14 May 2014

Understanding How ICANN Became So Dysfunctional

Whether you are just a domain name registrant concerned about the IANA transition, or more involved in the organization known as ICANN, the following is a "must read" --

Understanding ICANN's Complexity in a Growing and Changing Internet by Cecilia Testart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), April 15, 2014 (download here), excerpt (from pp. 28-29):

".... as some constituencies did not engage as described in the bylaws, different stakeholders do not have the same power or influence inside ICANN.…Adding to this complexity is the fact that not all internal bodies were created at the same time or use the same instrument as definition. Hence, there is not a unified document where the principles governing the structure and work of ICANN are clearly exposed. Equally important, there is a significant barrier for constituencies to actively participate in or follow-up inside ICANN. The accountability process of ICANN requires full disclosure of reports and meeting documents by the parties involved, but it does not standardize how the disclosure has to be done. As a result, there is a continual feed of announcements, ongoing activities, open discussions and reports spread across ICANN’s main website and each internal body’s website. There are no tools to easily search for particular documents, compare content, follow a particular thread or simply have all relevant documents in the same repository. Consequently, the most influential stakeholders or constituencies are also the most active, increasing the gap between them and the less involved ones or new comers. For instance, the main link of ICANN with the International System is the Governmental Advisory Committee, which fails to be a sufficient mechanism for many governments. This committee is in the delicate position of being an advisory committee but with more influence and internal links than other structures. However, it seldom uses them. This difference and internal inequality is a source of future contentions. In addition, ICANN’s resources have been constantly growing in the past 10 years, and only in the last year increased three-fold compared with the year before. These growing resources are also growing sources of concern to stakeholders such as top-level domain managers, registries, registrars and Internet users.It constitutes a challenge to understand ICANN’s internal structure and follow-up its different processes. The role of its internal bodies should be clearly stated and represent the operational mechanisms in place, and there should be a centralized online tool where all relevant documents can be found and be searched for. There are still more than three billion potential new Internet users on the world and many new usage trends are just emerging…." (emphasis added)

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

expVC.com Domain Name News Archive

expVC.com on Twitter