Icann boss: 'We're not undemocratic'

End of public elections not anti-democratic, night does not follow day...

End of public elections not anti-democratic, night does not follow day...

Icann's chief has hit back at claims the internet naming body is disenfranchising the public by stopping its online elections for board members. Following a committee meeting last Friday, the organisation, which is responsible for maintaining the internet domain name system, came under fire from those concerned the public's opinion will not be fairly represented. But Stuart Lynn, the organisation's president and CEO, explained the dual threat of fraud and vote-rigging has forced the organisation to stop online elections. Lynn told silicon.com: "Icann is not an experiment in online democracy." He denied it is excluding the public and added: "We want to find a new way to bring online users into the fold. We want to get more people involved - consumer groups and individuals." Lynn claims high-profile discussions of Icann's activities have focused on processes, masking the issues that are central to the organisation. He accused critics of becoming 'enmeshed' in the process of policy rather than showing concern for the real issues at stake. He added that the development of a secure and reliable online voting system is the remit of government and not his organisation. Lynn also claims the number of online voters is far too small to be significant. He added that issues of security, authentication and capture (i.e. vote-rigging) are so overwhelming that the organisation had no choice but to stop the online vote. But Icann does hold its hands up to critics claiming it needs to be more efficient and transparent. It has, in the past, been criticised for its lack of transparency and for being US-centric. But Lynn, who is set to retire next March, defended his work to date. He said: "Icann has so far succeeded magnificently. But it has to be seen to be being an effective and stable organisation."