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ICANN 51 Focus: Making ICANN Directly Accountable to the Broader Internet Community by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Internet Commerce Association logoICANN 51 taking place in Los Angeles this week may not have its customary evening Gala, but it opened with rousing remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in the first-ever ICANN appearance of the head of the Cabinet agency from which it was born and which has exercised continuous oversight of its key IANA functions.

The themes of the growing importance of Internet Governance and the U.S. government’s steadfast commitment to defense of the multistakeholder model, as well as the connection between maintenance of an open Internet and fostering free speech and economic growth, were key elements of Secretary Pritzker’s address:

“We come together at a time when Internet governance is as important as ever. The fact is that we must do everything we can to protect and preserve this revolutionary platform that is the essential connector of people, economies, and communities across the planet…Facilitated initially by U.S. government investment through DARPA, the Internet as we now know it was built off of one inventive leap on top of another — And through the amazing genius ranging from Vint Cerf to Bob Kahn to Steve Crocker to Tim Berners Lee to Marc Andreessen to so many others. Their work has given us the most dynamic communications and connective platform that the world has ever seen…We live in an era when all an entrepreneur needs to start, build, and promote a business is a mobile device and a Wi-Fi connection. Put simply, the Internet is a fundamental gateway to new growth for developing nations and continued prosperity for developed nations. The Internet is also a vital platform for free expression and the exchange of ideas.  And that is why I stand before you today to make this fundamental promise: the United States will protect and preserve a free, vibrant and open Internet…we are at a critical moment for ICANN and the important work you do. This means that how we govern and use the Internet is of global importance. This means that consensus decisions related to the Internet domain name system made today in Los Angeles can shape lives and livelihoods in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere not just today but long into the future. All of us are stakeholders in a strong and vibrant, global Internet. The Internet has thrived precisely because citizens around the world have a voice in how the Internet is governed. That is why we — the United States government — support multistakeholder processes. This is our bedrock principle for Internet governance. Let me be clear about this. The United States will not allow the global Internet to be coopted by any person, entity, or nation seeking to substitute their parochial worldview for the collective wisdom of this community – you, the community of stakeholders represented so well here today. As such, that is why six months ago NTIA announced the decision to transition its stewardship role over the Internet Domain Name System to the global multistakeholder communities…We all know that multistakeholder governance, and institutions like ICANN, are under intense and unprecedented pressure and scrutiny. Yet we are confident that the multistakeholder model offers the greatest assurance that the Internet will continue to thrive. And we must work together to ensure that the Internet remains an engine for economic growth, innovation, and free expression. We must continue to work hard to sustain multistakeholder governance, because it has enemies who want to reduce Internet governance to a meeting of governmental technocrats promoting narrow national interests. We must make clear this approach is the best tool to secure the openness and the vibrancy of the Internet. We must ensure that ICANN can build on its efforts to strengthen the multistakeholder process and can become directly accountable to the customers of the IANA functions and to the broader Internet community. Next week, at the International Telecommunication Union Conference in Korea, we will see proposals to put governments in charge of Internet governance. You can rest assured that the United States will oppose these efforts at every turn. We know that those interested in government control tend to be countries that censor content and stifle the free flow of information. We will be clear that these steps are contrary to our belief in the value of free speech – whether on the Internet, in society, in the public sphere – both here at home and abroad. We will remind all players – in each instance – that the multistakeholder model will preserve and protect a strong and resilient Internet. In closing, the world is watching ICANN, and some are waiting for us to fail. But we cannot – and must not – let that happen. We have to get this transition right.” (Emphasis added)

Secretary Pritzker’s words provide an appropriate framework for the important work ahead as the ICANN community grapples with creating the right processes to guide the IANA functions transition and the creation of enhanced ICANN accountability measures. So far the atmosphere at this meeting is the least confrontational and most cooperative of any recent ICANN gathering. That is in large part due to ICANN’s October 10th announcement that it is retreating from the August 14th staff-produced proposal for the accountability process and instead will step back and let the community shape it. As stated in its announcement:

“Following the community requested 21-day second round of comments, ICANN received 17 comments. Based on the input received from these comments, staff believes that the strong community comments in the second round of comments support integrating the originally proposed structure (CCG/Coordination Group) into establishing a Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) that incorporates some key elements that have arisen in the dialogues. Additionally, given the input over the course of the dialogue on this process, it’s suggested that the CCWG has two work steams, one focused on accountability in view of ICANN’s changing historical relationship with the USG, and the second, on the broader accountability issues the community would like to bring to the forefront.”

