Ronda Hauben on Tue, 6 Apr 1999 12:48:26 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ICANN decisions made in secret by small group and CP Snow warning

For those on Nettime trying to come to grips with the kinds of decisions
that are made in secret by a small group in a government that then
affect adversely the lives of millions of people, I think it will
be of interest to compare the fact that the Internet grew out of
a concern with the problems caused by such decisions and the effort
of communications and computer scientists to begin to provide a means
to broaden the input into such a decision making process so that
it will have more or a chance of being a process that will lead
to socially beneficial rather than harmful decisions.

This issue was the concern of those who gathered at a lecture
series at MIT in 1961 and who invited C.P. Snow to come and talk
about Scientists and Decision Making.

I refer to this issue later in the following post, which is a 
response to an exchange that occurred on the IFWP mailing list
(the International Forum on the White Paper - i.e. concerned with
the giving away of the ownership and control of essential Internet
functions to some behind the scenes power grab.)

The book "Computers and the World of the Future" edited by 
Martin Greenberger, shows the concern for open processes and 
social issues among those who set the basis for J.C.R. Licklider
to go to ARPA/IPTO in 1962 and to begin support for the research
that has resulted in the development of the Internet. However,
these social concerns, which impact the use of computers
and networking in society and many other facets of life, are
being countered by the creation of ICANN by the U.S. government
through a secret process and the transfer to it of essential
Internet functions and control.

Following is the particularly response I recently posted on the 
IFWP mailing list in response to an exchange between two other
people on the list to the means and way the Review Committee
to supposedly oversee ICANN has been created by ICANN (with
some of its own members on the committee to review itself.)

Re:[IFWP] Fwd: Re: What the ??? ICANN Appoints Independent Review 
Advisory Committee

ICANN continues to carry out the creation of an organizational
form that has no respect for the principles that have guided the 
development of the Internet

Most recently, is the creation of a Review committee that is supposedly
to oversee ICANN that has been created with no more understanding
of the importance and nature of the human-computer networking-human 
communication that the Internet facilitates than ICANN itself or 
any of the other entities it is developing.

The people chosen are not people with any understanding or concern
for the Internet as a means of global communication, but people
chosen with the narrow concern for electronic commerce issues.

Following are some helpful questions raised about the nature
of the committee choice process and decisions, and responses
that don't investigate the issues being raised but just
make excuses for the lack of concern by the U.S. government and 
ICANN toward carrying on any meaningful discussion and 
exploration as to what is needed by the Internet (the whole
Internet, not some narrow community) in terms of creating
a helpful process and form the continued growth and 
development of the Internet essential functions that have
traditionally been overseen by IANA under the oversight of ARPA.

Bill Lovell <> wrote, responding to:
>At 12:17 AM 4/2/99 +1000, Adam Todd Snr <at@AH.NET> wrote:

>>I now look at the list of names, seems familiar for some reason.>
>>Oh yes - I've never in my life heard of ANY of these people.  Not one name
>>seems to show up in any database of names and email addresses relating to
>>DNS prior to mid 1998.
>>Can anyone offer an explanation as to how these people end up being so
>>qualified for a function yet appear to have no background?
>>I also have to question how an ICANN director can be part of the Review
>That part seems to have been part of the original plan, so far as I can see.
>As to these particular people (and, from what you say, their dearth of
>experience in Internet matters), that may be precisely the point. I can't
>believe I am saying this, but there is the old saw about having people who
>can see the forest, and let the working class take care of the trees. One
>I can guarantee is that experience in a particular industry is NOT a 
>to being on the Board of a company within that industry; choices are often
>made entirely upon the expected smarts, VISION and pizazz of a person, not 
>on whether or not the person had grubbed in the same hoe line. Those are two 
>entirely different animals, and in a function such as Internet governance 
>that is
>replete with factional bloodletting, having people that will be above the 
>fray may 
>be precisely what is needed. And on that standard, from these bios I would
>that these people are very highly qualified and may indeed introduce an
>of sanity into these august proceedings.

>Bill Lovell

To the contrary, the lack of knowledge of the Internet and its needs
and the computer communications science that has made it possible
to develop and grow the Internet are not virtues but grave weaknesses
of anyone who is to be charged with any ownership, control or oversight
of any aspect of the domain name system, root server system, IP numbers,
and protocols.

Having spent a number of years studying the birth and development
of the Internet, what becomes clear is that its success grows from
the fact that it was under the care of scientists, not of those
with *business* as their expertist.

