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The Internet

ICANN Eliminates Karl Auerbach's Seat 236

BrianWCarver writes "SiliconValley.com carries an AP report by Anick Jesdanun indicating that ICANN has given Karl Auerbach the boot by eliminating his seat as well as the four other publicly elected seats on ICANN's board. ICANN is the internet's key oversight body, managing the Top-Level Domains (TLDs). You may recall from this previous Slashdot story that Auerbach is the director who successfully sued ICANN to receive access to their records without having to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. 'Though soon leaving the ICANN board, Auerbach vows to keep complaining. And he leaves with no regrets -- he'd do it again.' It'll now be up to organizations like ICANNWatch to keep an eye on ICANN for the public. Is that good enough?'"
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ICANN Eliminates Karl Auerbach's Seat

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  • not good enough. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@NOsPAM.suppafly.net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:45PM (#4552085)
    It'll now be up to organizations like ICANNWatch to keep an eye on ICANN for the public. Is that good enough?'

    Obviously not.
    • Obviously the elected ones weren't even enough to stop stupid, self-righteous "leaders". if he had to sue to get the information he needed to do his job, and if he was powerless to stop the debacle that just happened, then obviously ICANN needs to be seriously revamped or taken away from its current runners in favor of someone else. This kind of bullshit is nothing if not detrimental to getting actual work done to improve things.
      • Re:not good enough. (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShawnDoc ( 572959 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:26PM (#4552345) Homepage
        FYI, he didn't sue to get access to the information he needed to do his job, he sued to get access to the information without having to sign a NDA. Basically, the info was available to him for internal purposes, but they would then not have allowed him to divulge what he learned to the masses. He sued to have the ability to inform the public about some of ICANN's internal mechanations.
        • by lance_link ( 97462 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:02PM (#4553062)
          Basically, the info was available to him for internal purposes, but they would then not have allowed him to divulge what he learned to the masses.
          the state of california grants a director of a public-benefit corporation -- i.e., karl -- the "absolute right" to inspect the organization's papers; there's no blabla about NDAs.

          it took ICANN some ludicous amount of time (10 months? a year+) after karl asked for the general ledger to invent "procedures" that he would have to submit to before they'd hand it over. the procedures they finally came up with would have forced him to sign away his rights and, worse, would have forced him to agree in advance to NOT fulfill his dury as a director if he had found anything possibly illegal.

          karl neither intended nor said he intended to publish anything. that was a canard that ICANN's staff and lawyer (who's not accredited to practice in california) concocted, then clung to with the full fury of delusion, because they believed karl was the devil incarnate. and the proof is in the pudding: they got slammed in court, he was granted access to enormous amounts of material, and -- mysteriously -- he didn't publish it.

        • FYI, he didn't sue to get access to the information he needed to do his job, he sued to get access to the information without having to sign a NDA. Basically, the info was available to him for internal purposes, but they would then not have allowed him to divulge what he learned to the masses. He sued to have the ability to inform the public about some of ICANN's internal mechanations.

          I am inclined to agree only partially. I believe the story goes he DID initially request financial information and was REFUSED. Later, when he continued to press his case, it was then that they came up with the idea that he'd have to sign a NDA.

          I believe ICAAN has a problem of many boards and management. Management (Lynn), IMHO, is running over the board. The management is to MANAGE the institution. NOT make the policy, which it seems has continually been done. As far as the financial information, it should be made PUBLIC. The only thing an institution in a position such as ICAAN should be able to retain as private should be individual salary and pay data (which should be divulvged as an aggregate) of those some 'n' levels under the senior management. Also private should be any data pertaining to legal actions in which ICAAN may be involved as such disclosure could impact any pending litigation. Other than that, they should be as transparent as glass. They have gotten away with things in the past but with the cry for transparancy and the 'enron mood', that may well be difficult in the future. However, they seem to feel they are not accountable to anyone, so it'll probably take an act of Congress (literally) to get anything done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:45PM (#4552088)
    On the ground? On the table? Or will he just stand? I bet he finds this very uncomfortable.
  • by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:50PM (#4552121) Journal
    <sarcasm>... action from the last vestiges of elitism and arrogance that helped the Internet stay small and academic before the plaque of commercialism was allowed access in the early 90s.

    Ahhh, the good ol' days, when the Internet was young, and closed to only the educated, and information was free to anyone who could pay tuition or get a grant/scholarship... all this open and free sharing of information, regardless of the IQ of the participant. I'm tellin' ya, we never should have let the stupid vote.

    Dirty peasants!</sarcasm>
  • by carlhirsch ( 87880 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:50PM (#4552123) Homepage
    Expect to see lots of good, firebreathing commentary on this at Farber's Interesting People [interesting-people.org] mailing list. He usually has good things to say about public internet matters.

  • Not good enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketchNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:51PM (#4552126)
    It'll now be up to organizations like ICANNWatch to keep an eye on ICANN for the public. Is that good enough?

