TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT ICANN’S AUTHORITY

For Immediate Release    Contact:  Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
June 18, 1999 (202) 467-5300

 

In a letter to Capitol Hill, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urges Congress to examine the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), America's largest taxpayer watchdog group, today urged Congress to use its oversight authority to examine the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  This amorphous, not-for-profit entity was created by the Commerce Department to transition the Internet into the private sector.

“ICANN’s recent activities are beginning to raise a few eyebrows,” CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz noted in his letter to members of the House Commerce Committee.  “The nine-member board has already shown disturbing signs of secrecy, extravagance, lack of accountability, and a proclivity for top-down decision-making.”

Schatz describes ICANN as “a rather shadowy regulatory entity with dubious legal authority.”  Since its creation less than a year ago, ICANN has become something of a loose cannon, with little input from members of Congress.  In fact, even the process for appointing members to its interim board remains a mystery.

“There are simply too many unanswered questions about the nature of ICANN’s authority,” remarked Schatz.  “Where does ICANN come by a tax on future Internet registrants?  And who will exercise oversight over its extravagant budget?”

One glaring example of ICANN’s arrogant behavior occurred just recently, at a meeting of the organization’s interim board.  ICANN’s board not only closed significant policy meetings to the public, but denied access to several ICANN members as well.

In concluding his letter, Schatz urged Congress to convene hearings on ICANN’s activities “before this process gets too much further along and irreversible Internet policy decisions are made.  Every American has a stake in the future of the Internet.”

CCAGW is a 600,000 member lobbying organization dedicated to enacting legislation to eliminate waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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