PERSONAL BACKGROUND IN INTERNET ISSUES
Does the Internet Need Formal
Is ICANN Governance?
The Devil Theory of ICANN
Limits on ICANN’s Authority
Fear of Capture
Limits on ICANN’s Authority
( Part I | Part II
| Part III)
Love and Nader Letter to Dyson
ICANN & the WTO - A Comparison
The Worst ICANN Can Do
Temporal Scope of Authority
What is the Internet’s Greatest
Defining the “World Internet Community”
the Internet Look Like in 10 Years?
Where Would You Like to See the
February 21, 2000
What is the Internet’s Greatest Promise?
Q: What's the internet's greatest
A: It's a means of communication,
it permits people to communicate, network, publish. I think
the non-commercial aspects of the internet are what makes it
important. Don't you agree? …
BACKGROUND IN INTERNET ISSUES
Q: It might be helpful to start
with a little background about how it is you got to be involved
in the debate about ICANN.
A: I mean, people have been contacting
us for a couple of years. I don't know how long this has been
going on, but ever since the initial Green Paper, White Paper
process people have been asking us to get involved in the DNS
issue. And we tried to avoid it as much as possible hoping that
it wouldn't get too screwed up.
Is ICANN Governance?
Q: "Too screwed up" meaning?
A: Well, I think that if you look
at what the … if you look at what was done with ICANN, the way
it's been kind of formulated, initially the idea was there were
some technical issues having to do with managing the domain
registration process. I mean there were some decisions that
had some policy consequences, but the idea that ICANN would
be some sort of basis for some new almost world-government type,
that it would sort of be the foundation for other types of policy-making
in cyberspace was not really something that that people were
thinking about back then. I mean, you knew there was this bearded
guy named Jon Postel and you just sort of assumed that when
they set up the new thing that he'd probably be running the
damn thing. And you
know and then a lot of other people they're looking at the internet
trying to figure out how they can somehow benefit from some
of the success of the internet. And people … liked him at one
level, but there was a little concern that he had a hard time
keeping the difference between him as a person and the job he
was doing straight all the time. Like that time he kind of shifted
everything over to his personal computer.
Q: Right. In your opinion has ICANN
become a kind of world governance structure?
A: Well, it's a long ways from being
something like that now. What's troubling is that the aspirations
of the people involved with it now are clearly trying to make
this a magnet for various agendas that people have. Now, of
course if I was the king of ICANN I would think that that was
just great because then I have my own agendas and I would use
ICANN to carry those out. But, you know, it's not going to be
me, it's not going to be people like me either. It's going to
be people that are pretty closely established with e-commerce
firms and things like that. … It's going to be a change over
time to. If you look at the parties that are jockeying for position
in the ICANN process and spending a lot of money going to the
meetings and things like that, they are things like music publishers,
trademark owners, intellectual property owners. My guess is that the first wave will be focused on the intellectual
property issues. And they'll try and use ICANN to, and you already
see it, to do things to make the internet safe for intellectual
I was at a meeting recently in Washington,
D.C. with Andy Pincus, the general counsel of the Department
of Commerce, and also with Mozelle Thompson from the FTC, and
both of them said in independent conversations before the transatlantic
consumer dialogue, they said that they had pushed ICANN to provide
the true identity of owners of web pages though the "who
is" system, that that was a strong position that they had
taken and you know you observe from the comments by Steve Metalitz
and people like that it's a big priority for IP owners … to
use that to enforce liability issues. And there have been a
lot of complaints they've had that there have been domains registered
by people like Mickey Mouse or things like that and phony addresses
and things like that and they were trying to stop that from
happening. And so there … [are] obviously privacy issues associated
with these kind of things, and I'm sure there's legitimate interests
[about] people that are abusing publishers and other IP owners.
I think the thing that's kind of
troubling about it is that the policy-making is being made essentially
by a private body on things that involve kind of fundamental
issues about anonymous speech, privacy, intellectual property
rights, things like that. So then one expects a continuation
of this thing. And you could say the same thing about trademark
issues. And then the question is what next? Does ICANN then
become an instrument to promote deeper forms of surveillance
in terms of what people do on the internet in order to make
sure that nobody who owns intellectual property is getting ripped
off or something? And maybe you'd have the same problems if
government ran it. Don't get me wrong, I mean government tends
to be pretty responsive to those interests as well.
the Internet Look Like in 10 Years?
Q: Look 10 years into the future
and assume things kind of develop from where they are today
without any radical change. Where would we end up?
