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October 27, 1999

Six More ICANN Board Seats Filled

By CBR Staff Writer

By Nick Patience

The last six seats up for grabs for now in the board of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) have been filled by the other two supporting organizations, which are meant to be the policy drovers for the non-profit body. The enlarged 19-member board will have its first meeting together on November 4, at the end of the series of ICANN meetings next week in Los Angeles. Sometime next summer the nine interim board members are supposed to be replaced by at-large board members selected by an at-large council, together with a professional CEO, making 19 in total. The mechanism for choosing the at-large council is still very much in the embryonic stage.

Much to the consternation of some, only one of the nine seats available in total has gone to a US citizen, albeit a fairly prominent one, Vint Cerf, who was chosen as one of the protocol supporting organization’s three representatives. Cerf, a senior VP at MCI Worldcom Inc, is the co-inventor of TCP/IP. He secured the one-year term. The other two board members chosen by the PSO were Philip Davidson, representing the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), who will serve for two years and Jean-Francois Abramatic from the W3C and is also European, who will serve for one. Six of the eight nominees for the three seats were from Europe.

The PSO’s memorandum of understanding with ICANN says that no more than two of three can be from one geographical region, which is a more lenient requirement than is applied to the domain name supporting organization, who last week chose a Canadian, a Spaniard and a Mexican as its board members. The PSO was formed by members of ETSI, the ITU, IETF and W3C in July 14 and has just eight members – two from each body – who chose the three board members, who are not members of the PSO. However, the ITU nominee, Brian Moore, is also a PSO member.

Nevertheless it should be remembered that the interim president of ICANN, Mike Roberts is American, as is its chairman Esther Dyson, and three other board members, George Conrades, Frank Fitzsimmons and Linda Wilson, making a total of five out of ten of the interim board members, plus Cerf, making six out of 19 in all. And it’s eight if the two Canadians are grouped under ICANN’s North America geographical region status. Other regions probably have more to gripe about, as there is only one board member from Latin America (which includes South America) and none at all from Africa.

The address supporting organization (ASO) also filled its three board seats with members from Canada, Hong Kong and Europe. The ASO members were chosen by a nine-person ASO address council, which were themselves only chosen last week at a meeting of the ASO, where it signed the memorandum of understanding with ICANN to be formally recognized as the supporting organization in this area.

The ASO is tasked with dealing with issues arising from IP address allocation and is staffed by people from the three regional IP registries that distribute blocks of IP addresses to ISPs and large corporations. The ASO-chosen board members were Rob Blokzill, who got the three-year term and represents the European IP registry, RIPE; Pindar Wong, who was elected for two years and represents the Asia-Pacific registry, APNIC; and Ken Fockler, who will serve for one year and represents the registry for the Americas, ARIN.

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