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Me, auDA and the PPB

PaulS

Regular Member
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose

Hi all,

Earlier today, I was contacted by Adele Ferguson, a highly-regarded investigative journalist from Fairfax. She advised me that she will be publishing a story tomorrow (which may or may not happen) about the ongoing upheavals at auDA. She wanted to solicit comment from me.
This, of course, piqued my interest.

Unfortunately, her interest in our industry was motivated by a leaked "Final" or "near Final draft" of the PPB Advisory Report (Dec 2017) that we have all been looking forward to for some time. She noted I was named in it and wanted comment specifically on the accusations targeted at me. She also advised that she had been provided an additional cover note or letter that made yet more accusations about my behaviour while at auDA. This was a shock - I had / have not seen anything.

So, lets get to the bottom of this before rumours spread and relationships are fractured.

If Ms Ferguson and her editors were prone to sensationalist headlines, we would all be reading "auDA's Disneyland rort".
The most serious accusation Ms Ferguson mentioned was that I took my family to DIsneyland on the auDA dollar.
Guess what? I did.
auDA had a very clear and well understood policy at the time, whereby staff - after receiving best-available business class airfare and accommodation quotes, could spend up to, but NOT MORE THAN that figure on personal arrangements. As long as we arrived at meetings in a fit and ready state to represent the interests of .au in various fora, we could do what we wished with the arrangements.

(Now, before the extremists start bemoaning the horrible rort that is business-class travel in general, I would like to refer you to the internal guidelines set down by the Australian Government. Yup, even they note that Business is an appropriate class of travel for legs of 8 hours or more.)

My family joined me on a number of international trips. None cost any more than it would have cost to send me alone.
I was not the only one - I had the opportunity to meet Vanessa Stanford's mother and Jo Lim's wonderful girls.
My point is - this was a family-friendly policy that cost auDA and the average domain registrant no more than employee-only trips.

Ms Ferguson also advised me that the supplementary documentation she was provided stated that I had "unfettered" access to an auDA credit card, that there was no accountability regarding my expenditures and that my expenditure was often equivalent to my annual salary. These are her words, not mine - as I still have no access to source materials. All of these accusations are false. Each and every month I had to explain and itemise every charge to my auDA card. To suggest otherwise is an obvious smear against my character.

I cut my teeth in the Australian Public Service, rigidly adhering to the APS Values and Code of Conduct. It is a practice that I transferred to my time at auDA. Currently, the APSC uses the "icare" acronym. Impartial. Committed to service. Accountable. Respectful. Ethical.

My greatest concern regarding the future of auDA and the .au space relates to that final value. How is it ethical, or even even productive, for someone within a very small grouping of people to leak this information to the media, and to do so with a specific focus on one auDA Member that has chosen to lend his voice to a Constitutionally-valid request for an SGM?

I have not worked for auDA (offically) for nearly a year and my last meaningful engagement was in September 2016. The trip to Disneyland? 2011.

I cast no aspersions as to who leaked this information, but it is certainly a serious leak. It is also an ad hominem attack where someone is "playing the man and not the ball".

I will be seeking further legal counsel. I am outraged and disappointed. I have aired my side of the story. I leave it to members and stakeholders to form their own views but I will happily discuss every element of this saga with anyone that seeks to make contact.
 

PaulS

Regular Member
And here it is.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/com...e-spending-at-web-agency-20180416-p4z9yd.html
Read in to it what you will.
Sources include internal auDA emails that no one outside of the organisation could have access to. My language was informal because - heck - it was "the usual thing" - and part of appropriate internal reporting! Add up the total costs and they are less than the quoted business class price.

Now, if I may get down off my crucifix for a moment - How is this relevant? I never defrauded the organisation nor stakeholders, so how is it a police matter? And who leaked it? What do they hope to achieve other than character assassination? How is ANY of this good for auDA or .au?
 

DomainNames

Top Contributor
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose

Hi all,

Earlier today, I was contacted by Adele Ferguson, a highly-regarded investigative journalist from Fairfax. She advised me that she will be publishing a story tomorrow (which may or may not happen) about the ongoing upheavals at auDA. She wanted to solicit comment from me.
This, of course, piqued my interest.

Unfortunately, her interest in our industry was motivated by a leaked "Final" or "near Final draft" of the PPB Advisory Report (Dec 2017) that we have all been looking forward to for some time. She noted I was named in it and wanted comment specifically on the accusations targeted at me. She also advised that she had been provided an additional cover note or letter that made yet more accusations about my behaviour while at auDA. This was a shock - I had / have not seen anything.

So, lets get to the bottom of this before rumours spread and relationships are fractured.

If Ms Ferguson and her editors were prone to sensationalist headlines, we would all be reading "auDA's Disneyland rort".
The most serious accusation Ms Ferguson mentioned was that I took my family to DIsneyland on the auDA dollar.
Guess what? I did.
auDA had a very clear and well understood policy at the time, whereby staff - after receiving best-available business class airfare and accommodation quotes, could spend up to, but NOT MORE THAN that figure on personal arrangements. As long as we arrived at meetings in a fit and ready state to represent the interests of .au in various fora, we could do what we wished with the arrangements.