A: Well, I think it's kind of hard
to tell. I don't have a crystal ball and when I get involved
in issues I usually get involved in issues because I think I
can influence the outcome in the future. I assume other people
can too, so I'm not a determinist in things.
I don't think it's even knowable what the future will
be 10 years down the road because I think we haven't seen people's
reactions and strategies to things that might be attempted.
But just to explain some of the problems we have, there's a
whole bunch of cross-jurisdictional issues, and there's a lot
of difficulty that governments have in reconciling differences
in laws and all sorts of things. For example, registration of
securities which are typically based on national laws having
to do with disclosure. Disclosures that have to be done with
marking pharmaceutical drugs based on national laws. There's,
as you know, all kinds of state laws now on the regulation of
spam, not to mention foreign laws. There's things like pornography
and gambling and things that get people all riled up. … And
there [are] issues about liability and so there's a whole difficulty
in the internet reconciling differences in national law on a
wide range of issues. So it challenges the whole political system
to think about how you might come up with a global way of making
laws. And then an alternative thing was just to privatize the
whole law-making business, to create a private sector institution
that would essentially do the law-making. Not in a democratic
way as we're used to it, but just run by, say, what's good for
business. And then that
would be an alternative and it would be a compelling alternative
to us because it would be dynamic, it would be acting, it would
be out front, it would have under its control the mechanisms
to enforce decisions which are just not available to anyone
So that's kind of how ICANN fits
into it. For example,
I'm going to a meeting with the FTC tomorrow about the Hague
convention on private judgments and there's some proposal that's
come up in the context of these negotiations that countries
can escape a country of destination role on terms of e-commerce
and they can abide by some standards for consumer convention
that are certified by somebody and they can then sort of adopt
a supranational jurisdiction by having a little emblem that
says "okay I abide by this set of, not really government
rules, but some kind of cyberspace rules that everybody agrees
or accepts. An equivalent of a safe harbor kind of deal where
you take voluntary actions in the privacy area and use them
to exempt from national regulations and obligations you might
have. This would be for a lot of consumer protection type issues.
Now, there's going to be similar things like that. There's an
issue about how you deal with spam. I think people are beginning
to recognize that it doesn't make too much sense for Michigan,
Colorado, Virginia, Washington state … to all have different
rules about spam. And so if there's no will within the government
to confront the difficulty in reconciling the differences or
in creating institutions which can create global norms, then
you just sort of turn everything over to ICANN and say well
you have the power, you have the ability to tax people, you
can spend whatever it takes to … generat[e] the consensus on
these issues, and you become essentially the substitute for
You sort of see how that's coming,
right? It's sort of a mission creep, and a lot of times you
know the complaints seem kind of weird because you're not really
complaining about specific decisions that are made necessarily,
or even suggesting that they'll even make the wrong decisions
necessarily, although they might, you know, on particular things
they will do in the future. You just don't know. And you can't
really predict, that at least in the short run, they'll make
bad decisions. I mean , my guess is that in the short run they'll
make decisions which are not unreasonable.
ICANN: The Devil Theory of ICANN
Suppose you had the devil theory
about ICANN, which I don't. But if you did have the devil theory,
it would even make sense for them to make decisions that are
not really bad decisions in the beginning because you want to
go through a process of consolidating the authority and power
of the organization and avoiding oversight and things like that.
So in the beginning you want to essentially, you know, get out
there and lock people in through various types of contractual
agreements and technological means and things like that to the
point where you really are kind of indispensable. And you've
more or less rid yourself of things like memoranda of understanding
and shit like that. At that point, then you're really in a position
to be more independent from the powers that be because you've
become one of the powers that be.
FUTURE: Where Would You Like to See the Debate?
Q: Now looking forward 10 years
from now, where would you like to see the debate? What influence
would you like to exert on what's happening?
A: Well, I don't know if you've
seen the resolution that was passed by the Trans-Atlantic Consumer
Dialogue, but a fundamental issue for us and ICANN is whether
or not there's any consensus that the function should be limited
to ICANN. That it should be limited to DNS type services or
some fairly technical firewall or bright line or whatever people
Q: As opposed to adding what kinds
A: I think what's anticipated will
just be this incremental mission creep in the agency, and so
in order to stop that you'd have to some legal mechanisms to
stop that. Now, the governments could put into effect something
that would stop that, that would declare, "No, you can't
do anything. You can only do the following and if you get beyond
that you're exceeding your authority." The problem people
have, I guess, is that they figure if they get the government
to create a limit, then the government could actually begin
to exercise other types of unwanted attention on the DNS system.
