December 27, 1949|
Los Angeles, California
|Alma mater||UC Berkeley, Loyola Law School|
|Home town||Santa Cruz, California|
|Title||CTO, InterWorking Labs|
|Spouse(s)||Chris Wellens, CEO, InterWorking Labs|
Karl Auerbach (born December 27, 1949 in Los Angeles, California) is a California attorney and internet protocol engineer who in 2002 sued the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—of which he was an elected board member—for refusing to share corporate records. ICANN controls the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.
Auerbach is Chief Technology Officer at InterWorking Labs, in Scotts Valley, California, which creates network testing and emulation products. Auerbach has been involved in Internet design since the early 1970s. He is a member of the Intellectual Property section of the California State Bar; on the board of directors of the Open Voting Consortium; a co-founder of the Boston Working Group, a public policy organization devoted to democratic Internet governance; and a member of the volunteer Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which develops and promotes Internet standards such as TCP/IP. Auerbach has testified about Internet protocols and policies before Congress on several occasions. In 2001, Auerbach was the Caltech-Loyola Law School Program for Law & Technology Yuen Fellow, speaking on the importance of internet governance.
In 1995, Auerbach became the principal software engineer and first paid employee at Precept Software, which created IPTV and was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1998. At Cisco, Auerbach was a member of the Advanced Internet Architectures group/Chief Strategy Office until mid-2001, when he left Cisco to join InterWorking Labs.
In 2011, Auerbach proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution that would eliminate the recognition of corporations and other group entities as persons or citizens. The text reads as follows:
"Corporate and other aggregate forms of organization are neither Persons nor Citizens under this Constitution and shall have neither protections, rights, nor legal standing under this Constitution.
This Amendment shall not be construed to deny or disparage the power of Congress or the Several States to enact legislation that defines rights, powers, limitations, liabilities, and standing of such corporate and other aggregate forms of organization." 
Auerbach attended Van Nuys High School, in Southern California; graduated from UC Berkeley in 1971; and completed his Juris Doctor cum laude from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles in 1978. He joined the California State Bar in 1978. In 1995, he and Chris Wellens married.
In 2000, Auerbach was elected by a public vote to the Board of Directors of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, as the At-Large Representative for North America. ICANN is a non-profit corporation responsible for Internet protocol (IP) addressing and the domain name system (DNS), including approving new generic top-level domains such as .net and .biz.
In November, 2000, shortly after Auerbach’s public election to the ICANN board of directors, he asked to see the non-profit’s internal financial and other corporate records, which, under California law, he was entitled to see. ICANN initially resisted, then subsequently consented on condition that Auerbach agree, in writing, to extensive restrictions. Auerbach refused to agree to any restrictions, including limitations on what he could see, the right to copy documents, and non-disclosure.
On March 18, 2002, after 10 months, Auerbach filed suit against ICANN in Los Angeles, with legal representation provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Auerbach argued that as a member of the board of directors of ICANN, he needed to see ICANN’s records in order to make “informed and intelligent” decisions. On July 29, 2002, Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs ordered ICANN to open its records to Auerbach by August 9, and stated that ICANN board members could not be denied their right under California law to review financial records, travel logs, legal contracts and other internal documents.