(Now, before the extremists start bemoaning the horrible rort that is business-class travel in general, I would like to refer you to the internal guidelines set down by the Australian Government. Yup, even they note that Business is an appropriate class of travel for legs of 8 hours or more.)

My family joined me on a number of international trips. None cost any more than it would have cost to send me alone.
I was not the only one - I had the opportunity to meet Vanessa Stanford's mother and Jo Lim's wonderful girls.
My point is - this was a family-friendly policy that cost auDA and the average domain registrant no more than employee-only trips.

Ms Ferguson also advised me that the supplementary documentation she was provided stated that I had "unfettered" access to an auDA credit card, that there was no accountability regarding my expenditures and that my expenditure was often equivalent to my annual salary. These are her words, not mine - as I still have no access to source materials. All of these accusations are false. Each and every month I had to explain and itemise every charge to my auDA card. To suggest otherwise is an obvious smear against my character.

I cut my teeth in the Australian Public Service, rigidly adhering to the APS Values and Code of Conduct. It is a practice that I transferred to my time at auDA. Currently, the APSC uses the "icare" acronym. Impartial. Committed to service. Accountable. Respectful. Ethical.

My greatest concern regarding the future of auDA and the .au space relates to that final value. How is it ethical, or even even productive, for someone within a very small grouping of people to leak this information to the media, and to do so with a specific focus on one auDA Member that has chosen to lend his voice to a Constitutionally-valid request for an SGM?

I have not worked for auDA (offically) for nearly a year and my last meaningful engagement was in September 2016. The trip to Disneyland? 2011.

I cast no aspersions as to who leaked this information, but it is certainly a serious leak. It is also an ad hominem attack where someone is "playing the man and not the ball".

I will be seeking further legal counsel. I am outraged and disappointed. I have aired my side of the story. I leave it to members and stakeholders to form their own views but I will happily discuss every element of this saga with anyone that seeks to make contact.

"Sources include internal auDA emails that no one outside of the organisation could have access to"

https://grumpier.com.au/updates/
"to the extent that you hold information which is confidential to auDA...... you are under a duty not to disclose that information to any third party ...... may result in litigation against you personally."

  • Will auDA take legal action against those who leaked the confidential auDA information? ......
  • What happens if it was leaked internally by someone? Would they send a letter like the attached with variations to themselves?
  • Who could have had access to all of the internal auDA confidential information and leaked it?
  • Why leak it now ... very shortly after the www.Grumpier.com.au SGM apparently got the required numbers to proceed?
https://www.smh.com.au/business/com...e-spending-at-web-agency-20180416-p4z9yd.html
 

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snoopy

Top Contributor
What a disgrace that auDA would leak this to the media rather than properly release it to members.

If the stuff in the story is what the PPB report is all about then it may be becoming more clear why “police referral” seemingly didn’t get anywhere and why auDA claims about former management apparently haven’t been taken seriously by those involved with Icann.

I wonder when auDA are actually going to start addressing member concerns?
 

Bacon Farmer

Top Contributor
Now, if I may get down off my crucifix for a moment - How is this relevant? I never defrauded the organisation nor stakeholders, so how is it a police matter? And who leaked it? What do they hope to achieve other than character assassination? How is ANY of this good for auDA or .au?

You are a target because of the special general meeting motion.

Chill on the lawyers, they will hope to bleed you dry.
 

snoopy

Top Contributor
Now, if I may get down off my crucifix for a moment - How is this relevant? I never defrauded the organisation nor stakeholders, so how is it a police matter? And who leaked it? What do they hope to achieve other than character assassination? How is ANY of this good for auDA or .au?

They been saying all this type of stuff for a couple of years to badmouth former management. I don't believe this is a police matter at all otherwise actions would have been taken 2 years ago. It was a very poor travel policy and that is about all that could be said based on the information they have leaked. They are simply to trying to target you because of the SGM.
 

PaulS

Regular Member
As everyone can imagine, I have had a long, tough day.
Below is content of the document that I have just sent to the Chair of the auDA Board.
I have made a request (as an auDA member) that has nothing to do with the personal accusations against me, but rather the nature in which information has been released.
Should the Chair or Board not acquiesce to my request, I will call upon auDA Members for support of a broader, more formal inquiry.


Mr Chris Leptos AM 17 April 2018


Chair
.au Domain Administration Ltd


chris@xxxxx.xxx (and cc’ed recipients)




Via email:



Dear Mr Leptos,


I am writing regarding the story by Adele Ferguson that was published today (17 April) in both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. As both an auDA member and the only former Director or employee named in the article, I am dismayed that such detailed content from the “confidential” PPB Advisory report has become public and, in particular, that it was placed in the hands of a well-regarded investigative journalist.


I would have much preferred for the report to be released through more appropriate means – to auDA Members - with an accompanying statement from the auDA Board. This would have afforded me, and others, an appropriate right-of-reply, instead of having my name and reputation damaged in the court of public opinion. Due process has not been followed and sensitive material has been released inappropriately.


