Friday, 20 July 2018 11:16

auDA dissenter claims membership now mostly from abroad Featured

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A member of auDA, the Australian organisation that administers the .au namespace, claims that the membership of the organisation is now dominated by foreigners after 900 employees of several registrars were signed up.

Jim Stewart, the chief executive of digital marketing company StewArt Media, and one of those who has signed a letter calling for a special general meeting of auDA, said in a statement that the organisation had claimed that the membership drive had been undertaken in response to a Federal Government review that recommended it diversify its membership base.

An auDA spokesperson said of the statistics provided by Stewart: "It would appear that this is an attempt at some sort of racial profiling based on a person’s name. It has no validity whatsoever."

The government review, made public in April, found that auDA's current management framework was no longer fit for purpose.

Stewart is leading the push for a vote of no-confidence in chief executive Cameron Boardman and the sacking of directors Chris Leptos, Sandra Hook and Suzanne Ewart. Leptos is the current chairman of the board.

Stewart claimed that only 40% of the members were now from Australia, while 30% were based in the Philippines, 15% from Canada, 7% from the US, 4% from Ukraine, 2% from Singapore and the balance from a number of other countries.

"These employees have not had to pay for their memberships nor have they had to undergo a manual verification process of their details or be interviewed to confirm their eligibility to become member like local domain name holders have to be," Stewart claimed.

Asked by iTWire as to how he had determined the geographic location of these members, Stewart said it had been done by using common Web searches on social media, sites like LinkedIn and similar outlets.

But he said he would be able to confirm his findings once he, and other auDA dissenters, obtained a full list of members from the board, something they had asked for, which costs $250, and contains addresses of all members.

However the auDA spokesperson said the list of members did not disclose a person's country of origin or other details.

"Therefore, it is impossible to draw any conclusions as to the make-up of the membership based on the list," the spokesperson added. "Further, auDA will not comment on any individual membership application.”

The special general meeting is scheduled for 27 July and the dissenters are trying to raise funds to hire legal talent in the event that it is needed.

Their first motion, against Boardman, will not be allowed to proceed, but the move to oust Leptos, Hook and Ewart will be voted on.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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