To make a fundamental change now in that prime condition of the success
of the Internet, is a grave error and the sign that the forces
who are acting behind the scenes in the power play to grab
the Internet from the public, are not at all concerned with 
the further scaling of the Internet, but only with the enrichment
of a few.

The U.S. government funding (via the Department of Defense and then
the NSF) of Internet research and development made it possible for
people who were in positions of responsibility concerning Internet
development to be scientific in their decisions.

This aspect of Internet development is being rudely and summarily
dismissed, rather than being the subject of serious discussion 
and consideration in figuring out what a forward step is to
make possible the scaling of the Internet so it will be available
to all to participate in the communications breakthrough that
is now available to some.

Instead a few are grabbing at the heart of the Internet and 
making decisions that will affect many, those who now have
access and those who don't, and these decisions and the criteria
for them are being made in secret and by those with narrow
objectives and narrow self interests (i.e. conflicts of interest.)

This is precisely the problem that was understood is the most
serious problem of our times by those who pioneered the development
of interactive computing and time-sharing, the developments
that set the foundation for the Internet.

So precisely what is being violated by the manner and choice
of the supposed Review Committee by ICANN, is precisely
what has given birth to the Internet -- i.e. a concern that
decisions not be made in secret by a few people who have
no understanding of the scientific issues and no concern
or understanding of the impact and consequences of those decisions
to the vast majority of the population who are being excluded
from the process.

This was precisely the issue that led to the prolongation of 
WWII via the decision of Great Britain to do strategic bombing
of the German civilian populations, and was the concern that
C.P. Snow was invited to MIT in 1961 to discuss with regard
to the light it shed on the future of the computer and 
of decisions made by Government about the future of the computer.

And this is precisely how ICANN has been formed, and how it
is carrying out its business with our Internet and how 
it has formed its own so called "Review Committee". It is a review
committee to continue and carry further its own conflicts
of interest, not a review committee capable of any constructive
function for the Internet.

