ICANN Needs Revolving Door Ethics Rules: US Senator
Posted in: Domain Names at 16/09/2011 22:04
ICANN should have "revolving door" ethics rules for its leadership US Senator Ron Wyden said this week in a letter to the Commerce Department.
The issue has come to light following the departure of former ICANN Chair Peter Dengate Thrush who, within a month of being involved in the final approval of application process for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) went to work for a London company called Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd that intends to assist applicants in applying for new gTLDs and apply for new gTLDs themselves.
According to a statement from the Democratic Senator, he has raised concerns about the potential for bias and unfair favouritism stemming from a revolving door between internet regulators and the multi-million dollar domain name industry they formerly regulated.
In the letter Wyden highlighted the need for ethics and transparency rules -- similar to that of Federal officials -- to be included in any contract with future domain name authorities known as an Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The contract with ICANN is set to expire on 30 September.
"As you know, any designated IANA is hugely important in regulating the multi-million dollar domain name industry," Wyden said in the letter. "At the same time, because the IANA is not a branch of the federal government, its executive leadership is not subject to the same financial disclosure, ethics, or conflict of interest rules as executive leadership at federal agencies or in Congress."
"While I support the control of this system by NTIA, I also believe that any IANA employees ought to be made subject to the same ethics rules in place as NTIA employees. With the growth in importance of this authority, it is important to ensure that decisions are made impartially," Wyden continued in the letter.