    No, I think it should be open sourced and made freely available under the GPL.

  • New Job (Score:5, Funny)

    by L. VeGas ( 580015 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:51PM (#4552130) Homepage Journal
    He's going to go to work for ICANNOT
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShawnDoc ( 572959 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:52PM (#4552133) Homepage
    Ok, I admit I don't know much about ICANN, could someone fill me in on a few things?

    #1. The story makes it seem as if the seats were removed because of the trouble he was causing them. If that is the case, why did they eliminate the other seats.

    #2. How many "publically elected" seats are left? The story just says they eliminated 5 without elaborating.

    #3. Other than through public election, how does one get a seat on ICANN?

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by plcurechax ( 247883 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:00PM (#4552200) Homepage
      To answer 2 & 3, they eliminated all the publically elected seats. This appears to be in an attempt to non-discriminatorly remove Karl, and to reduce input into ICANN.

      3, be a friend of Stuart Lynn (President and CEO, and acts like he is Mr. ICANN), or the US Dept of Commerce.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <glandauer@charter.net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:00PM (#4552201) Homepage
      #2. How many "publically elected" seats are left? The story just says they eliminated 5 without elaborating.

      None. ICANN seems to have decided that having directors who were elected by the net population at large was interfering with their nice, cozy, corrupt way of doing things. Auerbach was only the most obvious example of this.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonman_d ( 465049 ) <nemilar.optonline@net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:01PM (#4552202) Homepage Journal
      #1. The story makes it seem as if the seats were removed because of the trouble he was causing them. If that is the case, why did they eliminate the other seats.

      Because the other seats are sources of potential trouble.

      #2. How many "publically elected" seats are left? The story just says they eliminated 5 without elaborating.

      None. From the summary: "...ICANN has given Karl Auerbach the boot by eliminating his seat as well as the four other publicly elected seats on ICANN's board."
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:15PM (#4552591) Journal
      They tried very hard to eliminate the publicly elected seats before the election, and it was pretty clear when Karl managed to get elected anyway that they didn't want him there and were going to try to prevent any "representative of the public" from interfering. While Karl is definitely on the cantankerous side, that had a lot to do with why *he* got elected - it was obvious before the election that ICANN was trying to railroad the public, and the public responded by electing a representative who was not only articulate and aggressive but also very clearly committed to trying to get ICANN to behave properly, work openly, and make policies that were responsive to the public. He started off his term as pretty much the lone member of The Opposition, with his major support base being the people that the rest of ICANN wanted to ignore - it's a tough spot for someone who's really good at politics.
      • Karl? Cantankerous? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rs79 ( 71822 )
        He's never seemed very cantankerous to me. He'a about as cantankerous in this context as any of us would be when faced with horrific and abject stupidity. I thought he's shown remarkable restraint so far frankly.
  • Good Enough? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:52PM (#4552135) Homepage Journal
    I definitely think booting the publicly elected people is a Bad Thing. Monitoring by external organizations likely will not cut it. I have one question, though. What prevents us from ignoring ICANN when we feel like it and doing our own thing?
    • Re:Good Enough? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by program21 ( 469995 )
      What prevents us from ignoring ICANN when we feel like it and doing our own thing?

      Inertia. ICANN has been in charge for so long it's going to be damn hard to overcome that.

    • I believe they own all of the ip addresses as well as dns servers if I am correct. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      If that is true then you can't have a website without doing bussiness with them. They also own all the ip addresses. If you form a website how can (icann speak)customers oops I mean users connect to it? If your server isn't listed in the master dns boxes then your site does not exist. Also even if you could go register your website in the main dns servers, someone could go to icann and register your ip address. After this anyone typing your url would be redirected to the other internet user who just purchased your ip address. This assumes of course that the other user registered a site with your IP.

      Sadly, bussinesses think they own the web and most of the time users just ignore them. However i think the bussinesses are right. Its their's. The net is no longer viewed as public domain but is more viewed as a way to make money or extend commerce. Everything from the backbone of the net itself, to the routing equipment, to the isp's, to ICANN are all owned by corporations. Even colleges outsource to various isp's. Academia no longer has the pressence it once had. Who owns the internet? The government, the people, or a cartel ?

      Its up to ICANN to make the most amount of money as possible. Its a bussiness and the internet is soley a bussiness model. If they are public then they have to grow anyway possible to satisfy the shareholders. They already charge more per ip address since the supply is going down and they encourage customers to buy in bulk to limit supply even farther. I but they will throw a fit if IP version 6 ever becomes standard for this reason.

