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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 11:16 GMT
Net critics mull breakaway plan
Man with keyboard,
Icann accused of going beyond its remit
Disgruntled net veterans are considering a challenge to the power of the internet's co-ordinating body.

The veterans are thought likely to put in a bid for the contract to run key parts of the net's addressing system which is due for renewal in 2003.

The potential challenge emerged during the meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) currently being held in Shanghai.

Icann is coming under close scrutiny by the US Government and in the past year has faced criticism from some regional net workers for exceeding its powers.

Address request

An organisation called the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) looks after the database holding information about the domain administrators and net locations of individual domains such as .com, .uk or .biz on behalf of Icann.

The contract bestowing the right to run this database is due for renewal at the end of March 2003.

Before now many administrators of domains representing countries have been critical of Icann, saying that it concentrates too much on issues far removed from its remit of looking after the net's addressing system.

Icann is holding a conference in Shanghai debating changes to its bylaws and structure - the end point of a reform process started earlier this year.

Critical voices

The idea of bidding for the IANA contract emerged during the opening sessions of the meeting.

In the past many of those attending the Icann meeting have questioned the need for its existence.

They have said that they would prefer a smaller body that only bothered with the technical aspects of running the net's addressing system rather than with broader social issues.

The US Government, Icann's boss, is also taking a closer interest in the internet body. It now requires it to report every quarter on the work it does and the progress of reform.

See also:

30 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
15 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
08 Aug 02 | Technology
23 Oct 02 | Technology
07 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
30 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
Links to more Technology stories are at the foot of the page.


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