There has been some concern that the new agreement between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce will not provide enough accountability. Under the new agreement, called an Affirmation of Commitments, review panels will now monitor ICANN's compliance with the agreement every three years. These review teams will be made up of volunteers, independent experts, and representatives of the ICANN board of directors and the Commerce Department.
The major concern with this proposal is that ICANN's chairman or CEO and the chairman of ICANN's Governmental Affairs Committee will have the final say on the makeup of the review teams. "The review panels are not external to ICANN," says the Internet Governance Project's Brenden Kuerbis. "They're selected by the very people responsible for what ICANN does. They're likely to produce the politics that already exist within ICANN."
ICANN vice president Paul Levins has responded to this concern by assuring critics that the panels will not be made up of ICANN allies. "It's going to be extremely hard [for ICANN] to game the process," he says.
Another criticism of the new agreement is that it was negotiated in secret between ICANN and the Commerce Department, which detractors say does not bode well for the organization's efforts to become more accountable and transparent to the public. Still, other observers offered their support for the agreement, including frequent ICANN critic Steve DelBianco, Go Daddy, the Software and Information Industry Association, and U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).
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