      • Re:Good Enough? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sirsnork ( 530512 )
        Could someone explain why this isn't a Monopoly? Especially so now with no publically elected officals
        • It is a monopoly. It was created to be a monopoly. It has to be a monopoly, because, in the end, DNS to IP mappings can't conflict or they would become useless. Because of this, it was supposed to be accountable to the public. It's not, and should be scrapped and replaced with something less intrusive and more responsive.
      • Re:Good Enough? (Score:3, Informative)

        by kiltedtaco ( 213773 )
        IP addresses are controled by IANA, the Internet assigned numbers authority. (US Represestitive being ARIN. And they can't come anywhere close to what you think they can do. They just delegate numbers.

        And ICANN is not really a bussieness like you are thinking, it is a non-profit corperation for the "public good". Sort of like the corperation for public broadcasting.
    • What prevents us from ignoring ICANN when we feel like it and doing our own thing?

      The need for unique identifiers.

      How do you do an internet if:

      - A particular IP address may map to different hosts. (Packets addressed to go to www.slashdot.org according to ICANN, a Microsoft server according to Joe's Nameservice and Grill, the US Army Recruiter according to the MIL BGP servers, and the local kindergarden according to a router configured by a junior high student. Which authority - and thus which route - do you think a commercial ISP (PAID to deliver packets) will honor?)

      - A particular domain name may map to different organizations. (joe_user@slashdot.org may go to joe at VALinux, joe at Microsoft world headquarters, joe at the draft board, joe at the local kindergarden, ...)

      - A particular protocol number may specify different protocols. (WHICH IPV4 are you talking about? Which SMTP? Which NFS?)

      - A "well known port" may perform different functions. (Imagine a new Microsoft OS putting a webserver up on port 414, or whatever port is used for an important service in the latest competing OS, and configuring the next release of Internet Explorer to try that port first. No need to "embrace" and "extend" before getting to "extinguish".)

      and so on, depending on which organization the owner of any particular machine is affiliated with?

      The answer is: You don't. (It's like the street addresses, state names, and personal names being a matter of political debate and faction-fighting - while someone's trying to send you a letter.)

      Assigning a unique name or number is an indivisible transaction. In the absense of a solution to the "distributed update" problem you HAVE to do that with a single-point mechanism - an "authority". The best solution yet found is delegation - which is what ICANN does with domain naming and selling blocks of IP numbers.

      Which brings up the question: Why are domain names handled by ICANN, rather than the trademark/servicemark section of the Patent and Trademark office?
      • by j0nb0y ( 107699 ) <jonboy300&yahoo,com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:15PM (#4552586) Homepage
        I can't believe you're modded to 5, while showing an almost complete ignorance of how the internet actually works.

        ICANN only does domain names. IP addresses are handled by IANA. I've heard exactly zero complaints about IANA.

        The only reason ICANN is in charge is because they run the 13 root DNS servers, which everyone has their dns servers set to look at. All we would have to do to get rid of ICANN is convince virtually everyone to look at a different set of root servers. Much harder than it sounds, but possible (though improbable).

        As for why dns is not handled by the PTO, with how badly they handle patents, I'm glad they don't have anything to do with DNS.
        • Usenet needs unique identifiers too. Compare and contrast the differences between expansion of the DNS namespace and the Usenet namespace.

          Hint: they're both messy and ugly, but one works.

      • Which brings up the question: Why are domain names handled by ICANN, rather than the trademark/servicemark section of the Patent and Trademark office?

        For the same reason the US Dept. of Commerce set up ICANN in the first place. They wanted the Internet to be a world-wide entity and decided it shouldn't be under the control of any one national government. Unfortunately, we now have an elitist corporation in charge instead of an elitist government agency, which isn't an improvement. Initially, the current board at ICANN was supposed to be a temporary board until a "popularly chosen" board could be assembled, but the "temporary" board decided that they wanted to stay and changed the rules so they became "temporary advisory board members", serving with the elected board. Then they pulled all sorts of sleazy rule changes that prevented the elected members from doing anything, and changed their "temporary" board status to "permanent". Now they've decided to get rid of the elected members altogether, because they cause too much trouble by objecting to all this crap. Sleazebags.
    • Re:Good Enough? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Speare ( 84249 )

      I wonder how Vint Cerf reconciles this action (removing all publically elected board positions) with his stated position that ICANN has been inaccurately charged with non-transparent process, lack of oversight and irresponsibly heavy big-business bias? Is ICANN still the good guy and Karl some deluded pest? Or is the risk of all whistleblowers risk just being dismissed along with him?

    • Re:Good Enough? (Score:2, Informative)

      by andfarm ( 534655 )
      > What prevents us from ignoring ICANN when we feel like it and doing our own thing?

      Nothing. Check out OpenNIC [unrated.net], one of several alternate roots [google.com] for DNS.

    • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Tuesday October 29, 2002 @12:16AM (#4553387) Homepage
      ICANN looks after 3 things:
      1) Protocol numbers.
      2) IP addresses
      3) Domain names.

