My reservation is that too much representation is given to large companies whose interests are focused in an even poorer direction, economic gain. If anything, the 'net needs advocates that look beyond the .com e-commerce evereything-you-need--and-more-in-a-superstore model of internet use. There is a difficulty here because most people qualified to be on this board are working for companies or have started their own, government service being about as glam as my footwear (old sneakers (although both are very rewarding (most of the time (hmmm..nested parens maybe too much Scheme?? :))))

    Ah well, this beast is damn impossible to control anyway, good luck to the board!

    joey
  • Ah, but it is not a United States government policy position, it's a general International policy making body in a position that seems mostly 'sponsored' by the Commerce Dep't. Still I see your point, as I was suprised to learn that it was a part of the Commerce Dep't. Maybe the U.N. needs a new body?? Internet and Computing Comittee. The ICC, not a bad acronym. At least that would help get this thing farther into the realm of politics and away from business; still, who can tell the difference anymore?

    joey
  • This may be flamebait, but i've generally noticed that /. is very underdog-ish, and hates mainstream thought .. but anyway : )

    There's a big reason why the United States should BE represented. Quite frankly its because so much of the activity and traffic on the 'net is located in North America. (I may be Canadian, but basically what's good for ol' U.S of A is good for us as well).

    If other nations are allowed a much more powerful say in certain topics which go against Corporate America®, then a lot of things can happen which may bring down ICANN itself as the regulator of addresses.

    Corporate America could start pressuring people (if you know what I mean)®, Some all-too-ambitious Senator may start tossing around a bill which starts to degrade access to servers located in the US, etc etc etc .. in other words it *could* get ugly.

    Or The ICANN could go the way of the 'League of Nations' with no American Support both political and coporate-wise.

    And even in the UN, they only havea select few countires in the security council. Why ? Because the decisions made there will have to be enforced by one or a few of the countries there, if there are lots of 'micro-countries' making decisions in the SC which it has no way or power of enforcing, then the SC will have been made useless.

    I'm not Pro-US, hell I'm Canadian, but we must still remember NOT to underestimate the power and authority of the last remaining superpower in the world.

    I'll get off the soapbox now and put my oatmeal-brain to bed.
  • [...] because of the nation's [US's] leadership role in inventing and promoting the Internet

    Excuse me? Last time I checked, CERN hasn't been moved to the US and this "Internet" they talk about is nothing but the freaking world wide web. Promote all that you want, but the US did not "invent" it... if you really mean the Internet, ok, but I'm pretty sure it's the WWW they are talking about.

  • Anyone see the cover of the Economist [economist.com] this week ? :-)

    'Nuff said.

  • Other countries don't come under the heading of "minorities". I accept that /. will be US-centric at times, but this is ridiculous. It's quite simple: the Internet originated in the USA. Today, it is international. So, any control over it should be exerted by some international body. Simple enough for you -- or were you just trolling?
  • Sure, he's in the corporate world now, but he he's been doing pretty damn well for us for _decades_. He has amply earned this opportunity to represent our interests, and I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt until his actions prove otherwise.

  • I never really understood the nature of this xenophobism that Americans are the greatest masters of. We damn foreigners are here on Slashdot talking to you everyday, are we so weird? Are we always out to get you? Are we so much worse people?

    Personally, I worry about whether the people on ICANN are good people for their imporant job. Not about where they come from. I'm willing to bet their is nobody on the committee from Sweden. Does that mean I (and my nationals) are not represented? Of course not, as long as there are people on the commitee who are willing to work hard for a functioning Names & Numbers system, then we are all represented.

    And if there does happen to be someone from my country in ICANN, he/she may very well be much worse at representing my opinions then someone from America, Germany, Uganda, or Japan. Its a global society: I share my opinions with a cross-section of the world, not with the people who happen to inhabit the same plot of land as I do.

    Outside of America most people are not always out to advance there own countries at the cost of others. You are not underrepresanted: you are human beings, and the entire commitee is made of you.

    -
    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • Vint Cerf unbiased? Since when? Did he quit MCI/Worldcom without telling anyone? He has as much of an agenda as say, Bill Gates or Linus, despite all the good work he did in the past.

    Let's try and focus, and see beyond the oh-so-short term, people...

  • by vr (9777)
    ICANN if UCANN!
  • It's certainly true that the internet was created in the USA, but other significant tecnologies are from the rest of the world, i.e HTTP/HTML without whose there would not have been the internet boom.

    More people, more ideas, a better internet.

    Bye,
    Rob!
  • Hmmmmm. I think it is rather over-simplified, because many territories have now invested millions (probably billions) in internet infrastructure. It's not a US net, its not a global net, it's universal. You take a cable and plug it into it. And I thought the whole point of it was freedom anyway, so what's wrong with electing members from what I suppose are all different countries ( which also touches that point mentioned in another reply to the original news post - since when is Europe a single country then people?), to talk on policies together? I'm sure that in the end they don't actually get to decide anything, the internet itself has a habit of doing that for them anyway, so get professionals from all over to talk together. And just because the US has a lot of users doesn't necessarily mean they have the best professionals, or even that if they were less or more represented their views would suffer less representation. It is not a political board, it is not a political organisation (whatever its parent may be), it's about technical stuff. So shaddup and let them do their work :)
  • Only in North America (USA and Canada). The rest of the world uses the ISO standard, A4.
  • What happened to "majority rule, minority rights". I can't push our governmental system upon the rest of the world.. but that method doesn't seem entirely unfair to me.

    Since I'm an American, it's hard to reflect on my own thoughts, such as, "If Americans represent the majority of the people on the Internet, why do we only have one representative in ICANN?" and not dismiss my thoughts as being biased toward my own interests. However, when I think of an analogy like this, I believe it sheds light on the subject:

    The Internet started in Russia. Russians were the largest contributors to the development of the Internet. Decades later, proportionally huge sections of the Russian population are on the Net. There are also a lot of people from other countries, but the Internet is primarily Russian based and since Russian is spoken in most parts of the world, the vast majority of web pages are in Russian. Eventually, ICANN comes to be and representatives are elected. ICANN is made up entirely of Americans, except for one Russian. Wouldn't those of you who aren't Americans (and Americans, too) be bitching about how horribly stuck-up and power-hungry and unfair that Americans were? Of course. We'd be bastards. It would make no sense whatsoever for us to run ICANN, unless we just despised Russians and didn't recognize their right to have any significant say in that which was significantly theirs.

    Well, my analogy has some inherent flaws (ICANN isn't run entirely by any country), but I think it expresses the clarity of thought that's necessary to attempt to evaluate an issue fairly, even though it strikes so close to home for many.
  • There are a limited number of places on the ICANN board. It is true that the internet started out as an american thing, but it is now an international thing, and it is growing very fast. Using current internet demographics may not be the best way to pick the representatives.

    What I said about other countries being even more underrepresented still stands. Say the US has one less representative than they think they should have. There will be countries with NO representation on the board, which is even worse. Of course, some US politicians seem to think anything less than majority power or power of veto underrepresents their country.

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