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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Reforming the running of the net
The village museum Bucharest, BBC
Bucharest has been hosting the key net meeting
Rank and file web users will no longer have a say on the best way to run the organisation that oversees the running of the net.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is holding a key meeting in Bucharest, Romania, this week to debate how to make the organisation more effective.

The plan attendees voted unanimously to accept strips the organisation's board of ordinary web users.

However, the new Icann will have on its board representatives of other net organisations that have previously been highly critical of the way the net body is run.

Diving board

In February, Stuart Lynn, the Icann president, issued a document saying that the organisation needed to change radically if it was to have a chance of fulfilling its mission.

Mr Lynn's proposal called for the greater involvement of governments and the ending of the Icann At-Large membership which was drawn from, and elected by, ordinary web users.

Icann set up an Evolution and Reform committee that used Mr Lynn's proposal, and many more from other organisations, to come up with a workable plan for the future of the net body.

The basic blueprint issued by the committee was unanimously accepted at the Icann meeting in Bucharest.

The plan means that Icann's board will change to have greater representation from registries that look after national domains such as ".uk" and ".fr".

American influence

In the past these organisations have complained that Icann does not represent their views well enough and has voiced trenchant criticism of many of Icann's decisions.

The committee plan keeps the recommendation to drop the At-Large membership, although Icann will investigate a suggestion to give some ordinary members a say, albeit in a reduced form.

The need to find a new workable structure for Icann was given greater importance by reports that some American politicians were calling for the net body to be taken back under the control of the US Government.

Icann was created in 1998 to oversee the gradual migration of net oversight powers from the US Government to a group much more representative of the wider web.

However, Icann has frequently been criticised for its reluctance to throw off US dominance and give net organisations and ordinary users a say in how the net should develop.

See also:

05 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
30 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
20 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
26 Feb 02 | Science/Nature
15 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
25 Jan 01 | Science/Nature
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