WATPA: FW: Groups Begin Public Awareness Campaign for Internet Board Election

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From: Norman J. Jacknis (norm@jacknis.com)
Date: Sun Jul 02 2000 - 21:58:55 EDT


I would encourage everyone who is involved with WATPA in any way to also register to vote at ICANN. Please read the NY Times article below for more background.



> June 29, 2000
> Groups Begin Public Awareness Campaign for Internet
> Board Election
> WASHINGTON -- Hoping to raise public
> awareness and participation in an
> international election to help
> administer the Internet, public interest
> groups on Wednesday launched a voter
> registration and education campaign to
> recruit what it called "Cyber Citizens."
> The campaign urges Internet users to
> join the Internet Corporation for
> Assigned Names and Numbers, which was
> selected by the Clinton Administration
> in 1998 to take over administration of
> the network's addressing, or so-called
> domain name system.
> The nonprofit group is holding its first
> global elections this fall. Anyone age 16 or older with
> an Internet address is eligible to join the group.
> Those who register by July 31 will be able to vote in
> the first election.
> The "Become a Cyber Citizen" effort was launched by the
> Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and
> the American Library Association, three groups that
> have been working with Icann to try to ensure that
> individual Internet users are properly represented on
> the board.
> While representatives of business and technical groups
> have already elected nine board members for Icann, the
> group this fall will hold elections for the first five
> of what ultimately will be nine at-large members, who
> will represent Internet users in general in Icann
> policy making.
> Although Icann defines itself as a standards-setting
> body with a role limited to the technical functions of
> the Internet, it has already made rules to protect
> trademark interests from so-called cybersquatters, or
> domain name speculators. And in their next meeting,
> scheduled to begin July 13 in Japan, the group is
> expected to begin moving on plans to add new top-level
> domains to supplement the popular .com, .net and .org
> suffixes.
> Jerry Berman, executive director of CDT, said the goal
> of the campaign is to educate Internet users about
> Icann and how the group's decisions can effect them.
> He compared Icann's role to one of being able to
> "rearrange the streets of a city. Because they are
> registering our identity. All of us have property, an
> identity stake in our domain name. ... They are
> essentially effecting what is going to be a critical
> identity and property right of every person in the 21st
> Century."
> And Berman warned that there is a risk that ICANN might
> some day take on greater policy-making powers beyond
> its current technical role.
> "Internet users need to exercise their right to vote to
> ensure that ICANN's decisions are in the best interests
> of the greater Internet," he said.
> CDT, Common Cause and the ALA said they would be
> alerting their members and the companies and groups
> they work with in hopes that word of the registration
> drive will spread. Any company or group wanting to post
> information on the campaign is welcome to copy the CDT
> page, Berman said.
> Additionally, the ALA said it would be urging
> librarians around the country to post the campaign
> information on the first page that Internet users see
> when using public computers.
> Although Icann's relationship with the three groups has
> been contentious since they issued a report that forced
> the board to make the at-large elections more open, the
> group's president, Mike Roberts, said Icann welcomes
> help with outreach.
> In addition to Icann's own voter registration efforts
> that more specifically target the members of more
> traditional Internet associations, some countries, like
> Germany and Japan, have implemented aggressive
> campaigns to get their Internet users signed up.
> Roberts said about 20,000 people have already
> registered, an updated numbers with country specific
> information should be posted on the Icann Web site this
> week
> During the first round of elections, five directors
> representing geographic regions will be chosen. Icann
> has proposed that people must vote for candidates from
> their region. The election rules are expected to
> finalized next month at the board's meeting in Japan.
> CDT and the other groups said they plan to attend that
> meeting and to continue monitoring the election
> process.
> "We recognize that Icann is an experiment of sorts,"
> said Scott Harshbarger, president of Common Cause. "But
> they are trying to manage a worldwide resource. That is
> too important to leave to a body that is not
> accountable to anyone."
> -------------------------------------------------------
> Jeri Clausing at jeri@nytimes.com welcomes your
> comments and suggestions.
> -------------------------------------------------------
> Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

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