After all, you yourself said (in your “150 day report” to auDA members):

Your Board concluded that those practices warranted referral to the Victoria Police. As you would appreciate, it is not appropriate at this stage to provide further details regarding this matter.


I can only see five possible ways in which this information was released:


- An auDA Director or Directors provided this information to Ms Ferguson;
- An auDA Executive or staff member provided this information to Ms Ferguson;

- auDA suffered a security breach and third parties gained access to the report;

- the report was accessed from the records of PPB Advisory; or

- the report was accessed from the records of Victoria Police.


Please note that I make no comment nor assertion about these five scenarios however the fact remains that the Report was leaked.


I formally request that you share this communication with the auDA Board and accept it as member correspondence. I request a formal investigation, by auDA, to determine how this confidential and sensitive information was made publicly available. Should you not choose to take the requested course of action, I further request a clear statement of reason.


Of course, I reserve all rights relating to this and associated matters.


Kind Regards,


Paul Szyndler
 

DomainNames

Top Contributor
As everyone can imagine, I have had a long, tough day.
Below is content of the document that I have just sent to the Chair of the auDA Board.
I have made a request (as an auDA member) that has nothing to do with the personal accusations against me, but rather the nature in which information has been released.
Should the Chair or Board not acquiesce to my request, I will call upon auDA Members for support of a broader, more formal inquiry.


Mr Chris Leptos AM 17 April 2018


Chair
.au Domain Administration Ltd


chris@xxxxx.xxx (and cc’ed recipients)




Via email:



Dear Mr Leptos,


I am writing regarding the story by Adele Ferguson that was published today (17 April) in both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. As both an auDA member and the only former Director or employee named in the article, I am dismayed that such detailed content from the “confidential” PPB Advisory report has become public and, in particular, that it was placed in the hands of a well-regarded investigative journalist.


I would have much preferred for the report to be released through more appropriate means – to auDA Members - with an accompanying statement from the auDA Board. This would have afforded me, and others, an appropriate right-of-reply, instead of having my name and reputation damaged in the court of public opinion. Due process has not been followed and sensitive material has been released inappropriately.


After all, you yourself said (in your “150 day report” to auDA members):

Your Board concluded that those practices warranted referral to the Victoria Police. As you would appreciate, it is not appropriate at this stage to provide further details regarding this matter.


I can only see five possible ways in which this information was released:


- An auDA Director or Directors provided this information to Ms Ferguson;
- An auDA Executive or staff member provided this information to Ms Ferguson;

- auDA suffered a security breach and third parties gained access to the report;

- the report was accessed from the records of PPB Advisory; or

- the report was accessed from the records of Victoria Police.


Please note that I make no comment nor assertion about these five scenarios however the fact remains that the Report was leaked.


I formally request that you share this communication with the auDA Board and accept it as member correspondence. I request a formal investigation, by auDA, to determine how this confidential and sensitive information was made publicly available. Should you not choose to take the requested course of action, I further request a clear statement of reason.


Of course, I reserve all rights relating to this and associated matters.


Kind Regards,


Paul Szyndler

Good luck with that request! Don't expect any answers or help..You may wish to try other avenues.
 

findtim

Top Contributor
i have received the letter from paul forwarded to me.

i don't think this needs to be said but i can categorically state this leak did not come from me.
also i have stated my disappointment on this matter and i feel it requires further investigation.

tim
 

DomainNames

Top Contributor
i have received the letter from paul forwarded to me.

i don't think this needs to be said but i can categorically state this leak did not come from me.
also i have stated my disappointment on this matter and i feel it requires further investigation.

tim

Will you request auDA refer it to the Commonwealth or make these reports yourself?
What happens if auDA does not pursue it? As a Director do you or other Directors have the duty to personally?
  • Australian Critical Infrastructure Centre? Breach report.
  • Federal Police? (".au namespace is a Australian public asset", auDA Management of the .au namespace falls under powers of the Commonwealth)
  • Minister Fifield?
  • ASIC?
 

findtim

Top Contributor
i'm not sure at this stage, ask me next week.
note: boards do not operate EVERY DAY of the week, operations do, please separate the 2
tim
 

DomainNames

Top Contributor
i'm not sure at this stage, ask me next week.
note: boards do not operate EVERY DAY of the week, operations do, please separate the 2
tim

Let's see if it makes the auDA Board meeting Agenda and Minutes...
https://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/our-org/board-meetings/

Has anyone else noticed the missing Agenda's, Missing Minutes and obvious mistake uploaded for February?

What did auDA learn after the last SGM and FOI?

https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/au_domain_administration_ltd_boa

Does auDA and members know auDA putting up the agenda and minutes is actually a requirement on the Government letters of authority to auDA from years ago?
 

PaulS

Regular Member
Just by way of a quick update:
I spoke to Chris Leptos late yesterday afternoon. He advised that he himself had nothing to do with the leak and that he is not aware where it came from. He said that the leaked report was quite an old draft that many people would have access to. However, he unfortunately advised me that auDA would not be investigating further.
 

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