Dyson confirmed for new gTLDs Senate hearing

Kevin Murphy, December 6, 2011, 17:41:35 (UTC), Domain Policy

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has published the witness list for this Thursday’s hearing into ICANN’s new gTLD program.

Esther Dyson, the founding chair of ICANN’s board of directors and now a fierce critic of the organization, may turn out to cause the most fireworks.

While Dyson was pro-expansion a decade ago, voting in favor of .info, .biz and others, she recently came out against the program in a widely syndicated op-ed and at a CADNA conference.

Kurt Pritz, ICANN’s senior vice president of stakeholder relations and regular new gTLDs go-to guy, will return to Capitol Hill to defend the program.

(We’re likely to see some criticism of CEO Rod Beckstrom as a result of his absence, as we did following the House of Representatives hearing earlier this year, I imagine.)

Fiona Alexander of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, ICANN’s governmental overseer, has also been named as a witness.

Predictably, the Association of National Advertisers has a seat on the panel in the form of Dan Jaffe, its vice president of government relations.

The ANA and its newly formed Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight is believed to have brought about the hearing due to its anti-ICANN lobbying activities.

The witness with the wildcard credentials is Angela Williams, general counsel of the Young Men’s Christian Association of the United States of America.

The YMCA does not appear to have spent a great deal of time contributing to ICANN or the new gTLDs program.

It is however a member of ICANN’s new Not-for-Profit Organizations Constituency (NPOC), which is viewed by some (largely other non-commercial stakeholders) as a shill for intellectual property interests.

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Comments (11)

  1. Andrew says:

    Wow, this will be interesting. Dyson speaks her mind.

  2. Rod Beckstrom has been globetrotting around the world (at our expense) promoting the new TLDs program, and meeting *foreign* leaders, e.g. with the Bulgarians:

    http://newgtlds.icann.org/program-status/past-events/reports/new-gtlds-message-storms-bulgaria-07nov11-en

    and Turks:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/icann/sets/72157626758959708/
    http://www.tccb.gov.tr/haberler/170/79868/icann-heyeti-cankaya-koskunde.html

    and Lebanese:

    http://newgtlds.icann.org/program-status/past-events/reports/president-lebanon-icann-meeting-05oct11-en

    and others:

    http://newgtlds.icann.org/program-status/past-events/reports

    yet is not able to testify before the Senate? Beckstrom is like the overpaid athlete who shows up for the photo-ops, but can’t be relied upon when it’s time to come to bat.

  3. Tom G says:

    YMCA.XXX is blocked from registration. Im guessing Ms. Williams will not have good things to say about the program.

    This panel is so blatantly rigged anti gtld. They don’t even include other voices of reason like Steve DelBianco who was at the earlier hearing.

    Obviously not included is any city or organization that plans to apply – what they see as possible merits.

    Hopefully Ms Alexander of the NTIA will offer some context for multistakeholderism, and the global nature of the process.

    She might also point out possible implications of any U.S. Government interference at this point.

    China, Russia, India, Iran, Brazil would all just love to see U.S. Congress step in.

  4. Andrew says:

    “She might also point out possible implications of any U.S. Government interference at this point.”

    But isn’t that the rub? There are lots of governments that don’t want to see the program go forward, at least in its current form.

    • Tom G says:

      Right, and most of those governments have been heavily lobbied by their respective IP interests and/or prefer to govern in a totalitarian manner.

      NTIA stance has been in support of multistakeholder model, claiming the growth and success of the web is largely due to open innovation.

      I don’t think the NTIA will recommend intervention in this hearing.

  5. Drew says:

    anyone else having trouble accessing the senate hearings webcast? guess someone will figure out how to make this work right using .video :-)

  6. Adam says:

    how about a link to the webcast ?

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