Drinking from the firehose

The new President of ICANN, Rod Beckstrom, is making the rounds, listening. He's quickly figured out what makes the global institution he is supposed to run tick: the diverse and fractious “stakeholder” groups that cluster around the business and technology of IP addresses and domain names. He's trying to acquaint himself with the people and attitudes of each one and learning about their issues. Registries and trademark lawyers complaining about registrars; registrars complaining about registries; business badmouthing civil society; frustrated Russians, Chinese, European Unionists complaining about the U.S.; the ITU, the RIRs….all have their own angle, their own feuds, their agendas and demands to press.

In Washington Wednesday he made a point of meeting with public interest groups, the noncommercial stakeholders his predecessor went out of his way to marginalize. I was there, along with representatives of Free Press, EPIC, the Media and Democracy Coalition, and OneWebDay. He barely had time to sit down before I presented him with a copy of the Top Ten Myths about Civil Society in ICANN, which I jokingly offered to autograph. He totally one-upped me. He pulled out a copy of Ruling the Root and asked me to autograph that instead. Then he graciously presented me with my very own copy of The Starfish and the Spider, which I insisted he autograph for me. Auspicious exchange.

It was a get-acquainted session; no deals made, no promises sought. But there seems to be some badly needed wafts of fresh air. This new CEO of ICANN thinks his job is to run the organization and not to drive policy, and for now, at least, he's willing to listen. And if anyone can drink from a firehose, it's Aquaman.

6 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Mike Roberts “placed” Rod in that role to listen. His main job is to not say something stupid.
    Joe Sims still runs ICANN. His legal dictates trump
    all other views. Everyone gets paid very well,
    including him. He views that as success.
    The FCC, NIST and NTIA are rapidly putting the
    next pieces of the puzzle in place. Cerf is all over
    that, with digital TV everywhere. It is a replay
    of the old RCA Sarnoff story.
    The good news is that many people see and better
    understand the simplicity of the Postel Worker's
    Labor Union. $15,000,000 to the ISOC for doing
    Nuuuuuthing ? What does PIR do ?
    Was life better without the ICANN labor union ?

  2. Anonymous

    @DomainsDomains: Domain name deadline could lead to power struggle: Under the JPA, both ICANN and the US Department of Commerce m.. http://bit.ly/A6HPM
    Binary Decision Tree
    Branch 0 – Big JPA – Bad for ICANN
    Branch 1 – No JPA – Bad for ICANN
    Consensus – Dissolve ICANN

  3. Anonymous

    The FCC is starting to see the light…
    @brianrobinson: FCC ponders a future with multiple 'internets': By Tim Conneally, Betanews While many of the FCC's broadband wor.. http://snipurl.com/rmaf2
    Imagine offering a “1998 Internet” frozen in time
    complete with Jon Postel and all the groupies.
    They could all discuss “governance” over and
    over and never change anything.
    Ground Hog Day

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Milton- It was great meeting you in DC and I enjoyed reading your piece above as well as your Top Ten Myths…
    I look forward to continued collaboration and sharing.
    Warmly,
    Rod Beckstrom

  5. Anonymous

    Looks like Rod has discovered Milton the WMD – Weapon of Mass Distraction
    Everyone without a clue is sent to ICANN at USC – the University of Spoiled Children
    Wonder if ICANN could provide a spare $10 million dollar grant to Milton's endowment?
    Meanwhile, the U.S. Government and the Government of Canada are preparing to
    launch their own Root Servers. They can agree via treaty to distribute the same
    “hints” about where TLDs are located.
    If one provider like http://OpenDNS.com switches and uses the U.S. Government “hints”
    that alone is over 14,000,000,000 DNS queries per day. Their customers pay for the
    U.S. Department of .COMmerce “hints”.