Confusion, fear and growing pains: ICANN bigwig spells out gTLD headaches

Akram Atallah tells NamesCon everything is fine. And terrible.

Accountability? We've heard of it

One of the biggest issues with ICANN that has again raised its head with the planned transition of the critical IANA contract to the company, possibly on a permanent basis, is the organization's accountability.

Despite five reviews in seven years, people are still not happy with how ICANN makes its decisions. Atallah both accepted and dismissed claims that much more has to be done. "We can always be more accountable," he noted. "ICANN is pretty accountable already but there can be improvements – and ICANN has been making those improvements. More accountability is a good thing, but being more accountable than anything else on Earth is a tall order."

As for the IANA transition itself – something that some US politicians and most recently the Washington Post have called to be delayed – that is a misunderstanding. "There is a lot of confusion over the IANA transition, a lot of fear, and some sensational statements that are more about bringing attention than having material value," he said.

And the recent hack into its systems, as well as an extensive report by Verisign in ICANN's technical failings, Atallah noted that the critical IANA systems that ICANN runs were not affected by the compromise of its staff email, and dismissed the other problems as "growing pains."

"Every company in the world is moving more information online and we have growing pains like any other company, but we are more in the public eye. It's important to keeps things in perspective," he said.

His organization is looking at moving a lot of the data it has gathered during the new gTLD process offline. "The more data we have, the more of a target we become," he said.

On the plus side ... just kidding, there were no plus sides. ®

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