2014-04-27

NETmundial 2014, ICANN Party Time!

Despite all the hype, NETmundial 2014 was a disappointment. The non-binding final text you can find here (pdf). But for ICANN, its insiders, staff, and lobbyists, it was just another expensive junket and excuse to party and waste money: "....The internet organisations, while they claim otherwise, are flush with cash. And ICANN is the plumpest cash cushion of them all, sitting on tens of millions of dollars. While drinking my 23 real beer, I was interrupted by what sounded like a loud and unnecessary PA system in the restaurant below. Sure enough, there was ICANN chairman Steve Crocker bellowing into a microphone. The organisation had bought out so much of the restaurant that it allowed ICANN to install its own sound system so its chairman could be heard over the noise of other people eating and talking to their friends and family. The cost would have been enormous, the value tiny. But when you have millions of dollars... Now there are those who can afford to fly around the world and stay in luxury hotels - and there are internet companies who depend on the status quo. And then there are the others, most of whom end up being funded by the very organisations they are supposed to keep in check. Committee members (lots of committees), fellowships, applicants. They get their flights, hotel rooms and food paid for. Even a daily stipend, payable in cash. But if you're not on the gravy train, well... You can come of course, but expect the bills to mount up. And don't expect special treatment. We don't know you. You could be anyone. When people leave the well-funded, er, internet network, you don't see them. They pop up a year or two later, after they have found a new position within the accepted hierarchy and the bills are covered. You can follow events online of course. Read the transcripts, watch the video. Welcome to the multi-spectator-model...." -- Kieren McCarthy, The Register

Of course if you are on the ICANN gravy train, there's always the next junket to look forward to -- ICANN 50 in London in June!





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