So ICANN says, yeah, giving it to IBM and Microsoft and music
publishers and things like that and Time-Warner, that's actually
better than giving it to the government because we don't care
about dirty pictures or things like that so there's that kind
of dynamic that you can trust the private sector not to do certain
things that you couldn't trust the government to do. You know,
implement government snooping technologies or God knows what.
Given some of the actions you've had in some national governments,
you know it's not an unreasonable argument for somebody to make.
We don't really go along with it. But you know I can understand
that some people would.
ICANN: Limits on ICANN’s Authority
Q: What kind of limits do you see
on ICANN's policy-making decisions?
A: Well, I think that they should
operate under a charter, a legal charter. We proposed a sui
generis charter that other countries could join. And the countries
that could join were countries that essentially agree with the
basic idea that ICANN would not be the foundation for broad
regulatory authority. It may not be that there's a consensus
there, so maybe we couldn't succeed in terms of that proposal.
But our idea was that the internet is a global thing and that
the U.S. should declare that … I mean it's ludicrous. You talk
about people spending a million dollars on an election and claim
they're not a government. It's pretty weird, you know, the whole
Q: What was that about spending
a million dollars?
A: Well Markel is spending a million
bucks to try and deal with the election of the board members
and things like that. I mean it's pretty bizarre if you think
about it. You can't get something like the North American Numbering
Authority for telephone numbers, or something like that; whatever
it's called. I mean that's, in my mind, what the model should
be. Just some technical thing run by bureaucrats, where nobody
even really knows who they are and never has to worry about
who they are. It shouldn't be the case that you really would
care that much who the ICANN board members are. It's not as
if NPAA lobbies really hard to get their person to allocate
phone numbers in North America. But for some reason they think
that there's something else going on with ICANN, and I think
they're probably right. So I think people just need to be, in
part, a bit more honest about what's going on with ICANN. It's
not just about some technical thing.
ICANN: Fear of Capture
Q: How real is the fear of any organization
like ICANN being captured by big, multinational, economic players?
A: I think it's already influenced
quite a bit by big firms. I don't think they've quite figured
out what their common interests are on things. But I'll just
give you some basic ideas on things. … I'm going to go to the
Cairo meeting. The Ford Foundation gave us funding to go. On
our own nickel we've been to the last couple of meetings including
the Santiago meeting and the L.A. meeting. Suppose we come in
and we propose, that we'd like as a condition of a dot com address
and some basic information to consumers which are similar to
what has been recommended by the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue.
Some basic stuff like where the business is located - this is
for businesses, not for other kinds of things. … We'll just
think it's a bit of a no-brainer that businesses, most people
believe, should be obligated to post privacy policies.
Now, we raised this with Esther
Dyson, and she said well no, that would never go through. And
I said well why not if we ran the pro-privacy slate of people
for the ICANN board of directors? And she said at best you can
get less than half the board members because the way it's set
up about half will be controlled by business firms through the
constituency set up. So there it was right there. And she said
- and this was a meeting with me and Ralph Nader and John Richard
-that's actually a positive thing she said, nobody should have
that much influence. Well, it's set up right now so any kind
of pro-consumer thing we might push would not succeed because
businesses could block it. Then the question is could we block
something they wanted to do? And the answer is no. So it's not
Q: Why numerically is it that you
can't block them?
A: Well, to begin with, there's
nobody that's been elected yet from the general membership.
So there's zero right now. And then even if you have an election
there, it would really be hard to get 100% for just about anything
[with] the way they've set it up. My guess is they're going
through a process right now where they're trying to make it
as … I mean one simple way to do it is to make it that if you
own a domain name you could vote. Because even though that's
not ideal, at least you've got a system where you can identify
people and people have indicated an interest in the thing. They've
paid their money to get a domain name and they're fairly expensive.
So you have some system and it's a pretty big population. They're
not doing that. Who knows, God knows what they're doing. But
we'll have to wait and see. But it's being designed in such
a way through this complicated governance structure, that that'll
be hard to do. That's my prediction. Maybe you have a different prediction than
I do, but that's just the way I see it.
Q: How do you respond to the argument
that all of what you've just described about how decisions get
made and how the deck is stacked against certain interests in
favor of other interests in this kind of decision making … really
is a more fundamental problem. It doesn't just affect institutions
like ICANN but is really a feature of our political system.
