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Resistance is NOT futile: An open letter to ICANN

"I could go on but what's the use
You can't fight them with songs
But think of this as just
another tiny blow against the empire"

—Joe Jackson, "Evil Empire," from the album Blaze of Glory*

(July 30, 2000)

This is the email I sent to ICANN after being roused from apathy by their undemocratic steamrolling of requirements for public participation in the development of the Internet. You should read that before reading this. You don't have to but it'll probably make more sense if you do.

Subject: failure to allow voter registration is unacceptable
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 02:03:37 -0700
From: dan becker <>

Hello - I have recently learned (through Brian Livingston's article in July 17, 2000 Infoworld) about ICANN's latest shenanigans of trying to reduce the number of publicly elected "at large" board members to below the num ber that can have any practical restraint on the corporate represenative board members. As I read more from other sources about ICANN, I decided it was important to register as an ICANN voter.

Ever since I read the article the day of its release, I have attempted to register to vote for the election, but I always been rejected. I have tried to connect several dozen times over a wide period of time by a server which claims it is "too busy" to handle accounts. It is now within 24 hours of the deadline and it seems I will be unable to register at all.

I do not know if this is malice, incompetence, or a simple feeling that it really is not that important if some people are not able to register. I want to let you know that it IS important. This is not an "oh, well, too bad" situation. This is a "we are not doing our job correctly and not executing our charter's obligations" situation. And it will not do, not at all.

Since we are still months from the election, I request that ICANN extend the registration period in order to accept the many members of the Internet public who are interested in playing a role. ICANN should also upgrade its system to allow people to actually register during the stated registration period.

I see ICANN's lack of response to the current registration problems as akin to the tactics used during the Jim Crow era to prevent African Americans from exercising their guaranteed rights by imposing hurdles in the way of voter registration.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that ICANN is depriving me or anyone of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, as Jim Crow laws & policies certainly did. I *am* saying that ICANN's behavior is completely out of line with democractic principles, as well as its charter, and this is unacceptable.

If a government tried this sort of nonsense with a political election, democracies around the world would condemn it. ICANN has been contracted by the US government to administer the domain name system, and it should really try to surpass the democratic standards of, say, Fujimori's Peru or the Taliban's Afghanistan.

The current status of public representation and participation in ICANN is a shameful joke. I am putting you on notice that this member of the Internet public does NOT accept being shut out of the process like this. ICANN has an obligation to have public participation. The Internet does NOT exist solely to make money for e-commerce businesses.

-Dan Becker

*For more on Joe Jackson, take a look at his website covering his current projects, or the Joe Jackson Archive covering his entire career.

That's it. What do you think? Let me know; send me email at! - online since April 1999
This page posted July 30, 2000

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