Monday, 20 August 2018 11:39

auDA member files FoI request over alleged membership irregularities

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A member of auDA, the organisation that looks after the Australian domain namespace, has lodged a freedom of information request with the Department of Communications and the Arts over what he claims are membership irregularities, where individuals who were Supply-related were granted Demand Class membership.

Scott Long said in his application that the purpose of his request was "to ascertain whether the approval of 955 Supply Related applicants for Demand Class membership were conducted in accordance with the Company Constitution, and the Corporations Act 2001; and auDA’s established Membership Policy (vetting of members)".

As per auDA's definitions, Demand class membership is meant "for domain name holders (registrants), internet users and the general public".

Supply class membership is for "domain name industry participants (registry operators, registrars and resellers)".

Long cited the fact that auDA had attracted a record 955 members in June and wrote: "In light of this recent decision, if the directors are motivated by a desire to relegate a majority interest into a minority power by stacking the Demand Class Side via Supply Side employees it will be held to be an improper power."

Citing past minutes, he said that the board practice "of publishing the names of each member approved by the Board ceased at the announcement of 955 new members. The practice of publishing the names of each new member in the minutes permitted the public to see that the new members were indeed, approved by the Directors of the Board".

He asked the DoCA to "please provide me with the transaction and interaction record involving the approval of membership applications by the Directors of auDA referred to in the Minutes dated June 18th 2018".

Asked for the organisation's response, an auDA spokesperson said the FoI request was "a sideshow to reform of the auDA".

The spokesperson said that after the special general meeting held on 27 July, Long had been sent a letter from auDA's lawyers, Ashurst, explaining his concerns over membership.

"As the letter points out, all of the eligibility requirements for the new members were met according to auDA’s constitutional responsibilities," the spokesperson said.

Long’s concerns had already been answered in detail by Ashurst, the spokesperson said, adding, "This request has no validity or purpose other than to derail the reform process."

auDA has just gone through a bruising process over the past few months, with some members seeking to throw out three directors. Their bid failed at the SGM held on 27 July.

In June, one member, Jim Stewart, the chief executive of StewArt Media, called for a motion of no-confidence in chief executive Cameron Boardman and the sacking of directors Chris Leptos (the chair), Suzanne Ewart and Sandra Hook.

The board is in the process of attempting to meet the demands of a Federal Government review issued in April that found its management framework was no longer fit for purpose. A new framework has been proposed and has to be put in place by April 2020, as per the government's demands.

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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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