Wednesday, 18 April 2018 06:14

Govt review to tell auDA to shape up or ship out Featured

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A federal government review into the au Domain Administration, the organisation administering the Australian domain namespace, has found that auDA will need to undertake significant changes if it wishes to continue in its role.

A Fairfax Media report said the review, the results of which are to be released today, had found that auDA's membership model and lack of checks and balances had prevented proper decision making, rendering it unable to operate properly.

Dissension in the ranks of auDA, the body that administers the Australian domain namespace, came to public light earlier this month when one member, Jim Stewart the chief executive of StewArt Media, led a call for the ouster of auDA chief executive Boardman, chair Chris Leptos and directors Sandra Hook and Suzanne Ewart.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield backed the review's 29 recommendations, agreeing that auDA was not serving the purpose for which it was set up, adding that a great deal of change was needed for it to meet its objectives.

The recommendations call for running the .au domain namespace in a way that aligns more with the users' needs, more openness, more representation of those who had a stake in the organisation and measures to prevent conflicts of interest.

The report said Fifield had already informed the auDA management to inform it of these recommendations.

Reference was also made to a review by advisory group PPB which alleged that there had been expenses incurred by former auDA directors and employees which were inappropriate.

Earlier this month, auDA chair Chris Leptos said the practices of several former auDA directors have been referred to the police in Victoria.

The PPB report cited the case of former general manager international and government affairs Paul Szyndler, who was alleged to have exchanged business class airfare for work travel for economy class tickets for his family to attend an ICANN meeting in Los Angeles in 2014.

Szyndler said he had not done anything wrong as he was following company guidelines.

The PPB review was commissioned by chief executive Cameron Boardman in August 2016 and found that there had been “systemic and persistent governance deficiencies".

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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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