So talking about fixing ICANN is not really the right place
A: I think it's totally untrue because
with ICANN, it's this private sector thing and you don't have
any reviews through the normal democratic processes. I mean
if things get screwed up in ICANN, you're just fucked. They
could change the bylaws tomorrow with enough of a majority -
or at any given time - and they could take away whatever accountability
they have to the public that's built in right now. That's just
something they could take away. Look at the history of non-profit
organizations; the whole S&L crisis. A lot of those S&Ls
used to be non-profit institutions at one time. And they were
just privatized. And same with Blue Cross. Remember the old
days when Blue Cross was a non-profit organization? Until fairly
recently the Blue Cross organizations in states were non-profit
institutions. Then they were privatized. So you could even go
from a non-profit to a profit-making organization. Not that
it would; and not that it wouldn't either. I mean, you just
never know. You don't really know where you're going, but if
you have a bunch of businesses that are sort of focused on ICANN
as something to protect their intellectual property, what are
the odds that we can get it [ICANN] to do anything? So it's
essentially going to be an instrument against consumers, not
for consumers. So basically, that's how it's going to be used.
ICANN: Limits on ICANN’s Authority
Q: How do you then react to ICANN's
position that they don't really have free ruling authority to
change the bylaws and do all these things?
A: Geewhiz. Do they think I'm just
lying about this or something?
Q: No. This is just what they say:
that they're constrained by …
A: They're constrained by what?
They have to get enough votes to change something, right? I
worked for non-profit organizations for 30 years, so I guess
I'm just a little skeptical of the idea that it's difficult
to change the bylaws of a non-profit organization.
THE INTERNET: Defining the “World
Q: What they seem to say is that
the ultimate check on what they can and can't do is the need
to keep the consensus of the world internet community on-board.
A: The world internet community?
Which means who? I mean I use the internet, am I'm part of the
world internet community? Is my mother part of the world internet
community? She uses the internet. What do you have to do to
be part of the internet community? That's the most bogus phrase
there is when you think about it. What does it mean? Is it sort
of the old boy on girl network? Is that what they're really
trying to say? The world internet community? Is that Steve Metalitz
at NPAA? Is that some of these guys who are running for the
board that don't know how to use anything but America Online
to check their e-mail? What the hell are you talking about?
"The internet community"? That one really cracks me
up. Does that mean people that are in one of Esther Dyson's
venture capital things or something like that? Is that what
people think? That the dot com meaning is essentially what the
internet is all about? What does it mean to say "the internet
community"? That's the stupidest phrase. I know people
use it all the time but what does it mean? People who think
like they do?
Q: Well that's a fair question.
Whose voices should be represented?
A: Well whose people are represented
in telecommunications policy? Obviously, … regulated industries
tend to be really well represented, or … the business interests
tend to have a big presence, but ultimately, in theory, you
can appeal or write to your member of Congress. There is some
accountability of the government at some level. I mean what
this is about is eliminating that step. So you have to lobby
IBM if you want to get a change. I mean it may make you feel
pretty good. It doesn't make me feel very good at all.
ICANN: Love and Nader Letter to Dyson
Q: I have a specific question about
the letter you sent to Esther Dyson (June 11, 1999).
A: The one pager?
Q: Yes. It's co-signed by you and
Ralph Nader. She responded on June 15, 1999.
ICANN: ICANN & the WTO - A Comparison
A: Yeah. Her response was pretty
silly, I thought. It was some sort of attack on NSI, as if somehow
we were too dumb to figure out that there was a problem with
NSI. But that's not the point. I mean, they've gotten a lot
of mileage out of NSI being kind of an evil body. … I guess
something good comes out of it to see them beating up on NSI,
but that wasn't really the point. The point wasn't, was NSI
ripping people off? The point was what kind of institution are
we creating to control the internet, at least in my opinion.
I mean NSI, … I think people understood what NSI was. It's like
Bell Atlantic. Well, I compare it to ... the difference between
the WTO and Bell Atlantic. I mean, which group has a bigger
budget, the WTO or Bell Atlantic? I would say … Do you know
what the WTO is?
A: The World Trade Organization.
They have a very small, … not really very high salaries compared
to I guess what you think it might be. They have a dedicated
small band of civil servants. I think they have a total of five
people working in intellectual property for the whole world.
It's a relatively lightweight organization and they have … It's
non-profit. Bell Atlantic's profit. NSI's a monopoly like the
phone company. People complains about the prices they charge.