      1 + 2 are autonomous. If ICANN were tovanish tomorrow, nothing bad would happen; they're fine, ignore the,

      3) ICANN has an exclusive contract with the DoC to edit the Internet DNS root zone. Technically, they "suggest changes" to the DoC; they cannot do anything they want.

      The extent of this though, is it only affects you if you happen to use the 13 root servers operated under aegis of the DoC. Last weeks attack that knocked, what? - half of them off the air is one more reason why we as users and administrators should end out dependance on the legacy root servers.


      Just primary the root zone for yourself. You really want to depend of somebody else for a 100K file that if it's not there the entire known internet ceases to exist do you?

      Here's the file you need:


      Dat's it. The whole enchilada. That's what all the fuss is about and that is all those 13 precious servers to is serve up that file. Grab a copy yourself and use it.

      These are subtle changes every day. Lithuania may get a new secondary or .cx may change a nameserver name, so to be completely up to date with the primary root server, grab a new copy daily. But frankly, you could use last years copy of the file and not notice.

      If you're using windows you may already have the ability to run your own nameservers on your box. If it's not built in, go grab a copy of BIND-PE (NT) or BIND-LE (W9x). If you're using unix, just declare yourself primary for "." or secondary the root zone from your favorite root zone publisher.

      Now you don't care what happens to the 13 legacy root servers. Or ICANN.

  • What can we do? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lobos ( 88359 )
    So, for those of us who don't know enough about this, what can we do to help get everything right with ICANN? Are there resources that might help us in writing a letter to our reps etc?
    • Complain to your local congresscritter than the DoC is not exercising proper oversight over ICANN.

      ICANN's job is to "measure consensus" of "the community" and implement it.

      Go dig up the Marina Del Rey Real(spit)Video where they decided what the new tlds would be and you tell me if that's "measuring community consensus" or simple top down authority.

      I know where the bodies are buried, but you people need to go find this out for yourselves. Hint: it's big and blue.
  • by pjgeer ( 106721 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:54PM (#4552147) Journal
    I never use domain names anyway. When I want to web surf (only thing the Internet's good for), I just type in random IP addresses and see what I get. It's completely random that I'm here now posting this. The bestiality porn has cost me a few jobs, but I've learned 3 new sexual positions and proudly own a shiny X10 camera.
  • What to do now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plcurechax ( 247883 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:54PM (#4552150) Homepage
    Contact your political representative (in whatever country), and ask them to contact the US Department of Commerce to express your growing concerns that ICANN is not working in the best interests for everyone, and
    perhaps in light of its tactics to silent critics whom are board of director members
    by eliminating their position, perhaps the Dept of Commerce should have an inquiry
    into the affairs of ICANN and its executive.
    • what I would love to see is a candidate running in the election in 8 days that openly talks about nerd issues

      I'd like to see the response of a politician asked "Do you feel that ICANN's actions are justified in eliminating Karl Auerbach's position from their board?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:54PM (#4552152)
    Why should I adhere to ICANN's decisions instead of supporting alternative DNS-Roots? ICANN turns further away from the public, they ought to lose more trust in consequence.
  • by m0i ( 192134 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:55PM (#4552156) Homepage
    It proved to be yet another nice illustration of politics efficiency; they do nothing for their users (consumers, they think), but they manage to obfuscate anything related to them, to be sure that they can grab a big amount of cash and still look legitimate.
    Now that we got the long awaited new TLDs, what are the next key thing they're waiting to screwup?
  • No suprise. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:57PM (#4552171) Homepage
    In the last year it seems as though ICANN wants to have their own kingdom with no oversight or critism.

    Karl being on the board was a black eye for them as he kept trying to reform them and trying to assert the rights of the public and make them accountable. The last straw was Karl successfully suing them.

    They had to get rid of Karl and in one stroke, they got rid of Karl and the public input via the other elected members.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:59PM (#4552184)
    Nobody knows what the hell ICANN is doing. In all honesty though, the whole thing is kind of a joke. The only reason ICANN has any control is because the DNS admins of the world point to their blessed root servers. If we were to all decide one day to point to another set of servers it would make ICANN, Network Solutions.. err... Verisign, etc. completely irrelevent. So when we hear people bitch we need to take it with a grain of salt. We can fix it, it's just nobody wants to rock the boat.
  • by CathedralRulz ( 566696 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:02PM (#4552213)
    Ultimately Congress or agencies directly responsible to ICANN gave the organization the power they have under the premise that they would have an open ear to the public: IE - election of board members by the public (@Large members of ICANN). From the description of @Large members

    ICANN's At Large Membership is a new way to participate in the ICANN process. The At Large Members will help select Directors to the ICANN Board. The At Large election process will give individual members of Internet communities worldwide a voice in the selection of policymakers to oversee the critical Internet resources entrusted to ICANN's technical coordination process. The selected At Large Directors will help the ICANN Board be representative of (and accountable to) the vast diversity of the worldwide Internet.

