I'm sat in the main ballroom during the public comment meeting with ICANN, and travel journalist Edward Hasbrouck has just made a very solid and interesting intervention.
Mr Hasbrouck is a relentless investigative journalist – as ICANN staff have found out – and has been very carefully following the process surrounding the new .travel domain.
He has raised some very interesting questions over the process – most, it must be said, over why ICANN will not give him any information. The .travel domain was approved despite an evaluator report that raised doubts. Almost as soon as it was awarded, the domain was then sold on to a different company. I believe I'm right in saying that Mr Hasbrouck has already foreseen this dodgy deal but was ignored.
But most significantly, he then formally used ICANN's bylaws to ask for an independent review of the process for .travel specifically asking whether the process fitting in with ICANN transparency bylaws.
That was eight months ago and Mr Hasbrouck has been given the runaround by ICANN staff in the hope that he will get the message and go away.
The one thing that every company and every company executive should know is that blocking and delaying an investigative journalist will only serve to make them more determined. That very fact creates, to my mind, some of the most honourable individual action that exists anywhere in our society – dogged pursuit of organisations when someone senses something isn't right.
Mr Hasbrouck's coherence should trouble the ICANN Board enormously. Especially since the more they get in his way, the more this is going to become a story in itself.
The whole issue is boiling down to one issue: will ICANN allow itself to be independently reviewed?
If it is not careful this small issue of .travel and its possible problems is going to become very, very much bigger.
No comments yet.