Nobody complains about the prices WTO charges because the WTO
doesn't charge any prices. They just essentially determine what
the rules are in international trade. The problem that people
have with the WTO, or that some people have, is they feel that
the whole process of decision-making at WTO is less transparent
than government actions. And they feel that you sort of get
locked into the WTO system and you can't really do much about
it. It becomes harder and harder for people to change things
because it's such a difficult procedure.
At some level, I guess, it's everything
has an authority at some level. But I mean I participate in
a lot of WTO events and there's a lot of things that we think
are good at the WTO. … We work in areas where we use their norms
in intellectual property to help developing countries resist
bullying by developed countries because the rules are relatively
reasonable in a lot of areas. But the fact remains that it's
this sort of … the potential's there and an environment you're
beginning to see right now where it makes decisions and you're
kind of stuck with them. It's almost like changing history.
It's really hard to do; you can't undo things at the WTO because
anyone can block changes through the consensus system. And they
have these judges making decisions through secret briefs and
it's totally non-transparent. And you can't even get copies
of the pleadings. [There's] no guaranteed right to submit amicus
briefs, or anything like that. It's a weird, weird ass thing.
So people focus a lot on the WTO, on the governance issues and
whether or not they want that power, or if they're comfortable
with the way that decisions are made or whether they think there
should be additional accountability.
Well, ICANN is less accountable
by far, in terms of how it's being designed, than the WTO is.
I mean at least at WTO … if we want to get change in the WTO,
and in fact we do this, we actually talk to governments. We're
talking right now to the French, the Norwegians, the Australians,
the South Africans, the Thai, … the Pakistanis, … [about] different
changes we want to see in negotiations with WTO. I mean, it's
pretty hard to do, but in some ways it's easier than dealing
with ICANN. See because there's some process, there's some political
process. … Governments tend to have a broader set of interests
than big companies do, big profit-making companies do. I mean,
what do we do, lobby Disney? I don't want to do that. I don't
know anybody that does.
So it just goes to the issue of
whether or not you think government should be privatized. Now
maybe some people think government's bad because it's corrupt,
and therefore, the market's better. So if you had some process
that's controlled by successful businesses, that that's cool,
and, you know, it'll do a better job. And maybe people are so
disappointed with the outcome of the democratic system, maybe
they think that … You know, they used to call this fascism in
the old days. The idea that you'd just have big successful businesses
… [and] you wouldn't deal with democratic institutions. That
was kind of not that dissimilar from… Wasn't that kind of not
that dissimilar than some of the ideas about fascism? I mean
that used to actually have a respectable following in this country
at one time. People used to feel that democratic institutions
were a failures and they were just weak and that fascist systems,
authoritarian … close relationship with businesses and lots
of premium on good leadership quality, and things like that
were actually superior because make the trains run on time,
they could get people back to work, they can solve problems
that government seem kind of paralyzed to deal with. So you
know there have been period in history where people have had
kind of a romance with fascist identities and they found them
kind of appealing. Then they go through a period where they
sort of say, well maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all.
Who knows, maybe if they hadn't been so intent on killing Jews
or something like that, maybe they wouldn't have had such a
bad reputation today. Maybe
if you avoid those kind of policies, maybe you can sort of get
a better mandate.
ICANN: The Worst ICANN Can Do
Q: What do you think is the greatest
harm ICANN can do to consumer interests?
A: I think in the short run it's
primarily issues about privacy. I think … every time you think
about something that ICANN's up to, the most advanced, mature
issues are those having to do with privacy. One issue is issues
of anonymity, in terms of web pages, and the degree that you
can be anonymous or escape liability in various ways. Another
issue has to do with what's happening with protocols. You know,
there's various things kicking around having to do with ways
that they work on protocol development. Everything from cookies
to identification of ethernet addresses and things like that.
There's various things that are going on, and you know there's
a lot of problems with the net where it's nice to track who
sent what, when, and you know get the bad guys. And it's not
necessarily being implemented in a way which is least restrictive
of privacy interests. And so I think that's the biggest threat.
What do you think the biggest threat is?
Q: Hard to say.
A: What would be higher than privacy,
in terms of the short run?
Q: Well, I don't know. The more
generalized threat is that a lot of decisions will have long
term effects and are being taken without people having any idea
as to what's going on.
A: Your question was a legitimate
one, which is, "So what?"
Q: Well, we're going to live with
the architecture that's put in place and it may be much harder
to undo it than it is for ICANN to do it. And that's going to
affect a wide range of issues from privacy to intellectual property
to everything else. …
GOVERNANCE: Defining Governance
Q: Define governance.
