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Username: cation
Date/Time: Tue, March 19, 2002 at 2:10 AM GMT
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Subject: Karl Auerbach sues ICANN



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Internet Body Director Sues for Access to Records
Mon Mar 18, 2:15 PM ET
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The group that oversees the Internet's domain-name system was slapped with a lawsuit Monday by one of its directors, who says he has been denied access to the organization's corporate records.

Karl Auerbach, a director of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, filed suit in Los Angeles to gain access to travel records, payroll figures, and other day-to-day details of the organization that oversees the system that guides e-mail and Web browsers around cyberspace.

Auerbach said ICANN (news - web sites) staff has not allowed him to view the records, as required under California law.

"ICANN management has denied me the tools I need to exercise independent judgement and fulfill my duties as director," Auerbach said in a statement.

Staff members have sought to get Auerbach to sign a confidentiality agreement before viewing the records, a move he has resisted.

An ICANN spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The move is the latest in a long-running battle between Auerbach and ICANN staff, whom he says wields too much control over the organization.

One of the few ICANN directors chosen by direct elections, Auerbach has been a frequent critic of the organization and often casts the lone dissenting vote on ICANN decisions.

Formed in 1998 to take control of the Internet's domain-name system from the U.S. government, ICANN has overseen the introduction of seven new domains to join the likes of ".com" and ".org," and has encouraged start-up domain-name retailers to challenge the monopoly once held by Network Solutions Inc., now a unit of VeriSign Inc .

But the nonprofit body has drawn criticism from those who say it does not make decisions in a transparent fashion, and does not hold itself accountable to the 500 million people who use the global computer network.

At a meeting in Accra, Ghana, last week, the ICANN board said individuals users should have a say in the organization, but did not commit to future elections.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyberspace civil-liberties group, is representing Auerbach in the suit.


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