IT manager slams Internet elections as "undemocratic"

Paul Mason

A UK IT manager has slammed upcoming Internet elections as a "publicity exercise" by an "inherently undemocratic...

Paul Mason

A UK IT manager has slammed upcoming Internet elections as a "publicity exercise" by an "inherently undemocratic institution".

Mike Roberts, IT manager at Zurich Financial Services, is standing as a member-nominated candidate for the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann). With nominations set to close tomorrow (Friday), Roberts has received just 46 nominations, well short of the 720 needed to get on to the ballot paper.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 registered Internet users in the Euro-zone have backed hacker candidate Andy Mueller-Maghuhn ("Firms shun Internet body", Computer Weekly, 24 August).

Roberts said, "The Internet should be treated as a world resource, and released from the shackles of US control. The Internet has always been a joint effort between the US and Europe. I want to refocus Icann on to the rest of the world, rather than just looking after the interests of US corporations."

He said he was disappointed at the level of interest shown by UK companies and the Government, and many supporters had been "stunned" by the absence of an official UK candidate.

"This election is all about which German will win," Roberts said, adding that Alex Allan, the UK's e-envoy, should have stood for the Icann board.

"On a wider note," Roberts told Computer Weekly, "the whole election process is very dubious indeed with no great likelihood of anyone other than the 'official' Icann candidates getting anywhere - apart from the German hacker candidate. I feel that that this whole process was organised as a publicity exercise to give an impression of democracy to an inherently undemocratic institution."

Icann is the regulatory body that will decide on future top-level domains such as .bank or .union, and participates in dispute-resolution over domain name conflicts. Most of its 18 nominees represent telecom firms or software suppliers.

For the latest on the Icann election.

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