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ICANN Reform? Perform or Perish!

ICANN’s Board of Directors asked for public comments in Sao Paulo, Brazil yesterday, but far too much of the feedback was directed at the wrong questions. 

Initially, I sat back and listened to ICANN “stakeholders” asking the board to reform the rules, policy development processes, and structures of the many sub-groups that constitute ICANN.   I began to wonder if anyone was going to raise far more important concerns for ICANN, like security and identity tools to stop cybercrime, and

internationalized domain names needed by all those humans who don’t use our Roman alphabet.


The clock was ticking on the public comment period, so I jumped to the microphone to make a simple appeal to the Board.  I said all this talk of ICANN reform is distracting us from helping ICANN perform on its key deliverables.  The clock is ticking on ICANN’s experiment with private sector management of the Internet. The worldwide Internet community won’t wait forever for new domain names in their own alphabets.   


If ICANN doesn’t deliver soon, don’t be surprised if China, Iran or anyone else launches their own top level domains and DNS services. That’ll be the end of the road for a single worldwide internet, and will start ICANN down the road to irrelevance. As I heard at the Internet Governance Forum in Greece last month, the United Nations would pounce on the chance to take-over for ICANN and the private sector.

Start performing, ICANN, or there won’t be anything left worth reforming.