This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.
M E D I A   U N S P U N
ICANN Makes Auerbach Red
2002-03-19

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers seems to be unraveling faster than Enron. Nobody has lost a nest egg to ICANN, but that's about the only good news the organization has offered lately. The latest occasion for critical stories in the press is the lawsuit filed against ICANN by one of its elected directors, Karl Auerbach, seeking to gain access to the nonprofit's records.

Auerbach claims that ICANN management has stonewalled him for 18 months, preventing him from carrying out his responsibilities as a director, in violation of California law. Auerbach, his lawyer and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which is backing the lawsuit) were all highly available to reporters. No scribe we read got so much as a "no comment" out of ICANN.

Most outlets offered bare-bones coverage based on Auerbach's press release, with perhaps an additional quote from him. The Register structured its story around an Auerbach interview. Salon ran a longer interview and included a photo of the man. Here's Auerbach on the ICANN CEO's proposal for a tenfold budget increase to be paid for by national governments: "As far as finances go, the thing is just naive."

Wired took a broader look at ICANN's troubles, which include calls for a congressional investigation. Wired's reporter interviewed former ICANN board chairman Esther Dyson and its other outspoken, popularly elected director, Germany's Andy Mueller-Maguhn, for perspective on ICANN's meeting last week in Ghana. The directors voted to study the CEO's radical reorganization plan, and also decided to shelve any future direct election of directors.

All this ferment has prompted People for Internet Responsibility, an organization founded by Internet old-timers, to call for ICANN's business to be taken over by a temporary custodian -- who, it almost doesn't matter. Maybe Karl Auerbach or Andy Mueller-Maguhn? - Keith Dawson

Board member sues ICANN
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/24467.html

Tilting at ICANN
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/03/19/auerbach/print.html

ICANN Director Sues ICANN Over Financial Records
http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/175271.html

Director Sues ICANN
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,,3_993771,00.html

Internet body director sues to see records (Reuters)
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/tech/news/1300033

Board member accuses ICANN (AP)
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/business/2890476.htm

ICANN Surveys Its Crossroads
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,51109,00.html

Overcoming ICANN: Forging Better Paths for the Internet
http://www.pfir.org/statements/icann

Auerbach v. ICANN - The Lawsuit
http://www.icannwatch.com/article.php?sid=621&mode=thread&order=0