Drilling down into that “suggestion that the accountability process have two work streams, the document provides this additional perspective:

“To ensure that over time there’s a mechanism to ensure coverage of all areas, including topics outside of the immediate scope of the process, a suggestion is that the CCWG establish two work streams or subgroups: one focused on the scope of the work on enhancing ICANN accountability in light of the changing relationship with the USG within the time frame of the transition (Work Stream 1); and a second focused on addressing topics on accountability outside the scope of Work Stream 1, which are longer term (and may include, for example, recommendations from the recent ATRT2 addressing current accountability mechanisms such as the Ombudsman, the Reconsideration process and the Independent Review process) (Work Stream 2). This could be reflected in the CCWG’s Charter.”

Again, this is merely a suggestion and it will be ICANN’s stakeholders who will determine whether establishing two separate work streams is advisable and, if so, what the proper dividing line is between accountability measures directly related to the IANA functions versus those of a more general and overarching nature.

Another key aspect of the revised accountability process is the discretion permitted the Board to accept or reject proposed enhanced accountability measures and whether such decisions will be made subject to a clearly articulated standard. In this regard the announcement states only that the Board is considering the issue and will make its thoughts available at some point:

“Role of the Board

There were several comments relating to the role of the Board, in particular regarding the acceptance of recommendations from the process. This topic was also addressed in the 18 September 2014 letter [PDF, 500 KB] responding to the SO/AC/SG/C Leadership letter of 4 September. This is a matter for the Board to address, and the Board is considering how it can provide assurance to all stakeholders that it will seriously consider and respect the recommendations arising out of the review. More information on that issue will be forthcoming.”

Given the uncertainty about this and other key elements of the revision, the three constituency groups that filed a Reconsideration Request challenging the August 14th staff proposal have decided, for the moment, to leave it in place and consider the question of its withdrawal at the end of ICANN 51.

The timing of the interrelated reports and recommendations on the IANA transition and enhanced accountability will also be discussed this week. Producing well-considered and credible documents may well be incompatible with completing the transition by the September 2015 termination of the first phase of the current IANA contract, necessitating a two-year extension – although that would not imply that the process would need an additional 24 months. The Community Working Group (CWG) on the IANA transition will be meeting later today in LA, and is wrestling with a demand by the IANA Coordination Group (ICG) that it publish a draft transition proposal for public comment by mid-November so that a final community plan can be submitted to the ICG by mid-January. Based on my own working group experience it seems absurd to think that any of them could produce a draft suitable for public comment in less than thirty days, yet that dubious deadline has been driven by working backwards from September 2015, acknowledging that any proposal meeting that deadline must reach NTIA by next June and factoring in the minimum time requirements for the intervening steps. Given the clear statements by Assistant Secretary Strickling, Chairman Crocker, and others acknowledging that the transition and enhanced accountability are intimately interrelated, and the community’s clear statement that the IANA transition should not proceed before an acceptable accountability plan is developed and reaches a requisite stage of implementation, placing undue time pressure on the IANA CWG seems both unnecessary as well as unwisely incompatible with getting the end product right. Any “delays” tied to reasoned and deliberative consideration may well be decried by a handful of GAC member nations who are not fully committed to the multistakeholder model – but some of them were already voicing views over the weekend that the IANA transition is insufficient and that the next matter to be considered must be terminating ICANN’s status as a California non-profit corporation. Trying to appease them is a fool’s errand and at some point they must be told that enough is enough.

As important as the IANA transition and accountability are, they are hardly the only important issues to be addressed this week. In a Sunday meeting with the GNSO Council CEO Fadi Chehade conceded that 2016 revenue projections were “very high” due to lackluster registrations in new gTLDs — and that consequently ICANN had cut its 2016 budget by $10 million, that further reductions were possible, and that an absolute cap on expenses of annual CPI increases up to a maximum limit of five percent would be imposed for the next four years.

Addressing the World Economic Forum’s NETmundial Initiative, in which ICANN had played a large formative role, Chehade stated that it “will continue to bubble forward”, that Brazil’s CGI.BR was becoming more involved, but that he would be throttling back his involvement with extraneous Internet Governance and other non-core issues to no more than twenty percent of his time in order to refocus on core ICANN management responsibilities.