    How was ICANN permitted to make this change to the charter that was granted to them by the government? It's this kind of crap that, if you raise your voice enough, can be changed by your representatives in Washington and by regulatory agencies who are open to public comment during policy making. It's also fertile ground for a lawsuit (albiet a money-losing one).

    • Ultimately Congress or agencies directly responsible to ICANN

      Congress is responsible to ICANN? Sheesh! I mean, I knew they were gettting too big for their britches, but if they really have Congress at their beck and call, they've got to go, and now!

  • Befuddled (Score:2, Funny)

    by Shamanin ( 561998 )
    My wife gives me so much grief when I forget and leave the seat up on theCANN, how could anyone get away with removing them completely!
  • What happened? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cranos ( 592602 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:04PM (#4552221) Homepage Journal
    Did someone sell the Internet to Enron or something? Seriously, I cannot believe that the rest of the world has not demanded that the US hand over control of ICANN to the UN. At least that way we can be screwed over by multi-lateral action instead of these pre-emptive strikes.
    • Re:What happened? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dreamword ( 197858 )
      Seriously, I cannot believe that the rest of the world has not demanded that the US hand over control of ICANN to the UN.

      Part of the point of ICANN was to avoid creating a new international treaty organization. I don't know that turning this all over to ISOC or IETF was ever really an option; the issue was simply too big. ICANN needs to be reined in, certainly, but having the DNS run by a subgroup of the International Telecommunications Union or by a new treaty organization would be a nightmare.

      The big win of ICANN is that power stays with relatively clueful people (Dyson, Cerf, et al.) instead of representatives of major world governments. The really big win of ICANN was that the "people of the Internet" could elect even more clueful people to oversee the self-appointed board members. With this level of oversight gone, ICANN loses a good deal of its credibility.

      Anyone thought about reviving the Boston Working Group [cavebear.com], of which Karl was a prominent member?
      • At least major world governments are accountable
        to their citizens. Who are the BoD of ICANN
        accountable to? Apparently the staff. Hrmph.
      • Re:What happened? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe ( 36238 )
        ICANN needs to be reined in, certainly, but having the DNS run by a subgroup of the International Telecommunications Union or by a new treaty organization would be a nightmare.

        How would that be the case?
    • If you think mismanagement under U.S. oversight is bad, I cringe thinking of how screwed up the Internet would be under UN management.
  • by PhysicsScholar ( 617526 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:06PM (#4552230) Homepage Journal
    The Internet is the primary storage place for all information contained in the world, and largely serves as a global resource onto which a price simply cannot be placed.

    Therefore, I and many other feel that the actions of those on the executive board of ICANN must be closely monitored. Anyone and everyone who's ever signed onto AOL or Prodigy or even MSN has a stake in these events.

    I've attached below a list of some sites to gleam information from about the latest happenings (and scandals) related to ICANN.

    - http://www.icannwatch.org/ [icannwatch.org]
    - http://www.icannwatch.com/ [icannwatch.com]
    - http://www.atlargestudy.org/index.html [atlargestudy.org]
    - And, for reference, http://www.domainhandbook.com/archives/comp-icannb ylaws.html [domainhandbook.com]
  • The thing is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by laigle ( 614390 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:08PM (#4552242)
    What bothers me most about this is not the moves ICANN has made. It's not that they've booted the sources of public oversight off.

    What bothers me most is, since it's been pretty clear all along they have no concern for integrity of the net or public good online, and they never felt the need to keep us from knowing that, what the heck is it they're getting ready to do that they don't want us o know about? Paranoid, yes, but I really don't see why they would have gone to so much trouble over this unless they have something up their sleeve.
  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt ( 578295 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:08PM (#4552244)
    They gave him the TLD .bye
  • by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <samwyse@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:10PM (#4552259) Homepage Journal
    Favorite quote from the Mecury News:
    [ICANN Chairman Vint] Cerf suggested Auerbach could have explored cheaper alternatives to litigation.
    Yeah, Vint thought that he could have signed the nondisclosure agreement. That would have been a lot cheaper, wouldn't it. I wonder if there'd be any chance of a successful lawsuit to protest the elimination of the publicly elected directors?
  • by LoRider ( 16327 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:10PM (#4552260) Homepage Journal
    "Publicly elected Karl Auerbach, suspected terrorist sympathiser, is booted from the ICANN board. His insubordination was seen as counter productive in the war on terrorism by the other self-appointed members of the board. One member said, 'Mr. Auerbach was a subversive who was sympathetic to freedom loving people - not a patriot. We will not allow these neo-commies the ability to destroy everything I, I mean we, have built. He may have been elected by the public, but the public doesn't know what we know and we know lots of stuff that would scare the public but we aren't to say what it is cause it's really scary.'"

