Last week in Shanghai, Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the agency responsible for administering the Internet, conducted the most important meeting in its brief history. Following months of debate on institutional reform, the ICANN board approved the elimination of board positions reserved for the general public, shelved plans for Internet user participation through on-line elections and removed most of the mechanisms that hold ICANN accountable.
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In the age of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, it would be almost unthinkable to try to impede board disclosure and transparency. Almost. Last week, a court case involving the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the Internet administrative agency — and Karl Auerbach, one of its most vocal directors, revealed that ICANN attempted to do just that when it established an unreasonable policy that placed conditions on board-of-director access to its own corporate records.