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Wired: Congress to Enter ICANN Fray

  • From: Richard Forno
  • Date: Thu Mar 14 09:43:03 2002

> Congress to Enter ICANN Fray
> By Declan McCullagh
> 2:00 a.m. March 14, 2002 PST
> WASHINGTON -- Official Washington's post-Sept. 11 preoccupation with
> heightened security measures has finally extended to the underlying structure
> of the Internet.
> The U.S. Congress is planning oversight hearings to investigate the Internet
> Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the troubled nonprofit
> organization tasked by the Clinton administration with overseeing domain names
> and Internet addresses.
> One reason for the heightened scrutiny of ICANN is a controversial proposal
> that the group's president circulated in advance of this week's meeting in
> Accra, Ghana. The turmoil it created exposed how public support for ICANN --
> never all that strong -- has waned since the organization's creation in 1998.
> For U.S. politicos who have erected their political careers on promises of
> stability and security, the prospect of radical changes to a body that
> oversees the sensitive areas of addresses and domain names is something less
> than palatable.
> "More fundamental questions also need to be addressed, such as whether ICANN
> is even the most appropriate organization to be tasked with such a critical
> mission, which is central to our national security," wrote Sen. Conrad Burns
> (R-Montana) in a letter asking for hearings.
> Another reason for the hearings, which the House Commerce committee has
> promised and the Senate Commerce committee is weighing, are long-standing
> complaints about ICANN's lack of accountability. It has refused to let one of
> its own board members review its financial information, and many anti-tax
> Republicans remember ICANN's abortive plans to levy fees on anyone who owns a
> domain name.
> < snip >