  • Let's hope Auerbach left the plans for the DNS server loaded in the memory buffer of a brave astromech droid.
    • Actually, the plans for DNS are rather like the Force - they pervade the net, in every resolv.conf file and fill-in-your-DNS-server menu item, and while they don't exactly have a light side and a dark side, they do hold the Internet together. DNS, however, was really designed for a hierarchical environment with the Emperor at the top, because there's One Root To Rule Them All (oops, wrong genre... There Can Be Only One!... closer....).

      Some of us were skeptical about the concept at the beginning, but the immense practicality of a common naming system compared to ...ucbvax!ihnp4!here!there!them!username rapidly dominated the non-Microsoft-non-Novell parts of the email world in spite of the limitations that became glaringly obvious after the Web commercialized. The big problem with having a Root is that somebody has to be in charge of it, so there has to be some conflict resolution process, and the fact that Jon Postel was funded by the Feds as opposed to the IETF or ANSI has unfortunately led to the Feds thinking that it belongs to them, not to everybody.

  • by intermodal ( 534361 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:13PM (#4552278) Homepage Journal
    ``Karl's a conundrum,'' ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf added.

    Why should they care about what religion he is if he's capable of the job?
  • by man_ls ( 248470 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:19PM (#4552310)
    ICANN *must* be brought under government oversight, immidiately. They're essentially running a dictatorship, doing things how they want, not disclosing information, not allowing their own to see their inner workings, and eliminating the public voice.

    This needs to be stopped immidiately...
    • by Montreal Geek ( 620791 ) <marc@uberbox . o rg> on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:40PM (#4552426) Homepage Journal
      Err, I feel obliged to point out that doing things how they want, not disclosing information, covering up their inner workings and eleminating the public voice is exactly what governements /do/ in the first place.

      Sure, in the US there is supposed to be a democracy... but how would you feel when the rules for acquiring a domain name suddenly raise to the comlexity of (for a random example) Copyright or Patent law? So complex that even lawyers can't agree on which end to hold.

      It's impractical because of the now enormous resources required to do this, but the only solution is to return DNS to what it was meant to be in the first place: collaborating but disjoint entities serving TLD out of geographically and /administratively/ disjoint areas.

      It could be done. All it would need is some guts, a handful of competent sysadmins from around the world, a few months development time and one HELL of a big pipe!

      -- MG

    • Which government? Sure hope not the one you probably meant. I'll take the United Nations over that any day.
    • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:17PM (#4552596) Homepage
      They're essentially running a dictatorship, doing things how they want, not disclosing information, not allowing their own to see their inner workings, and eliminating the public voice.

      Excuse me, were you talking about the "War on Terror" or "ICANN" ?
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:30PM (#4552660) Journal
      The US government isn't in charge of the world Internet. Neither is the UN. The IETF would have been a much more appropriate group to manage the relatively small set of legitimate tasks that ICANN manages - they manage several other sets of address spaces without controversy, and they're more representative of the people who actually run and use the internet.

      There have been some recent proposals saying that the ITU should be in charge - as somebody who's been in the telecom business for 25 years, I view them as better than ICANN, because some of them are engineers and because they're a slow bureaucratic multilateral committee rather than a cabal, but they're still the kind o f bureaucratic telecom who brought you E.164 names, X.25 as their best example of data networking, and OSI protocols and high European telecom settlement costs, and the best thing about them has been that you could usually ignore them and use whatever interesting tools came out of the vendor and developer community...

    • The Department of Commerce has oversight.

      They're utterly the wrong people to be doing this. Unless you count being inept and corrupt as attributes you want to have for an organization that oversees the Internet DNS.

      IBM alone spends $30M a year lobbying for no new tlds. Guess where that goes.

      Follow the money.

  • Auerbach's current work station is set up more for functionality than for show. Orange, yellow and green Ethernet cables bind his traffic routers, monitors, laptops and desktop computers, some operating with the cover opened.

    What's wrong with that -- isn't that how most of us have things set up?

    • Just a comment on the technology levels of the author (or at least of his audience) - If Auerbach has something he considers to be a "work station", it's probably a Sun, not the desk that the Sun is sitting on.

      On the other hand, I mostly stopped bitching about bureaucrats using this terminology when I built a lab a couple of years ago - we had $900 desks, with $400 PCs on them, so if the Furniture Mafia are getting more of the money, they can decide which stuff gets the title. (Of course, the reason we had $900 desks and $1500 racks that arrived six months and eight procurement review meetings after we started the project instead of $100 desks and $200 Metro shelves that the furniture store on the next block said they could deliver on Tuesday was because the Building Furniture Mafia told us that furniture procurement was An Offer We Couldn't Refuse, and that we would only be allowed to install racks that were Officially Earthquake-Bolted to the floor, and the only way to get Official Earthquake-Bolting was to order furniture from people the Building Furniture Mafia had deals with...)

  • by crush ( 19364 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:35PM (#4552396)
    by painting him as a "loose cannon" and "politically naive" is scurrilous. A false binary-opposition is constructed: on the one side the claims of the ICANN monopolists that they are responsible, sober and politically sophisticated and on the other the picture of Auerbach the radical.