>>>LOS ANGELES, March 31, 1999 -- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
>>>and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that the following individuals have been
>>>appointed to ICANN's Independent Review Advisory Committee:
>>>     - Linda Wilson, Chair (United States)
>>>     - Mads Bryde Anderson (Denmark)
>>>     - Ryozo Hayashi (Japan)
>>>     - Ethan Katsh (United States)
>>>     - Hans Kraaijenbrink (Netherlands)
>>>     - Jorge Plano (Argentina)
>>>     - Peter Dengate Thrush (New Zealand)
>>>     - Jorge Vega (Peru)
>>>Brief biographical information about the Committee members is set forth
>>>Expressions of interest were received from over fifty individuals in
>>>response to ICANN's invitation, which was posted on the ICANN website and
>>>distributed to the relevant mailing lists on March 5.
>>>Those selected meet the goals of geographic diversity and relevant
>>>professional experience.  The board appreciates the willingness of so many
>>>people to participate in this important endeavor, and encourages all to
>>>provide feedback and expertise for the committee when its recommendations
>>>are posted for public comment.
>>>This committee, called for in the ICANN Bylaws, will advise the ICANN Board
>>>on the creation of a structure for independent third party review of
>>>decisions of the ICANN Board of Directors.  The committee's work will begin
>>>ICANN offers sincere thanks to all of the enthusiastic and qualified
>>>individuals who expressed interest in joining the committee.
>>>Andrew McLaughlin
>>>LINDA WILSON, CHAIR (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
>>>     Linda S. Wilson is currently the seventh president of Radcliffe College
>>>at Harvard University. She also serves as an ICANN Director. Previously, was
>>>vice president for research at the University of Michigan. She is a Trustee
>>>of the General Hospital Corporation of the Massachusetts General Hospital.
>>>She is also on the Board of Directors for Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
>>>Ms. Wilson has served on the National Commission on Research and was chair
>>>of its subcommittee on accountability. She was a member of the Director's
>>>Advisory Council of the National Science Foundation for nine years. As a
>>>member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine, she chaired its Finance
>>>Committee, and served on its Committee on Government- Industry Research
>>>Collaboration in Biomedical Research and Education. She is a member of the
>>>Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of
>>>the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
>>>     Ms. Wilson received a Bachelor's degree from Sophie Newcomb College,
>>>Tulane University, and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of
>>>Wisconsin. She received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Newcomb
>>>College, Tulane University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the
>>>University of Maryland.
>>>MADS BRYDE ANDERSEN (Copenhagen, Denmark)
>>>     Dr. Mads Bryde Andersen is a professor of private law at the University
>>>of Copenhagen and author or editor of several books and articles on contract
>>>law, intellectual property law and IT law. For a number of years has been
>>>working actively with legislative issues regarding electronic commerce, in
>>>Denmark (where, among other things, he is chairing the Danish Government's
>>>IT Security Council) as well as in the EU, the ICC and the OECD. In the
>>>years 1997-1998 he was the chairman of the UNCITRAL Working Party on
>>>Electronic Commerce.
>>>RYOZO HAYASHI (Tokyo, Japan)
>>>     Ryozo Hayashi is Director-General for Machinery and Information
>>>Industry Policy at the Machinery and Information Industry Bureau of Japan's
>>>Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
>>>Mr. Hayashi received an L.L.B. from Kyoto University in 1970, and an L.L.M.
>>>from Harvard Law School in 1976. In 1991, Mr. Hayashi served as a Fellow and
>>>Visiting Lecturer, Centre for Business and Government of Harvard
>>>University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 1994, Mr. Hayashi was
>>>Visiting Lecturer in the Law Department of Kyoto University.
>>>ETHAN KATSH (Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
>>>     Ethan Katsh is Director of the Center for Information Technology and
>>>Dispute Resolution and a Professor of Legal Studies at the University of
>>>Massachusetts at Amherst. He is author of two books on law and technology,
>>>The Electronic Media and The Transformation of Law (Oxford University Press,
>>>1989) and Law in a Digital World (Oxford University Press, 1995), as well as
>>>articles that have appeared in many law reviews and periodicals. He is a
>>>graduate of the Yale Law School and is co-founder of the Online Ombuds
>>>Office, a project funded by the Hewlett Foundation to explore dispute
>>>resolution in cyberspace.
>>>HANS KRAAIJENBRINK (The Hague, Netherlands)
>>>     Hans Kraaijenbrink is a Member of the Executive Board of ETNO, the
>>>European Telecommunications Network Operators association, located in
>>>Brussels. He is also Manager, European Policy and Regulation with Royal KPN
>>>N.V., the Netherlands where he is responsible for European and international
>>>regulatory strategic affairs. He is a Member of the ICANN Board of
>>>Previously, he worked for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs,
>>>responsible for information technology and the services sectors, and for the
>>>Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. He was also a
>>>member of the management team of the Telecommunications and Posts
>>>Directorate in the initial phase of the Dutch Telecommunications Regulator.
>>>Mr. Kraaijenbrink graduated from Delft University (1966).
>>>JORGE PLANO (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
>>>     Jorge Plano is adviser of the Camara Argentina de Bases de Datos y
>>>Servicios en Linea (CABASE). He is professor at the Universidad Tecnologica
>>>Nacional, Buenos Aires and member of the board of the Fundacion Ictys. He is
>>>engaged in the study and diffusion of the social impact of the digital and
>>>network technologies and was an organizer of the IFWP-LA&C Buenos Aires
>>>where he acted as scribe in some sessions. He was National Director of
>>>Informatics Policies at the government of Argentina (1989-96). In the 80s he
>>>worked in consultancy on information systems and technological development
>>>in the computer industry. Previously he held managerial positions in data
>>>processing in international companies and the state administration. Mr.
>>>Plano is graduated in Information Systems.
>>>PETER DENGATE THRUSH (Wellington, New Zealand)
>>>     Peter Dengate Thrush is a barrister, in practice in New Zealand,
>>>specialising in intellectual property, IT and competition causes. He has
>>>been counsel to Internet New Zealand, and its operating company Domainz,
>>>since their inception in 1995/6. He is a former member of the New Zealand
>>>volleyball team, and currently a director of Innovus Ltd, a consulting and
>>>software development team. He is an expert on intellectual property rights
>>>of indigenous peoples.
>>>JORGE VEGA (Lima, Peru)
>>>     Jorge Vega is the General Manager partner at the law firm Estudio
>>>Osterling, Arias-Schreiber, Vega, Orbegoso & Asociados.
>>>Born in Lima, Peru in 1944, Mr. Vega was educated at the Catholic University
>>>of Peru and admitted to Peruvian bar in 1969, Peru. Mr. Vega concentrates in
>>>Civil, Banking, Corporate, Litigation, Constitutional Law, International
>>>Contracts, Real Estate and general legal practice.
>>>     Professional experience: Member, Trainee Program Shearman & Sterling
>>>(New York), Banking Legal practice, Citicorp (Main Office) 1969-1970.
>>>Professor, Catholic University of Peru, 1971-, and University of Lima,
>>>1982-. Counsel, Commission Appointed to Reform the Civil Code. Member,
>>>Commission Appointed to Reform the Civil Procedures Code. Former Director,
>>>Lima Bar Association.

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