Ronda Hauben on Wed, 20 Oct 1999 14:53:04 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Cordababla - and what about ICANN?

Eveline Lubbers <> wrote:

>Challenging Corporate Power
>The Cordoba Declaration

>>From October 14 - 17, 1999, thirty progressive activists and researchers
>assembled in Cordoba, Spain, for a European strategy session, solidifying
>an international network and movement challenging the increasing power of

What you have posted was interesting. I wondered if your gathering in
Cordoba, Spain, included any discussion of the creation of the Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as a private sector
entity to take control of essential functions of the Internet. 

When I went to Congressional hearings about the formation of ICANN in the
U.S. House of Representatives, I heard those planning its creation talking
about how this was to be a new model for transatlantic corporate activity.

In the ICANN model, governments meet secretly as part of the Government
Advisory Council (GAC) and Internet users and citizens of these respective
governments have no way to know what their governments are doing. 

ICANN is to be run by the so called "private sector"  which is an
illegitimate entity to determine public policy issues or practices or to
get control of public resources like the Internet IP numbers and domain
names, root server system, etc. 

And while the so called "private sector" is in charge, governments are
functioning in secret. 

ICANN is to have a meeting in California in November to make certain
decisions. Users have no way to have any say in anything that happens with
ICANN as is demonstrated after over a year of making momentous efforts on
a number of people's parts. 

It is hard enough often for a citizen to have a way to affect his or her
government, but with ICANN the problem becomes even worse. And this
despite the fact that the Internet provides for many ways of encouraging
citizen and netizen participation in issues involving public policy as
with the decision on what to do about the future of the DNS and other
Internet functions. 

The Internet makes it easy to create a legitimate entity to administer
public functions and to have it overseen and accept input online. A
proposal I submitted to the U.S. government when they were asking for what
form an entity should take demonstrates it was possible to create a
legitimate prototype for collaborative international scientific activity
to administer the essential Internet functions.

The U.S. government claims that ICANN is a "design and test"  contract,
and yet the U.S. government will not acknowledge that ICANN is only the
creation of an ever more serious problem for the Internet and its users. 

So I wondered if your meeting gave any thought to this new form of private
corporate entities being protected to take over public policy and
resources by the U.S. government and other governments who are going along
with ICANN's activities. 

Never a dull moment these days it seems in the power grabs to try to take
the public property and rights away from people and give them to the
corporate powers that want to be the new royalty. 

But it is ever more important to determine how to protect the public
wealth and the public interest. 

So its good to see your efforts and I wondered if you had given any
thought to this new form of problem. 



                 Netizens: On the History and Impact
                     of Usenet and the Internet
             Published by the IEEE Computer Society Press
                      ISBN # 0-8186-7706-6

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