A: There's who governs ICANN, and
then there's what authority does ICANN have over the internet.
Those are kind of two different issues. Let me put it this way,
suppose ICANN had no authority over the internet. Then I wouldn't
really care who has authority over ICANN. … But to the degree
that ICANN asserts that it has big authority over the internet,
then I go, "well, gee, not only do I care, I care that
other people care." I mean, it's not so much that I have
big plans for ICANN in terms of things on the internet, but
if I sort of get wind of the fact that other people have big
plans for ICANN. … I mean it's maddening to deal with Esther
because Esther's charming. … But she's kind of a bullshit artist.
I mean if you listen to her, none of the things she says really
makes too much sense if you put them all together. I mean, she's
accused me at public meetings of lying about things that she
told me. Which, they weren't lies at all. It's just she didn't
like them played back to her. I mean she wants to be able to
meet with everybody and say whatever glib, cool things she can
say to calm everybody down, but she doesn't like the idea that
you could ever pin her down on anything. She's like a jellyfish.
Or I don't know what. But she can't really, I don't think she
really has the intellectual honesty or maybe the intellectual
ability to sort of sit down and figure out what's being done
as far as an institution. I mean either she's just intentionally
kind of a propaganda artist or she just can't quite get it in
terms of what's involved. And, you know, I think we'd be better
of if we had somebody who was not so glib and just confusing
everybody. She takes advantage of the fact that a lot of the
people she deals with in government are clueless when it comes
to the internet, so you know she just makes them feel so uncomfortable
that they can't really pin her … nail anything down. It's amazing
how difficult it is to get real basic information.
ICANN: Temporal Scope of Authority
When we were at the Trans-Atlantic
Consumer Dialogue meeting, Andy Pincus was there and so was
Becky and so I asked a question. I said, "well, can you
tell me when, if ever, the U.S. government intends to end its
MoU with ICANN? I mean, does that thing ever sunset or is it
a permanent thing?" It's a pretty basic question, right?
I mean, who gives a shit what the Memorandum of Understanding
is if it's going to disappear after a while? Well, we couldn't
get an answer. Not that there wasn't an attempt to get an answer
but they just wouldn't give us a straight answer on that issue.
That was like a pretty basic question I think, isn't it. Because
what Esther told me is they intend to be a free agent and she
wouldn't accept an arrangement whereby they have an on-going
relationship with any government. They want all the assets,
all the power, and they want us to just kiss it off and just
say okay, you're free. She wouldn't accept the notion of a charter.
That's what she told us. And so we went back to Andy Pincus,
Tim Mazel and those guys, but primarily this was a meeting where
Andy and Becky were there in front of a lot of other people
and we just said tell us, is there ever going to be a day when
they're no longer obligated to any of the terms of the Memorandum
of Understanding, which is what Esther told us would be the
case. Do you know the answer to that?
A: Doesn't that seem like a fundamental,
A: It does to me, anyhow.
GOVERNANCE: Does the Internet
Need Formal Governance?
Q: Do you think a formal governance
structure is necessary for the internet?
A: A formal governance structure
for the internet? I think that would be a mistake. I think that
to the degree it would centralize power on the internet it would
be a big mistake. I think it's much better to have less centralization.
If you look at one of the concerns people have about the WTO,
it's that kind of one-stop shopping real power. Of all the international
organizations, the only one that has any power is the WTO. And
I think that's sort of the analogous thing with ICANN. I mean
there's lots of institutions which may sit around and shoot
the shit, but I mean ICANN has the ability to translate ideas
into actions … same with the WTO.
ICANN: Limits on ICANN’s Authority
Q: What kind of sanctions does ICANN
have available at the moment?
A: Well, I mean they can require
that you abide by their … I mean companies like NSI have to
follow their procedures on license and domain. For example,
…. this is the first one, they can say that if you don't give
… Okay they have a policy on identifying who a person is that
has a web page and what they're trying to do now is say that
if a person does give over that information, they can't have
a web page. We're going to take it away from him. They can't
have the IP number, they can't have the domain assigned to them.
So that's a condition. And you know they're working in the same
direction in terms of trademark issues, too. So on privacy and
trademark, they're pushing in the direction of saying "you
can't have something" … if you don't abide by our policy.
The anti-privacy things are being essentially promoted as things
for law enforcement authorities and for IP owners right now.
I think the IP thing is probably the bigger of the two, but
it really goes to both.