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Open Letter to ICANN Board: Answers Needed as Objections Mount

Via Email, Post, and Fax
To: Board of Directors, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

We are confident you are aware of the rising opposition to ICANN’s plan to open the DNS to an unlimited number of new gTLDs. The purpose of this letter is to provide the full ICANN Board with the objections and open questions being raised by those speaking out and to respectfully suggest that as a Board, you should reverse or, at the very least, substantially delay accepting any applications until the collective concerns voiced repeatedly by the growing number of constituencies that ICANN is required to protect are all resolved.

To date, representatives of many key constituencies have raised serious objections to ICANN’s planned expansion of the DNS. The documents can be found here. These include:

In addition, questions have been raised regarding potential conflicts of interest that now place a cloud over the independence of the Board’s decision to expand the DNS — see the letter from United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the letter from NTIA to Sen. Wyden, the excerpt from the United States Department of Commerce Request for Proposals on the IANA Contract, the European Commission paper entitled “EC paper on ICANN: Corporate governance”, and the European Commission report entitled, “Digital Agenda: Commission welcomes improvements in new IANA contract”.

There remain many unanswered questions and unfulfilled requests. Spokespersons for ICANN have failed to answer questions directly and instead continuously justify proceeding with the expansion based upon a process that has proven to be flawed. We now ask that the Board answer these questions. Given the time constraints, we request that the Board not refer this request to ICANN for handling. The issues involved are far too important to allow for any further delays. We look forward to your written response, either individually or collectively, by January 7, 2012. Please address your responses to Robert Liodice, Association of National Advertisers, 708 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017; email: bob.liodice.ceo@ana.net.

The only conclusion one can draw from this rising tide of global objections is that the Board (on which we understand that a number of members are compensated for serving), has not properly taken into account the concerns of key constituencies and thereby did not reach its decision through consensus. Moreover, the Board’s June vote failed to satisfy key obligations prior to authorizing implementation of the program; specifically, that its decisions

  1. are made in the public interest and are accountable and transparent,
  2. preserve the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS,
  3. promote competition, consumer trust and consumer choice in the DNS marketplace,
  4. address malicious abuse issues, sovereignty concerns, and rights protection, and
  5. comport with ICANN’s obligations under the Affirmation of Commitments.

All of the above mandates that the Board reconsider its decision and not move forward with any expansion of the DNS until a full review and analysis of the merits of any expansion is undertaken and resolved.

Respectfully Submitted,
The Association of National Advertisers


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