ICANN approves framework for greater public input

After coming under heavy criticism in the past for not giving individual users enough voice in how it runs the Internet, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) wrapped up its meeting in Montreal last week having put in place a framework for organizing participation from the user community.

ICANN's board of directors approved a framework for the formation of local, regional and global groups, in what the organization said is a step toward more involvement from the user community in decisions affecting how the Internet is run.

ICANN is the nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the Internet's domain names and addresses as well as other policy issues related to the Net's technical functions. However, the group, based in Marina del Rey, California, has come under fire almost since its inception for being overly bureaucratic and ineffective.

ICANN's former President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stuart Lynn, who retired from his post earlier this year, launched a reform initiative for the organization last year meant to address some concerns about the group, yet Lynn's own initial proposal for reform limited public representation on the group's board.

Under new President and CEO Paul Twomey, ICANN has moved ahead in setting a framework for user group participation.

"These groups will ensure that the voice of different sectors of the Internet community will be more distinctly heard and that their representation will be effectively taken into account when ICANN takes action on issues of interest to the user community," Twomey said in a statement released Thursday.

The issues include privacy in the Whois database, and the introduction of new domain names and internationalized domain names, ICANN said.

Also at the Montreal meeting the group reached an agreement to improve communication with country code top-level domain registries, creating the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO).

The group is a forum whereby top-level domain administrators can come together to address issues affecting them, ICANN said.

More information about ICANN and it's discussions at the Montreal meeting can be found on the organization's Web site at http://www.icann.org.

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