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03 Dec 2005
For the first time in the ALAC's history, it had a short joint meeting with the ICANN board of directors. The meeting was open, and Bret Fausett has a podcast of the meeting available. We spent most of the hour discussing the contentious Verisign settlement proposal, and the statement that the ALAC made, commenting on the proposal.
The good news is that the board tried hard to give the impression that they were paying attention to our comments. Vint Cerf took notes, and they asked questions. They also told us some interesting things about the settlement process that hadn't previously come to light.
In response to our suggestion that they needed economic analysis of whether .COM is a monopoly, Paul Twomey told us that they'd been talking to their contacts at the US Commerce Department, who had referred the price question to the Justice Department, who in turn set a flock of analysts to work on it, and said the 7% annual increase was OK. I take that to mean that DOJ said that if they kept the increases under 7%, they wouldn't get into anti-trust trouble. Somehow that got spun into 7% increases as being OK for everyone. Bret commented that there's no reason to give Verisign one cent of increase if it's monopoly rent rather than cost recovery, and we have no way to tell.
We asked how we could get a copy of the government's comments, a request that seemed to surprise the board members. "You probably can't." We think a Freedom of Information Act request may be in the offing.
I asked them to give us a schedule for comments and votes, and set a date of perhaps April 1 to get in comments. Vint said no, they wanted to see what comments they got before setting a schedule for them. Huh? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they show so little understanding of what the purpose of a process is, but it's consistently dismaying.
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