Has ICANN been secretly recording the confidential NomCom meetings?

In a newly discovered document in an obscure ICANN mailing list that isn’t generally monitored by most in the general public, Jay Sudowski, the Chair of the 2020 ICANN Nominating Committee, has made serious allegations concerning ICANN.

ICANN has a Documentary Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP) policy that is a watered-down version of the “Freedom of Information Act”, which is good in theory, but gives ICANN staff too much discretion to reject legitimate requests. Using that process, Mr. Sudowski apparently initiated such a request on March 25, 2020, more than 30 days ago. The typical maximum response time is 30 days for DIDP requests, and ICANN’s response should have been posted by now. It hasn’t been, at the time of this blog posting, which raises questions.

Mr. Sudowski alleges, among other things, that:

In recent years, ICANN Org has secretly recorded and transcribed confidential deliberations of the NomCom.

That’s a very serious allegation, which if proven true, should lead to mass firings at ICANN at the highest levels. This is something serious enough that warrants an independent investigation, perhaps by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Mr. Sudowski also claims various Bylaw violations and alludes to potential financial issues, asking “Where is this money going?

Rather than answering Mr. Sudowki’s DIDP request within the 30 day period, which would have been done before today’s important Board meeting deciding the fate of the Dot-Org registry, the public has been kept in the dark. The need for a thorough external and independent investigation into these allegations is clear.

Update: After this blog post went live, Mr. Sudowski tweeted:

that the DIDP request has been withdrawn (which explains why ICANN didn’t deliver a response within 30 days). However, in my view an independent investigation is still warranted, to get to the bottom of the allegations at the root of it. Just because they’ve “made nice” after the allegations were made doesn’t do much to inspire confidence.