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ITAA Calls for Private Reform of ICANN
June 12, 2002

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President Stuart Lynn spoke to a Senate subcommittee Wednesday afternoon, defending his organization's right to secret meetings and reiterating the importance of dictating policy. 

The Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space heard testimony from a broad range of witnesses Wednesday to address concerns the Commerce Department has not taken a strong enough role in overseeing the goings on at ICANN. Witnesses include Lynn, Nancy Victory, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, and long-time ICANN critic (and board director) Carl Auerbach. 

The General Accounting Office (GAO), the government's official auditor, says there are no detailed minutes of meetings between ICANN and Commerce and the meetings themselves have been infrequent. This despite one of several conditions in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by ICANN and the DoC in the late 1990s, which calls for a transparent decision-making process. 

ICANN's chief avoided a direct answer to those concerns, saying the organization needs to maintain a delicate balancing act between public interest and private ICANN. 

"I prefer that the key role of governments is fully seen in the light of day, and that we collectively and openly determine what kind of public/private partnership can ensure that a private ICANN executes its core mission while respecting governmental concerns for the public interest," he said. 

Other ICANN criticism centers on its overall ability to govern the nation's domain name system and whether the organization has the right to dictate policy when it was originally instituted to provide guidance only on technical matters. 

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