The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has appointed the chairman of its government advisory committee (GAC), which will advise the ICANN board on a wide range of government matters. Dr Paul Twomey was selected by the nine- member interim ICANN board led by chairman Esther Dyson and president Mike Roberts. Twomey will be responsible for selecting the other members of the GAC, which will be pulled from national governments, multination governmental organizations and treaty organizations, each of which will appoint one representative. Twomey has a lot of experience at government level in Australia and is currently CEO of Australia National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) and he is also the government special advisor on all information technology issues. Prior to that he worked in senior positions at the Australian trade commission, including a spell in Europe and has worked for consultants McKinsey & Co in Australia, US, Japan and Hong Kong. Twomey’s appointment concerned some, however. In particular, Australia has been one of the most vocal governments pushing for more control over how its national top-level domain is administered, which would dilute some of ICANN’s power. Sources close to one national registry worry that this would lead to a fragmentation of ICANN’s authority and may result in some less democratic governments being able to funnel revenues from domain name registries into non-internet sources, which goes against the de facto rules that national registries have adhered to up until now. There’s no word yet on how many GAC members there will be or which governments will be able to appoint them. It’s another likely flashpoint and will be debated further at the next ICANN board meeting, which is in Singapore on March 2-3. á
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