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Icann under the microscope

Internet 'govt' to hold flaying fest in Uruguay

The revolution will be televised, it seems. Icann (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) will hold an open meeting in Uruguay this weekend focusing on how to make the internet more democratic.

One of the internet's 'governing bodies', Icann itself will come under fire as participants voice their opinions over the organisations' accountability following criticism that it operates in a secretive and undemocratic manner.

Earlier this year Icann appointed a committee, known as the At-Large committee, to compile a report identifying key problem areas to address this and other issues.

At-Large’s draft report, released on Monday, highlighted concerns over the way Icann members were appointed to the board. Members were elected via a global online email vote, a process the At-Large committee labelled unfair.

"The controversy surrounding [Icann’s] membership selection has made it more difficult to address the issues which Icann needs to address," said Carl Bildt, At-Large committee chairman.

Also up for debate this weekend, as part of a presentation to the Icann board by British Telecom's Tony Holmes, is the Enum scheme, an 11- digit personal communication number incorporating emails, mobile phones and text messages.

It stands to reason that some form of identification will be necessary to democratise the internet. BT, AOL and other telcos, which set up the scheme, will need the support of bodies such as Icann if it is to take off.

On the face of it Icann seems to be trying to do the democratic thing, but the At-Large committee has already expressed its disapproval of the idea of letting all internet users have a say in decisions.

"We found no consensus support for the position that every individual who uses the internet has an automatic right to determine Icann's leadership," says the report.

Details of this weekend's events can be found on Icann's website.


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