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ICANN has $60m burning a hole in its pocket – and it needs your help blowing it all

Brewster's Millions meets the world of internet plumbing

Surprise, surprise ... an internet power grab

The second noteworthy element in the paper is the fact that of the 20 or so suggested uses for the $60m auction fund, only one does not name the person who proposed it and where and when they proposed it. That suggestion also has the most detail given to it.

The suggestion is: "Promote internet development globally by placing money in a trust (possibly overseen by NetMundial Initiative) for internet development efforts." It goes on to provide the details of other funds run by other internet registries.

The NetMundial Initiative was the brainchild of ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade and has been highly controversial from the moment of launch when ICANN and the two co-organizers awarded themselves "permanent seats" on the initiative's council. The council more or less came across as a UN Security Council for the internet – a power grab from the US by Brazil and other countries pissed off by the NSA and GCHQ in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

Despite having received explicit rejections from the Internet Society, Internet Architecture Board, Internet Governance Forum, International Chamber of Commerce, and parts of civil society, among others, Chehade pushed ahead with the creation of NetMundial.

Its inaugural council meeting was cancelled not once but twice, and both of the NetMundial Initiative's two efforts to build support for its plan were marked by strong criticism and apathy on the part of the broader internet community.

However, it now seems that what many suspected was going on behind the scenes is true: ICANN is attempting to funnel the auction proceeds from new gTLDs to the unpopular NetMundial Initiative, whose sole goal appears to be to place ICANN at the heart of internet governance discussions.

If you want to let ICANN know how you feel it should spend the $60m, the public comment period is open now until 18 October. The email address to send your thoughts to is: ®

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