ICANN names general counsel

The nonprofit group charged by the US government with overseeing the technical administration of the Internet has appointed its first general counsel, who immediately promised to waive his first year's salary in the spirit of public service.

The nonprofit group charged by the US government with overseeing the technical administration of the Internet has appointed its first general counsel, who immediately promised to waive his first year's salary in the spirit of public service.

The interim board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers appointed Louis Touton, a partner in the high-powered national law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, during a teleconference Monday. Touton has been an outside legal counsel for ICANN since its creation last year.

ICANN was formed in 1998 to assume management of the Internet domain name system, currently administered by Network Solutions Inc., and of other technical functions. The cash-strapped organisation has been criticised in the past for operating secretly as it begins to assume administrative control of the Internet.

"I firmly believe that the ICANN cause is a good one and deserves the volunteer spirit it has so broadly evoked," said Touton in a letter to ICANN's interim president, Mike Roberts.

In related news, the Domain Name Supporting Organisation, one of three ICANN supporting groups, announced the election of Jonathan Cohen, a Canadian intellectual property lawyer, to ICANN's permanent board. Cohen joins Alejandro Pisanty, a Mexican academician, and Amadeu Abril i Abril, a Spanish attorney, both elected by the DNSO last week, as the first three members of ICANN's 18-seat board.

Touton will assume his new post on Nov. 1, at ICANN's annual meeting in Los Angeles. Among the issues on the agenda is the approval of a deal struck last month among ICANN, the Department of Commerce and Network Solutions Inc. regarding management of the lucrative domain name registration system. Under the terms of the deal, NSI would recognize ICANN and agree to sell its master list of Internet domain names, which NSI still controls under its expired government contract.

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