Finally, in regard to the ever-important issue of contractual compliance enforcement, ICANN has just announced the appointment of its first-ever Chief Contract Compliance Officer whose duties will include “exploring ways that ICANN can work with others to help safeguard registrants and the global Internet community in ways that may go beyond pure contractual enforcement” and to whom a newly created position of Consumer Safeguards Director will report.

ICANN 51 will be grappling with major issues and challenges this week. It’s noteworthy and very welcome that it will be doing so in what feels like a substantially improved atmosphere of cooperation rather than the confrontation and consternation that has permeated and come close to poisoning recent meetings. The goal for everyone gathered here in the City of Angels should be to disappoint those who are hoping for ICANN’s failure and to take concrete and well-considered steps to make ICANN a better model for the virtues of multistakeholder Internet Governance.

This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:

ICANN Pitches Its Tent In LA Next Week For 51st Meeting To Focus on Internet’s Future

ICANN is holding its 51st public meeting in LA from 12 to 16 October. The meetings, held three times per year around the world, will focus on the future role of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

The meeting will bring together representatives from government, business, civil society, non-governmental organisations, research institutions and others from across the globe.

The role of the IANA has been a hot topic, particularly in the US where the political right has been apoplectic in its condemnation of the move by the NTIA to relinquish their stewardship of the IANA functions to the multistakeholder community. The move was announced on 14 March 2014 subject to certain conditions relating to meeting the needs and expectations of the global partners and customers of IANA services, and employing a multistakeholder (rather than a government-only) process.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will address attendees on Monday morning, October 13 at 8:30AM PT (see details below). The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced earlier in the year its desire to transition the stewardship of some key Internet technical functions to the global Internet community.

Following the welcoming session, ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé will join Board Chair Dr. Stephen D. Crocker, Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah and Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for North America Chris Mondini in responding to journalists’ questions during an international news conference. They will address a wide range of issues, such as the future of Internet governance, issues surrounding ICANN’s accountability and the status of the New gTLD Program.

Journalists from around the world who are unable to attend the Los Angeles meeting are encouraged to participate remotely via a live video web stream or an international toll-free telephone connection. The details for connecting are provided below.

A recording of the news conference will be posted to the press page of the ICANN web site (www.icann.org/en/news/press) after the event.

To see the full schedule of events and meetings taking place during ICANN 51 in Los Angeles, go to la51.icann.org/en/schedule-full.

ICANN CEO: US Not Giving Up Control Of Open Internet. Because It Doesn’t Have Control.

“No single person, organisation or government has control of the global, decentralised internet,” writes ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé on the ICANN blog. “The United States is not giving up control of the open internet. How can I be sure?” Chehadé asks. “Because the U.S. does not have control of the Internet.”Chehadé’s blog post is in response to numerous inaccurate media reports on the impact of the US government’s decision “to transition its stewardship of a narrow set of technical functions performed by ICANN within the Internet’s infrastructure (the IANA functions) to you, as part of the global multistakeholder community. The IANA functions include the allocation and maintenance of the unique codes and numbering systems of the Internet (such as Internet Protocol addresses).””The U.S. Government’s announcement of this transition in March 2014 set into motion two open, public processes. One is for the global Internet community to develop a process for this stewardship transition. Consistent with the criteria laid out by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), this proposal must have broad community support and must not seek to replace NTIA’s role with a government-led or inter-governmental solution. The second effort is to enhance ICANN’s governance and accountability mechanisms in light of the US Government’s transition away from its stewardship role. Both of these open and transparent processes involve people and organizations from around the world that have reiterated their conviction that the coordination of these narrow technical functions remains with a private-sector led multistakeholder community, not under control of one or more governments.”To read Chehadé’s blog post in full, go to:

Israeli And American Terrorism Victims Sue To Seize Iran’s ccTLD

A group of victims of terrorism from Israel and the United States have moved to attach and seize the internet licenses, contractual rights and domain names being provided by the United States to the extremist regime in Tehran.If successful, the case could set a precedent and mean countries such as North Korea and Syria could lose control of their ccTLDs. The announcement came this week from families who have won American federal court judgments that amount to more than a billion dollars against the Iranian government seek to own all the TLDs provided by the US to Iran including the .ir TLD, the ایران TLD and all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses being utilised by the Iranian government and its agencies. The court papers have been served on ICANN.The families are represented in this unprecedented civil action by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv, Israel and Robert Tolchin of New York.”This is the first time that terror victims have moved to seize the domain names, IPs and internet licenses of terrorism sponsoring states like Iran and are attempting to satisfy their court judgments,” Darshan-Leitner said in a statement. “The Iranians must be shown that there is a steep price to be paid for their sponsorship of terrorism. In business and legal terms it is quite simple – we are owed money, and these assets are currency worth money.”In cases brought in the US by the terror victim plaintiff/judgment holders against Iran, the districts courts have repeatedly ruled that the suicide bombing and shooting attacks perpetrated by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organisations in Israel were funded by the Islamic regime through MOIS. However, although the families have received compensatory and punitive damage judgments against the defendants, Iran has refused to satisfy the court awards. Iran has been designated by the Department of State as an outlaw nation that provides material support and resources to terrorist groups worldwide since 1996.Darshan-Leitner has successfully seized $120 million in Iranian assets from sources like real estate, historic artefacts and bank accounts for victims, according to a report in the New York Post. The strategy was called “very creative and very aggressive” by Ned Rosenthal, an intellectual property lawyer who is not involved in the case the report continued.The article went on to say Rosenthal and his colleague Beth Goldman were sceptical the suit would ultimately prevail.”I don’t know that ICANN even holds that kind of money or assets to pay out,” Goldman told the New York Post, explaining that the power to control IP addresses and domain names often belongs to third party registries based in each country.”It’s unclear what ICANN can do or what their authority is,” she added.Under an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (28 U.S.C. § 1610(g)), legislated to assist terror victims to collect judgments against foreign states abrogates Iran’s sovereign immunity for claims arising from acts of terrorism and subjects to attachment “the property of a foreign state… and the property of an agency or instrumentality of such a state, including property that is a separate juridical entity or is an interest held directly or indirectly in a separate juridical entity.”According to Baruch Ben-Haim whose son Shlomo was severely injured in a 1995 terrorist bombing of an Israeli bus: “It’s not right that the US government would provide these licenses to Iran while it is refusing to pay off the judgments handed down against it for funding global terrorism. The federal court awards given to our families must be satisfied.””For years the Iranian government has refused to pay its judgments, thumbing its nose at these terror victims and the American court system,” said Darshan-Leitner. “Our clients continue to suffer from the suicide bombing that Iran financed in Jerusalem nearly seventeen years ago. It is not our intention to shut down Iran’s internet usage, but we want what is rightfully due. If by seizing any funds earned from these licenses and contractual rights we can satisfy the judgments, we will have served our clients.”

Neustar to Launch usTLD Stakeholder Council

DotUS Neustar logo[news release] On February 28, 2014, the United States Department of Commerce awarded Neustar a contract to continue managing .US, the United States Country-Code Top Level Domain (“usTLD”).

In its plan to manage the usTLD, Neustar proposed to create a stakeholder council (“usTLD Stakeholder Council”) to ensure that the usTLD remains a trusted space for all Americans and to facilitate stakeholder input into usTLD policies.

Proposed responsibilities of the usTLD Stakeholder Council include recommending policies and improvements, ensuring that the needs registrants are reflected, enhancing the user experience and utility, and discussing emerging DNS issues.

Neustar looks forward to broadening stakeholder participation in policy development for the usTLD. We are eager to work with stakeholders including registrants, civil society, business owners, law enforcement, and more to ensure that the management of the usTLD continues to evolve and reflect the needs of the usTLD community.

In this spirit, Neustar has issued a call for Expressions of Interest (“EoI”) for prospective participants in the usTLD Stakeholder Council. Concurrently, Neustar has issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”), seeking community input regarding the usTLD Stakeholder Council’s proposed composition, guiding principles and policies, operating procedures, and deliverables. Responses to both the call for EoIs and the NOI should be sent to stakeholdercouncil@neustar.us. All EoIs and responses to the NOI are due by July 10, 2014.

This Neustar announcement was sourced from:

Neustar Announces usTLD Rapid Suspension Commencing 1 July

DotUS Neustar logo[news release] On July 1, Neustar will become one of the first ccTLDs to implement the usTLD Rapid Suspension Procedure (“usRS”). Although this new mechanism has been introduced with the new generic top-level domains approved by ICANN, it is not widespread within the ccTLD community.

