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Username: Robert_Jacobson
Date/Time: Sat, December 16, 2000 at 3:10 AM GMT
Browser: Netscape Navigator V4.7 Custom using Macintosh PowerPC
Score: 15
Subject: ICANN as a de facto PUC will benefit from elections.


        In its more recent activities, ICANN has comported itself as a PUC, a public utilities commission.  In this role, it has investigated and regulated the business practices of current and prospective domain-name holders, treating them as common and specialized carriers.

This is okay.  If ICANN didn't do it, someone would, and the most likely alternative would be collusion among the largest registries.

If ICANN in its regulatory role wishes to maintain its legitimacy, however, it must become accountable to the Internet community whose interests it allegedly represents.  In most regimes, regulatory commissions are accountable to elected officials who appoint them.  There are no electeds to appoint ICANN board members.  It follows that the path to legitimacy, for ICANN, is to elect its at-large board members. 

The board will suffer no dilution of knowledge through elections, if the current at-large directors are a fair indication.  Rather it will gain legitimacy, the thing it needs the most right now as the U.S. Department of Commerce, from which it draws its life, gets ready to undergo a very big change.  In a crisis, ICANN will have no one to call upon except its membership.  It should do everything it can to ensure that its members heed its call.


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