Sunday, 1 April 2012
MARINA DEL REY, California (ZAP) -- In a stunning and unexpected announcement, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the immediate termination of its controversial and much criticized plan for a vast expansion of generic top-level Internet domain names (gTLDs), and has set an aggressive timetable for the dissolution of ICANN itself.
ICANN has been increasingly condemned for what many observers have called erratic and inappropriate decision-making processes, leading to the U.S. Department of Commerce refusing to renew a key ICANN function last month, and ICANN's own outgoing CEO publicly implying that conflicts of interest on the ICANN board of directors have allowed ICANN to be co-opted by moneyed "domainer" speculation interests.
ICANN spokesman Seymour Murdochian discussed his organization's drastic change of course as he snacked on Beluga caviar spread over Wonder Bread, while watching his Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow being washed and detailed in Beverly Hills.
"I realize that there are many serious allegations outstanding against ICANN these days," said Mr. Murdochian. "We're blamed for ignoring the best interests of the global Internet community. We're accused of implementing an extortionist protection racket via an enormous domain name expansion program, that would ultimately suck billions of dollars out of the Internet economy and would only serve to enrich the "domain-industrial complex" operating those domains. People claim that we arrogantly ignore legitimate concerns of trademark holders, are complicit in helping the U.S. government disable domains around the world without due process, waste money on unnecessary global travel to exotic locales, have become totally owned by a "gold rush" mentality via wealthy powers at the top of the DNS food chain, and even that we use overly expensive hand soap in our office restrooms," added Mr. Murdochian.
"I want to be absolutely clear that the ICANN board of directors takes firm and uncompromising exception to such a characterization. Our hand soap is not outrageously expensive, and given the amount of hand washing we do around here, having quality soap available is a necessity, not a luxury," Murdochian noted.
Murdochian then explained ICANN's recent change of heart. "After extensive discussions internally, with our travel agents, and with our personal portfolio managers, we've decided that the time is ripe for us to bow out of formal Internet affairs. We want to make way for the creation of new Internet governance models that can be purpose-built to better serve the entire Internet community around the world, will reduce the risk of Internet fragmentation that has been rising as domestic governments increasingly threaten not to play along with our current schemes, and will help reduce the risk of a potentially disastrous Internet takeover by politically-encumbered organizations such as the United Nations or International Telecommunication Union."
"Therefore, we've announced that effective immediately, all ICANN activities related to new Internet top-level domains are permanently ended. We will be refunding all associated fees already paid by applicants, and as a token of our appreciation for past support will be including with each refund an approximately 1.5 carat, 'H' color, 'SI' quality diamond from our vaults."
"We have filed appropriate notifications with the Department of Commerce and foreign governments expressing our intention to cease all ICANN operations no later than a year from now on 1 April 2013."
"I'll be reachable for additional comments at my summer home on the Riviera if there are any other questions," said Mr. Murdochian, just before his chauffeur whisked him away.
Asked about these unexpected, dramatic developments, Lauren Weinstein, a long-time Internet technologist and vocal critic of ICANN's domain name plans, said that, "It's indeed encouraging to see ICANN finally doing what's really right for the entire global Internet community, and abandoning their plans to fleece the Internet at large for the benefit of domain speculators and associated opportunists. A new alternative to ICANN and to existing organizations like the ITU and UN is definitely the way that we need to proceed to make the Internet better for everyone around the world. It's a shame though that this process has taken so long, and that this entire article is only an April Fools' Day posting."
ZAP/NYC 20120401 0916
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