The usRS will provide intellectual property rights holders a faster, more cost-effective mechanism to resolve clear-cut cases of trademark infringement within the usTLD than the existing .us Dispute Resolution Policy (“usDRP”).

Under the usRS, the complainant must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The domain name(s) in question are identical or confusingly similar to one of its trademarks,
  • The registrant has no legitimate right or interest in the domain name(s), and
  • The domain name(s) were registered or are being used in bad faith.

If the National Arbitration Forum (“NAF”), the usRS Provider, determines that a complaint meets these criteria and adheres to all rules and procedures in the usRS Policy Rules and the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules, the complainant will prevail. As remedy, the domain name(s) will be suspended for the remaining registration term. The complainant may extend the suspension for an additional year at his or her expense. The original domain name holder may appeal a usRS decision in favor of the complainant. Further details on the usRS rules and procedures can be found in the usRS Policy Rules.

The usRS provides a quick and cost-effective alternative to the usDRP. The costs of filing a usRS range from $375, for complaints involving up to 14 domains, to $500. Additional fees will apply for reexaminations or appeals. NAF will issue usRS decisions no later than five calendar days following the submission of a response or the expiry of the fourteen-day response period. For a full breakdown of the usRS fees and timeline see the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules.

Unlike in usDRP proceedings, usTLD domain names cannot be transferred as a result of a usRS complaint. Trademark holders seeking ownership of an infringing domain name in the usTLD should continue to use the usDRP to resolve their disputes.

As of July 1, 2014, the usRS will cover all domains in the usTLD.

For more information, please review the usRS Policy Rules and the NAF usRS Supplemental Rules.

This Neustar announcement was sourced from:

DOTCOM Act Passes House as Rubio Leads Senate Call for IANA Oversight Hearings by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Internet Commerce Association logoThe Shimkus Amendment to the $601 billion National Defense Authorization Act (HR 4435) passed the House of Representatives yesterday on a mostly partisan vote of 245 – 177. While all 228 Republicans present and voting supported the amendment only 17 Democrats voted “aye”, with 177 in opposition. Final passage on the entire bill was a bipartisan vote of 325-98.

The Senate has not yet passed its version of a FY 2015 Pentagon funding bill, and once it does all the differences between the two versions must be reconciled before it can be sent to President Obama for his signature.  There’s no indication yet whether a similar amendment will be offered in the Senate or whether enough Democratic votes can be picked up to pass it on that side of Capitol Hill.

The Shimkus amendment embodied the text of the DOTCOM Act. It would prohibit the NTIA from transitioning oversight of the IANA root zone functions from US oversight to a multistakeholder entity until Congress had received a report from the GAO analyzing the implications of the transition plan. It would provide GAO with a one-year period to complete that study, with the clock starting when ICANN transmitted a transition plan for NTIA review. As no such plan is expected to be forthcoming until sometime in 2015, the Act would essentially make it all but impossible to complete the transition by the September 2015 end date of the current IANA contract, and would thus trigger the need for a two-year extension – an option already provided for in that contract. NTIA head Larry Strickling and ICANN CEO Chehade stressed in recent Congressional testimony that September 2015 was just a goal and not a deadline. But we’d wager that ICANN very much wants to avoid a contract extension, and parties outside the US want IANA globalization by 2015 as expressed in the final document issued at last month’s NETmundial meeting in Brazil.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and eight other Senate Republicans have just sent a letter to Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller asking that the Committee hold an oversight hearing on the IANA transition proposal. With the DOTCOM amendment on its way over from the House, and with the House expected to shortly pass a Department of Commerce appropriations bill that slashes NTIA funding to deny it the monetary capability to carry out the transition, it would appear to be a good time for the Senate to start informing itself on the matter. Rockefeller has shown past interest in ICANN, having held oversight hearings on the new gTLD program and most recently sending a letter to NTIA raising concerns about .Sucks and similar new gTLDs. Any Senate Commerce oversight hearing might well include a look at the status of the new gTLD program, as it is the largest and riskiest effort ever undertaken by ICANN and the market and operational status of the new gTLD rollout might be viewed as indicative of its readiness to sever its last formal connection with the US government.

