The Internet Society (ISOCNZ) has come under fire from IT sector groups concerned that in-fighting and politicking could interfere with the running of the .nz internet domain.
The Information Technology Association (ITANZ), the Computer Society and the Telecommunications Users Association (TAUNZ) have all expressed concern at ISOCNZ's ongoing internal ructions. They spoke on the eve of a special general meeting of the society called to discuss fallout from a defamation action brought by the former head of Domainz, the ISOCNZ-owned company that manages the .nz domain.
"It is of concern to ITANZ and ITANZ members that shenanigans in ISOCNZ could affect Domainz and its ability to run the namespace effectively," says ITANZ executive director Jim O'Neill. He says the level of politicking going on at ISOCNZ is "tedious and boring" and it leaves him "cold".
"There is that danger that Domainz could be affected and I know they're working to put Domainz on a more certain footing right now, but that most certainly is of concern."
Computer Society president Gillian Reid shares O'Neill's fears.
"ISOCNZ began as an interest group and it's just mushroomed as the internet itself has mushroomed," says Reid. "Now, however, events have overtaken the society and it can no longer carry on the way it has been."
Reid says the Computer Society has managed to avoid many of the problems and political in-fighting that seems to be daily life in ISOCNZ by having a code of ethics that is firmly adhered to and by being a society of professionals rather than one that is open a general membership.
"Unfortunately it may be too late for ISOCNZ. Attempts have been made to make it more business-like but they are still having to deal with people who perhaps don't want to move in that direction." She says the Computer Society does not approve of the "level of abuse" that ISOCNZ tolerates and that members of ISOCNZ "don't seem to understand the power of the written word and seem to act as if they're simply having a conversation. It's not that simple."
Reid says Domainz has managed to escape most of the current round of political ructions and is maintaining a professional approach to its business.
TUANZ head Ernie Newman says he has "alarm bells ringing in my mind on behalf of users of the internet at the amount of byplay going on at ISOCNZ". Newman says TUANZ has been watching ISOCNZ for some time and hopes the faction fighting won't spill over and affect business users of the internet.
Telecommunications Minister Paul Swain is reluctant to step into ISOCNZ matters and his press secretary, Kerry Lamont, says he may not even have the authority to get involved. Whether the soon-to-be-appointed telecommunications commissioner will have the authority is also unclear.