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Username: rachelmacgregor
Date/Time: Sun, October 21, 2001 at 12:00 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Subject: Ending ICANN's Autonomy


I know what you mean.

I agree that the limits of democracy are defined by how we treat minority groups.

If democracy just means the right of the majority to exploit the minority, then democracy is no better than dictatorship.

Virtue cannot be defined in terms of majority opinion.

But what I am proposing is a parliament with strictly-limited powers : powers to direct the accountable administration of the internet by professionals it believes can do that job in a responsible manner.

That HAS to be better than the status quo. Besides, republics can abuse political and economic minorities too you know : just ask the Tibetans about the Chinese republic.

My belief is that a broad-based Internet Parliament would actually be keen to protect and nurture minorities and the free ethos of the Internet. I personally believe that most Internet users feel fondness and loyalty to the Internet which opens up so many opportunities to communicate and encounter and share in dialogue.

I think most Internet users would prefer a system where even those who they opposed, still had the right to an internet presence.

But I think greater accountability should be brought to bear on those who administer and maintain "OUR" system. I do not like the idea of ICANN being answerable solely to American interests. Why should that be so? We have Swiss, Australian, Scottish, German, French, Indian contributors to this very forum.

It seems strange to me that ICANN is subject to so few constraints and seems accountable to so few. It often seems to do whatever it pleases.

As a free spirit myself, I could quite like that lack of control, which has probably evolved out of the Internet's free-spirited origins.

But institutions can get corrupted. I am HUGELY suspicious of the "insider" influences at ICANN, and the CLOSE relationship it has with the very people (for example, registrars) who it arguably is supposed to police.

ICANN has shown that it is unable or unwilling to protect "economic minorities" eg in the Afilias/Landrush case.

I have e-mailed Richy Henderson and proposed he takes the initiative on this idea. Why shouldn't it evolve? If the Internet community WANTED to take part in it, I could see it just GROWING and GROWING.

Call it "people power" if you like.

We may be talking a few years downstream before it fully takes shape, or it could become irresistible sooner than that.

Why shouldn't ICANN's virtual autonomy be challenged?

Well let's see if we can put power in the hands of the ordinary internet users....     


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