Critic Elected To Internet Board

Tea bar and tea pot
A frequent critic of existing Internet policies was elected Tuesday to an international organization that will rewrite the rules for finding Web sites.

Karl Auerbach defeated six other candidates to become North America's representative to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Auerbach and winners for the four other regions could play a role in the selection of new domain name suffixes later this year, the first major additions since the 1980s.

The new members to ICANN's board, elected to two-year terms, will also help determine rules on hoarding domain names and managing the 13 root servers that function as maps for the Internet.

ICANN, chosen by the U.S. government in 1998 to take over Internet addressing policies, has tremendous influence over the future use and growth of the Net.

How the nonprofit organization selects new domain names, for instance, could affect how Internet users reach certain types of Web sites, such as those designed for children or for labor unions.

The Internet-based elections could help ICANN address criticisms that it is too secretive and unaccountable to the general online population.

Auerbach, of Santa Cruz, Calif., an Internet user since 1974 and a researcher at Cisco Systems Inc., considers himself "the voice of concerned individuals" and wants to challenge what he considers ICANN's current pro-business bias.

Voting began on Oct. 1 and took place entirely online. More than 34,000 Internet users participated. Voting was open to anyone 16 and older who has an e-mail and postal address. The deadline for voter registration was July 31.

About 2,800 initially had trouble voting because of a programming glitch. Joe Mohen, chief executive at voting vendor, said all but 130 of them returned to vote successfully.

The other winners are:

For Latin America/Caribbean, Ivan Moura Campos, Brazil, the chief executive of Akwan Information Technologies.

For Europe, Andy Mueller-Maguhn, Germany, a self-employed Internet user of 28 years.

For Asia/Pacific, Masanobu Katoh, Japan, an employee of Fujitsu Ltd.

For Africa, Nii Quaynor, Ghana, an employee of Network Computer Systems and administrator for .gh domain names in Ghana.

Voting took place by continent to limit the influence of the United States, which has a disproportionate share of Internet users.

Turnout, however, was lowest in North America, where less than a third of registered voters actually voted. Europe had 48 percent turnout, followed by 46 percent for Asia/Pacific.

All five winners will join ICANN's 19-member board Nov. 16, the final day of its annual meeting in Marina del Rey, Calif. They will replace five of the nine appointees who represent the Internet's general membership.

The selection of new domain names had been scheduled for Nov. 20, but will likely be delayed because ICANN received more proposals that anticipated. That delay could give the newcomers more time to influene the outcome.

©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed