New ICANN board members named

Well, it’s been nearly two months since they were chosen but finally we are allowed to know who the secretive NomCom has chosen to become the three new members of the ICANN Board of Directors:

They are:

  • Roberto Gaetano
  • Steven Goldstein
  • Rajasekhar Ramaraj

I have closely followed the process this time around – nominating myself and then making a big fuss about it – and I have had a few intelligent and reasoned conversations about the whole process. But I remain utterly convinced, I am afraid, that the entire NomCom procedure is ineffective and will rapidly descend into corrupt unless it is tackled immediately.

I’m sorry for all those, who I respect deeply, that have been a part both this year and in past years of the NomCom, but the procedure s flawed and if it isn’t sorted out very rapidly, the system will be rebuilt by those outside the close-knit Internet community – to everyone’s detriment.

I argued, nearly two months ago, that: “The NomCom will chose people who are either part of its clique or people it barely knows. You are either in close enough to have insider knowledge or you are an unknown entity and so there is no baggage. And that means the very people ICANN needs i.e. those with *some* knowledge of ICANN but who aren’t so close that they don’t have fresh perspectives, are the people least likely to be chosen.”

I think this assertion is borne out by the choices made. I have no doubt whatsoever that all of those chosen are more than capable of the task, but Roberto Gaetano is the epitome of someone “close enough to have insider knowledge” and the other two are “unknown entities and so there is no baggage”. In fact, I believe I am right in saying that Steven Goldstein is ex-NSF – really old-school.

All my complaints remain – and are amplified by the fact that there has been no response to them – about the lack of transparency, the self-defeating, self-delusional belief that by being opaque that somehow the NomCom is being cleverly selective, rather than more elitist, in its decisions.

I have had a few conversations with people on the NomCom who were amazed at how inaccurate they felt my previous articles on this matter were. I can only say in response that if I am unable to dig up the reality of the situation (and I know a good many people involved personally) does anyone seriously believe the whole process has become anything but a revolving elite?

The NomCom process has to be reviewed. It is a mess, it is out-of-date, it is, frankly, naive in the extreme considering where we are now with the Internet. And if people inside it aren’t willing to do it themselves, they will find it isn’t long until someone decides to do it for them.

The choices are made. The process has been appalling. And ICANN’s NomCom seems determined to keep hold of the reigns, even when many of the individuals on the committee have learned that the Internet is now much bigger than the smaller social networks that have formed in the past two decades.

It’s now a matter of change or be changed.