The text of the Rubio letter follows:

May 21, 2014

Dear Chairmen Rockefeller, Pryor and Ranking Members Thune and Wicker:

We are writing to respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (“the Committee”) hold a hearing to review the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) announcement to transition oversight of certain Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. This transition, if it occurs, could have profound consequences on the future of Internet governance and freedom, and therefore deserves a close examination by the Committee.

Last Congress many of us were leaders on S. Con. Res. 50 (SCR 50), which reinforced the U.S. government’s opposition to ceding control of Internet governance to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) or to any other governmental body. By unanimously passing SCR 50, Congress sent a strong message of support for the existing bottom-up, multistakeholder approach to Internet governance. The current model has enabled individual empowerment and technological advancement around the world, and has ensured the Internet remains free from the control of governments and intergovernmental organizations.

Congress must once again lead the cause for Internet freedom. All of the signatories of this letter also sent several questions to NTIA in March. While we appreciate NTIA’s response, there are a number of unresolved questions concerning NTIA’s decision, as well as uncertainty about how this transition will unfold. NTIA’s announcement must be carefully considered and understood, which is why the Committee must conduct rigorous oversight of this decision and process.

Since the announcement by NTIA, the United States has sent delegations to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 49 conference in Singapore and to the NETmundial meeting on the future of Internet governance in Brazil. NTIA’s decision and ICANN’s future role were discussed at both conferences, and we understand that countries like China and Russia pushed back against the multi-stakeholder model and toward greater control over the Internet.

It is important that the Committee, Congress, and the American people hear from NTIA, members of the U.S. delegation, and other Internet stakeholders about how these conferences went and what the global community is proposing. Chairman Rockefeller, when the Committee held a hearing in December 2011 on ICANN’s expansion of top level domains, you stated:

As the Senate Committee tasked with examining issues related to the Internet, it is critical that we understand what this will mean for the millions of Americans who use the Internet on a daily basis and the thousands of businesses and organizations that now depend upon the Internet to reach their customers and members.

That statement certainly applies today to NTIA’s proposed transition. As this process unfolds and NTIA engages the global Internet community, it is imperative the Committee exercise its jurisdiction and conduct careful oversight on behalf of the American people to ensure Internet freedom is protected. The House has already held two hearings, and the global Internet community continues to convene. We must do the same. This announcement and the outcome of this proposed transition are too important for the Committee to remain silent. We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to working with all of you on this important issue.


Marco Rubio

Ted Cruz

Ron Johnson

Dean Heller

Roy Blunt

Kelly Ayotte

Dan Coats

Deb Fischer

Tim Scott

 This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:

Internet Technical Leaders Welcome IANA Globalisation Progress

The leaders of the Internet technical organisations responsible for coordination of the Internet infrastructure (IETF, IAB, RIRs, ccTLD ROs, ICANN, ISOC, and W3C), welcome the US Government’s announcement of the suggested changes related to the IANA functions contract.The roles on policy development processes of the Internet technical organisations and ICANN’s role as administrator of the IANA functions, remain unchanged.The transition of the US Government stewardship has been envisaged since the early days of IANA functions contract. This transition is now feasible due to the maturity of the Internet technical organisations involved in performing their respective roles related to the IANA functions, and ICANN will facilitate a global, multi-stakeholder process to plan for the transition.The strength and stability of the IANA functions within the above organisations (which make up the Internet technical community) are critical to the operation of the Internet. The processes around the IANA functions have always been carefully specified in the communities that our organisations represent. The IANA functions are faithfully administered by ICANN. We are committed to continuing our proven, community-driven processes as we engage in this transition. Our communities are already considering proposals to progress the transition.Our organisations are committed to open and transparent multi-stakeholder processes. We are also committed to further strengthening our processes and agreements related to the IANA functions, and to building on the existing organisations and their roles. The Internet technical community is strong enough to continue its role, while assuming the stewardship function as it transitions from the US Government.