    The fact is that the ICANN board tried to restrict information that ought to be available to the public let alone an elected board member, the courts found that this was wrong and then the buggers decide to kick him off the board.

    Let's get these people under control. It's our friggin internet subsidized with our taxes, populated with our webpages.
  • ICANN is now causing so much damage (technical and otherwise) to the future of the Internet, hopefully some force will come along and effectively destroy this organization. I'm not calling for any lives lost, but hopefully some reputations can be destroyed. Time to put Mr. Lynn on the streets and make him eat dog food.
  • by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003i@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:05PM (#4552535) Homepage Journal
    ICANN's like Section 1, always trying to escape the essential Oversight.

    These guys are all fucking crooks. Owned by corporate interests. They've shut out the public from participating in electing the board members -- ALL MEMBERS SHOULD BE ELECTED. If businesses want to have their interests represented, their executives can vote. These crooks have taken all accountability to the public out of the equation. Its no different than taxation without representation.
  • Grass Roots Movement (Score:5, Informative)

    by sstamps ( 39313 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:23PM (#4552624) Homepage
    Well, maybe it is time to move over to OpenNIC [opennic.org]. It is pretty small, but since the Titanic seems to have hit the iceberg, I think it is time to make a break for the lifeboats.

    I joined and set up my primary NS to resolve their domains for me, as well as the normal ones. Took about 15 minutes to get working (forgot the forwarders, so it took 10 minutes longer than expected :P).

    Yeah, I know; I have heard it all before. "But nobody else uses it, so it's worthless!". Not. Everything, and I mean EVERY DAMN THING starts out SMALL. That's not a reason to ignore it or otherwise dismiss it out-of-hand. It's even democratic right out of the box, so it is exactly what *we* want it to be.

    Join it now. If you are an ISP, set it up for your customers. Help out. Set it up for your friends and family members. Make it a REAL alternative to the monopolized mess that the US Gov't has made of the current DNS system.

    Don't argue. Just do it. It CANNOT HURT!
    • I would like to do that, but my ISP requires me to use their proxy for http traffic, and it's the proxy that resolves domain names. My name server would only be used for resolving the proxy's name. And for non-web traffic of course, I'll admit that.
    • Yeah, I'd like to do that, but DNS is something I have postponed reading up on. I get my DNS elsewhere, and it works for now.

      If I could do
      apt-get install opennic
      and that's it, then I would do it, definately. :-) Are there any Debian hackers here who know if that approach would even be viable?

  • by Ian Bicking ( 980 ) <(moc.ydutsroloc) (ta) (bnai)> on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:56PM (#4552800) Homepage
    Since they mentioned it -- what did Karl find in the records he had to try so hard to get? I was expecting some sort of smoking gun the way the rest of the board was fighting him. Or were they just being stubborn to get Karl to use his time and effort getting something of no great importance?
  • Nothing New Here (Score:5, Informative)

    by rmckeethen ( 130580 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:55PM (#4553038)

    If you take a look at ICANN's homepage [icann.org] you will see a number of references to new and proposed bylaws for the organization. The first proposal looks to have surfaced on Oct 2 of this year. I'm guessing what's happened recently is that ICANN voted to adopt the proposals and that's why Allerbach and the rest of the 'At Large' directors are out of a job. It's a guess, but it fits the available facts. But this certainly isn't really new information, not unless you count proposals posted over three weeks ago as new. Allerbach likely knew this was coming, it wasn't just some 'out of the blue' move from ICANN.

    Reading through the proposals I note that they suggest eliminating a number of directorships, not just the At Large directors. The proposals call for shifting the functions of the At Large directors to an At Large advisory committee and a Manager of Public Participation. There are a bunch of other suggestions on reform, et. al. in the documents, feel free to have a look [icann.org] on your own if you're interested in the nuts and bolts of the ICANN organizational process.

    Finally, I don't personally know Allerbach and I can't say one way or the other if his departure from the ICANN Board of Directors is appropriate or not. He may be a stark raving nutcase for all I know, or he may be the last voice of reason and integrity in the organization, who knows? Not me. I can however guarantee that suing the organization, regardless of the reasons he did so, was unlikely to win him any friends on the board. After that, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that ICANN wants to close-up the ranks of their Board of Directors and avoid this type of public embarrassment in the future. But I think it's inaccurate to claim that ICANN forced him out, there's nothing to substantiate that.

    Whatever the reasons, I wish him luck in the future and hope that he will continue his efforts to keep ICANN accountable for their policies and actions and keep the process open to public comment and criticism. God knows they need someone to hold them accountable.

