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March 1, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Nick Patience

The latest set of meetings of the Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers (ICANN) gets underway today in a three day session in Singapore, with the first day comprising various committee meetings, a public meeting being held tomorrow, March 3 and the board meeting wrapping up the proceedings the following day. The main committee meeting will be that of the membership advisory committee, which has been looking into what form of membership structure ICANN should adopt. It is important not just from a credibility perspective, because once ICANN has members it can say that it is acting upon mandates set by its members. It is also important from a financial perspective, as ICANN needs members to raise the funds to keep it going. In mid-February ICANN interim president Mike Roberts said the non-profit corporation needed $850,000 to stay afloat through the end of June, which prompted ICANN supporter and co-inventor of TCP/IP Vint Cerf to pass round a virtual begging bowl on mailing lists asking for money. He was acting on behalf of ICANN, asking for small donations from individuals and companies. Cerf is also involved in the work of the Global Internet Project (GIP), which organized an earlier pledge drive last fall which raised about $250,000 from large corporations. The other two committees meeting tomorrow are the governmental advisory committee and the DNS root server systems advisory committee. Both are in their nascent phases and these will be their first gatherings. Like the ICANN board meeting, both will also be closed to the public, but the membership committee has invited public observers. A full public meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 3, which will discuss numerous issues, but mainly the formation of the domain name supporting organization – one of the three such organizations planned by ICANN – the accreditation guidelines for the registrars that will become competitors to Network Solutions Inc and the shared registration systems to be used by the first five competitive registrars. Like the previous public meeting on Cambridge, Massachusetts in November 1998, it is likely to be a fairly lively affair, especially as more people now know what ICANN is and it could be argued, more people are becoming annoyed by its methods. Many have called for the board meetings to be open, but the board members have regularly voiced their disapproval at such a move, promising, instead, to disclose the way they each vote on issues.

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