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10:14:27 PM
  • Some ICANN election stats. At the cutoff for endorsing member nominations, ICANN had managed to certify 48% of the Net users who had managed to apply for At Large membership. Of the 76,183 certified members, only 44.7% actually voted during the 10 days the polls were open. The European region had the highest turnout, North America the lowest. No region exceeded 50%.

    region member
    votes % voting
    Africa 787 315 40.0% 130 41.3%
    Asia and Pacific 93,782 38,246 40.8% 17,745 46.4%
    Europe 35,942 23,442 65.2% 11,309 48.2%
    Latin America / Caribbean 6,486 3,548 54.7% 1,402 39.5%
    North America 21,596 10,632 49.2% 3,449 32.4%
    158,593 76,183 48.0% 34,035 44.7%

11:13:58 AM
  • Microsoft using Corel to ease into Linux? Microsoft is investing $135M in Corel Corp., and in a filing yesterday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission the Canadian company let slip what may be part of Microsoft's strategy for easing into the Open Source world. [ National Post ]

    Corel said it has granted Microsoft the option to direct Corel to port part or all of Microsoft's .NET architecture to Linux. If Microsoft exercises this option, Corel has agreed to devote 20 developers and 10 testers to the project.


8:21:40 PM
  • Froomkin calls ICANN legitimacy into question. University of Miami law professor and governance expert Michael Froomkin's long-awaited report on the legality of the US Department of Commerce's creation of and mandate to ICANN is available in draft form (PDF format: part 1, part 2). This brief article at The Register quotes from Froomkin's draft -- although that document expressly forbids quoting, being merely a draft.

    Instead of quoting, let me simply cite Froomkin's title to convey a flavor of the densely footnoted, 124-page document: Wrong Turn in Cyberspace: Using ICANN to Route Around The APA And The Constitution. (The APA is the Administrative Procedures Act.)

8:03:59 PM
  • updated ICANN: the vote. Voting in the election for ICANN's five at-large board seats should have just closed -- as I write this it's one minute and 16 seconds after midnight UTC. But the Members At Large page still insists that voting is open. Whatever. In the last hour I was able to access the ICANN voting page only once in numerous attempts. Not that it mattered to me personally -- I had voted days before -- but those who waited until the literal 11th hour could well have been disenfranchised. A fitting end to what has been a shoddy election process from the very first (snafus in definition, registration, endorsements, and voting (1), (2)).

    The results should be tabulated in a few hours, according to ICANN. Check back here for an update on the winners.

    here Note added 8:08:22 pm: The MAL page now says they are allowing another half hour to make sure everybody who wanted to gets to vote. Now that's a fitting end.

    here Note added 11:31:39 pm: The At Large Membership has spoken. The winners:

    • Africa: Nii Quaynor
    • Asia/Australia/Pacific: Masanobu Katoh
    • Europe: Andy Mueller-Maguhn
    • Latin America: Ivan Moura Campos
    • North America: Karl Auerbach

    I know little of Quaynor, Katoh, or Campos. But the new board members from North America and Europe are those candidates most likely to agitate for maximal change to ICANN's way of doing business.


8:25:03 PM
  • ICANN: the North American candidates. Voting in the election for ICANN's five at-large board seats is open until Tuesday at midnight GMT. I expect that many of the registered voters have not yet done the deed (although ICANN's process gives us no way to know).

    Six of the seven North American candidates for one of the open ICANN board seats convened at Harvard last week to be grilled twice, first by a roomful of law students and then by a panel of tech reporters. Both sessions were webcast. What follows are my impressions of the candidates from those sessions.

    Here are photos [ side, front ] of the six candidates in attendance: (from left to right) Emerson Tiller, Barbara Simons, Harris Miller, Lawrence Lessig, Lyman Chapin, and Karl Auerbach. (Donald Langenberg was not present.) For biographical sketches of the candidates, see this page at Harvard's CyberLaw Institute. The questioners in the second session were (from left to right) Declan McCullagh of Wired, Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe, Alan Davidson, and David Akin of Canada's National Post. Davidson was a stand-in and unlike the others is not a member of the media; he is councel at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

    The candidates nominated by a committee of ICANN itself are Harris, Lessig, Chapin, and Langenberg. The remaining three -- Tiller, Simons, and Auerbach -- were self-nominated and endorsed by ICANN's at-large membership.

    A first approximation:
    How you react to these candidates will depend largely on whether or not you think ICANN has done a good job thus far. Auerbach, Simons, Lessig, and Tiller want to shake up the organization, let more voices be heard, establish more open processes, and limit ICANN's power. Harris professes himself happy with the way ICANN has been going. Chapin (CTO at BB&N), while questioning the organization's mission creep, represents interests that are already well-represented on the board.

    Simons and Tiller both held up a copy of the ICANN org chart to demonstrate the ample representation built-in to ICANN's structure for the communities of (1) technical experts and (2) corporations with an interest in issues touching on domain naming. The candidates had a wide range of opinions as to who exactly out to be the constituency for the at-large directors. Tiller seems to believe it is ordinary Net users -- the man in the street. Simons and others argued that the issues ICANN is struggling with are still sufficiently technical and obscure that one should view the at-large community as a self-selection from among the technically savvy. Harris, who works as a full-time Washington lobbyist for an alliance of software companies, in my observation made no pretense to represent any but corporate interests.

    The candidates:
    Karl Auerbach is probably the candidate the current ICANN insiders would least like to see elected. He is deeply technical, having worked in the TCP/IP and DNS space for 25 years, and in addition is a lawyer (non-practicing). Auerbach is one of the architects of the Boston Working Group, which proposed an alternative to ICANN before the Commerce Department selected the organization to which it would hand over control of the DNS root.

    Barbara Simons is a much-decorated veteran of the software industry who served as president of the ACM from 1998 to 2000. Her hot-button issue with ICANN's past performance is its confusion of trademarking with domain naming. She advocates imposing well-defined and open processes on ICANN's workings.

    Larry Lessig, a law professor at Stanford, has been a vocal ICANN critic since its earliest days. Why the ICANN nominating committee selected him is an enduring mystery, not least to Lessig. At the Harvard sessions, Lessig questioned ICANN's legitimacy and mandate to take on the questions it has chosen to address. (Press accounts frequently refer to ICANN as an Internet governing organization, while in point of fact its mandate from the US Commerce Department is limited to technical oversight of Internet naming and numbering.)

    Emerson Tiller is a professor of business at UT Austin and an unknown in the DNS community. His heart seems to be in the right place but his effectiveness working on the technical and political issues facing ICANN is anybody's guess.

    Of the remaining three ICANN-nominated candidates, I think Harris is an inappropriate choice to represent an at-large constituency. Chapin makes reasonable noises but I distrust his corporate connections. Of Langenberg I know little.

    Bottom line:
    I believe the Internet community would best be served by votes for Auerbach, Simons, and Lessig in that order. On balance I can't recommend Tiller. The other three: not even close.

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