Participating Leaders

  • Adiel A. Akplogan, CEO African Network Information Center (AFRINIC)
  • Barrack Otieno, Manager, The African Top Level Domains Organization (AFTLD)
  • Paul Wilson, Director General Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
  • Don Hollander, General Manager Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD)
  • John Curran, CEO American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
  • Peter Van Roste, General Manager, Council for European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR)
  • Russ Housley, Chair Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
  • Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  • Jari Arkko, Chair Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • Kathy Brown, President and CEO Internet Society (ISOC)
  • Raúl Echeberría, CEO Latin America and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC)
  • Carolina Aguerre, General Manager, Latin American and Caribbean TLD Association (LACTLD)
  • Axel Pawlik, Managing Director Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC)
  • Jeff Jaffe, CEO World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions

[news release] To support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announces its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. As the first step, NTIA is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).NTIA’s responsibility includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the DNS. NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions and has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it performs related root zone management functions. Transitioning NTIA out of its role marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS as outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997.”The timing is right to start the transition process,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling. “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”ICANN is uniquely positioned, as both the current IANA functions contractor and the global coordinator for the DNS, as the appropriate party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan. NTIA has informed ICANN that it expects that in the development of the proposal, ICANN will work collaboratively with the directly affected parties, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), top level domain name operators, VeriSign, and other interested global stakeholders.NTIA has communicated to ICANN that the transition proposal must have broad community support and address the following four principles:

  • Support and enhance the multistakeholder model;
  • Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
  • Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and,
  • Maintain the openness of the Internet.

Consistent with the clear policy expressed in bipartisan resolutions of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (S.Con.Res.50 and H.Con.Res.127), which affirmed the United States support for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance, NTIA will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.From the inception of ICANN, the U.S. Government and Internet stakeholders envisioned that the U.S. role in the IANA functions would be temporary. The Commerce Department’s June 10, 1998 Statement of Policy [pdf] stated that the U.S. Government “is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management.” ICANN as an organisation has matured and taken steps in recent years to improve its accountability and transparency and its technical competence. At the same time, international support continues to grow for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance as evidenced by the continued success of the Internet Governance Forum and the resilient stewardship of the various Internet institutions.While stakeholders work through the ICANN-convened process to develop a transition proposal, NTIA’s current role will remain unchanged. The current IANA functions contract expires September 30, 2015.For further information see: IANA Functions and Related Root Zone Management Transition Questions and AnswersAbout NTIANTIA is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth. To find out more about NTIA, visit www.ntia.doc.gov.This NTIA news release was sourced from:

Neustar Remains Committed To Providing Reliable, Stable And Efficient .US TLD Service

Dot US logo[news release] Today (5 March), Neustar Inc. announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the company the contract to continue administering the .US TLD, the official country code domain of the United States. Neustar has successfully administered this critical domain since 2001, when the Department of Commerce first selected the company to build and manage the new domain.

“We are honored that the Department of Commerce has selected Neustar to continue managing America’s domain name that millions of businesses, non-profit organizations and consumers use to manage their online presence,” said Lisa Hook, Neustar President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to continuing to provide exceptional service that is reliable, stable and secure in the increasingly complicated digital environment.”

The .US domain represents Main Street America, helping American small businesses and individuals to create and expand their online presence. Neustar manages this critical domain and oversees the growing network of registrars who sell the .US domain names. The Department of Commerce has re-awarded the contract for three years with two additional one-year extension options.

Since becoming the administrator of the .US TLD, Neustar has created an extensive enforcement program to ensure a safe and secure environment for the .US Internet community. Neustar also launched the “Kickstart America” campaign to raise awareness of the .US domain. In 2013, Neustar initiated the .US National Road Racing Championships through a three-year partnership with USA Track & Field.

In 2014, Neustar plans to launch a new multi-stakeholder council including members representing localities, registrars, small businesses and non-profit organizations as well as entities involved with STEM education and cybersecurity. The .US TLD Stakeholder Council will provide a vibrant, diverse, and independent forum for future development of the .US TLD, working directly with .US TLD stakeholders and helping Neustar to identify public needs and develop policies, programs, and partnerships to address those needs while continuing to enhance America’s address.

About Neustar

Neustar, Inc. is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analytics to the communications services, financial services, retail, and media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies to help its clients promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.

About .US

The .US Top Level Domain (TLD) is the country code domain name for the United States of America. The .US TLD is managed and operated by Neustar, Inc. (NYSE:NSR), an information services and analytics company, on behalf of the United States Department of Commerce. Neustar operates the .US TLD global registry in the public interest and provides critical infrastructure services. Visit www.about.us for more information on .us, and visit www.neustar.biz for more information on Neustar.