ICANN Is Up to Its Old Tricks

Must read: Kieren McCarthy, ICANN’s leaving the nest, so when will it grow up? The org that will run the internet still acts like a teenager.

Protected by its important father, the US government, ICANN has become a surly, entitled, and vain figure. It will want for nothing. It will listen to no one. It is always right. …

Unfortunately, the real ICANN has a visceral loathing of anything decided by its “community” – the people it is supposed to be serving. …

Despite ostensibly being a community organization, at its thrice-yearly conferences ICANN corporate tightly controls the agenda. There are no “unconferences” or even community-led sessions. All sessions – and frequently panelists – are chosen and controlled by the staff. Sessions are added and removed according to whim.

Just as ICANN was showing real signs of maturity, it lapsed. Rather than using its greater autonomy to step up to the plate, the prevailing atmosphere within the organization was that it couldn’t believe its luck. And then, with the arrival of a new CEO and the approval of the money-minting new gTLD program, ICANN more than quadrupled its own budget. It’s now a child with both fewer constraints and more money to spend.

Now in 2016, with the transitioning of the IANA contract, ICANN is finally coming of age and the US government can no longer expect to keep it in its house. Rather than sending forth a well-prepared and mature young adult, however, we’re letting loose a know-it-all teenager with a chip on its shoulder and a determined belief that it doesn’t have to listen to anyone.

Milton Mueller’s ICANN Accountability – Present, Future and Past is good too, but more polite. (Which, if you know Milton, is quite an amazing thing to be writing!)

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