    • Re:Nothing New Here (Score:2, Informative)

      by Ke ( 8063 )

      Section 1. GENERAL

      The Board may create one or more Advisory Committees in addition to those set forth in this Article. Advisory Committee membership may consist of Directors only, Directors and non-directors, or non-directors only, and may also include non-voting or alternate members. <b>Advisory Committees shall have no legal authority to act for ICANN, but shall report their findings and recommendations to the Board.</b>
      <p>I guess that means they are still willing to hold court, but not have us in the corporoyalty.

  • So why not try this: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:57PM (#4553048) Journal
    What about handing over all naming, TLD, root server and registration services to the top comp. sci. universities in the world? A huge step, but logical if you think about it.

    For one, universities are all connected to a huge backbone and the technical knowhow is there too. The money coming in from domain/ip registration would come in handy to the universities, too. Hell, even if they where to make a profit, I wouldn't care that much, as long as it gets pumped back into education.

    But just as important is that universities want and need a free flow of information. Transparancy is what they're about, if only because of the historical precedents of scientific research.

    Sure, this would be a huge undertaking to set up, but there are even more benefits here: the fact that more dns servers are around mean the internet will be what it has always meant to be. Decentralised in a big way, and if a top uni comes up, hell, put it in the loop. The pieces of pie get thinner, but that's the whole point: this pie is not for consumption.

    Or am I missing something here?
  • by karl.auerbach ( 157250 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2002 @12:07AM (#4553337) Homepage
    Hello everyone - I'm currently in Shanghai at the ICANN meeting and connectivity is somewhat limited so I am not able to read and respond to all the comments in this thread.

    The elimination of my board seat is not new news - ICANN repudated the concept that the right to govern derives from the consent of the governed several months ago in the meeting in Accra, Ghana.

    ICANN's so-called "reform" plan essentially estalblishes an oligarchy in which a small group gets to say what is best for you and me without letting us cast votes to indicate whether we agree with those decisions.

    ICANN is also retrenching its committment to a board-of-directors that evades its duty to oversee the behaviour and actions of the corporation's management. (For example, one of the things that was uncovered in the course of my lawsuit was that ICANN's Audit committee never bothered to look at ICANN's records but simply accepted whatever the corporation management chose to show it. Sounds like Enron and Arthur Andersen doesn't it?)

    Anyway, the end of my term is somewhat uncertain - the annual meeting - being held Dec 14 and 15 in Amsterdam, is the formal end of my term. However, there are noises in ICANN about extending terms. That has me bothered as I do not feel comfortable with this.

    Regards from Shanghai,


    • Thanks for your hard work.

      Keep kicking butt up there at ICANN.
    • by Quila ( 201335 )
      What dirt were you able to dig up in the short time that you had access to the records?
      • by karl.auerbach ( 157250 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2002 @05:38AM (#4554312) Homepage
        I'm writing a report (to the board) that will be making a summary of things and making recommendations.

        There are parts of this report that I will probably not post publicly - for instance there are some matters that legititimately are such that I do want to preserve attorney-client privilege.

        But the bottom line is pretty simple - I have not seen any smoking guns, but I have seen a signifcant lack of attention to the basics of running what amounts to a small business, a failure of the board to properly oversee the activities of management/staff, a mission that is expanding its scope faster than a star going nova, and an institutional hubris that causes it to reject anything that it does not want to hear.

        Sorry for being somewhat incoherent - but I'm very jet lagged and my neuron activity is being fueled mainly by sugar and caffine.

        I'll have more later.

        • for instance there are some matters that legititimately are such that I do want to preserve attorney-client privilege.

          We have to respect that. And I believe your attitude of respect to privilege here shows that ICANN management's restrictions on your rights as a director were merely stalling tactics until they could get you out. They had no need to fear you would publicize all sorts of confidential documents; they just didn't want any type of investigation.

          I can't wait to see the report before it gets buried at the bottom of the circular bin at ICANN.
  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2002 @04:08AM (#4554108)
    Well well well... Good old ICORRUPT axing public seats and generally stacking the deck so as to have no outside influce.

    Nothing like a good, old-fashioned, high-tech star chamber!

    Ya, they need to be totally dissolved, and a new body put in place with rules strictly defined BEFORE any members are put in place, with some basic charter principles that can't be changed.
  • ICANN's behaviour has several of the normal danger signs associated with illegal financial activities;

    1. Denying and obstructing peoples access to financial records. What makes this even more extreme is that ICANN tried to deny and obstruct a _board member/director_ to this information. Clearly illegal.

    2. The elimination of all internal opposition. "Opposition" meaning people who tries to do their job according to the law.

    3. Usually when you have the above danger signal, you will also find, that those "third parties" that oversees the financial records /budget, like an accounting firm / law firm, that in theory should act as "watch dogs" have strong "conflicts of interest" regarding their "watch dog" role.

    Seen from the outside, it looks like that ICANN is spinning out of control, and that no-one is trying to stop the mess.
    A financial "crash" and a scandal would not be an unlikely outcome.

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.