ICANN board member Karl Auerbach has won the right to inspect ICANN's books.
In any other corporation, a director encumbered with duties to his shareholders wouldn't have to go to court to inspect his company's accounts. But it's a mark of ICANN's secrecy that Karl Auerbach - who has the same responsibilities even though ICANN is a non-profit - has had to go to court to win the right to see, amongst other things, the General Ledger.
Auerbach has won access to non-confidential documents to which he was previously denied, and can view but not copy the confidential material. Nevertheless, he's not bound by an NDA, and it's up to ICANN to seek an injunction against him using this material, according to Brett Fausett who blogged the hearing.
The Judge was dismayed that ICANN procrastinated for so long. Auerbach first made his request in December 2000, having run on a platform of greater access, as he told us back here. In a typically Kafkaesque gesture, ICANN spent ten months last year simply drawing up "a procedure for reviewing documents".
However, Josef K Auerbach has prevailed. The Judge told the Court: "As a non-profit, public benefit corporation, you have a duty to the public -- the international public in this case -- that is very different than Microsoft or IBM. This is a public benefit corporation,", reports icann.Blog.
Auerbach's two-year term as director ends in November, and having abolished public elections, there's little of him being succeeded by a director with the same curiosity. This case is funded by John Gilmore, and he's represented by EFF's Cindy Cohn.
Last week Esther Dyson echoed Yogi Berra when she told Salon.com that Auerbach "unfortunately has some good proposals and it's counterproductive how he goes around trying to achieve that."®