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US Government Changes To IANA Won’t Happen Until Internet Security, Stability And Resiliency Protected

The US Government’s proposal to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the US government’s stewardship of the Domain Name System through its contract with ICANN to run IANA will not happen unless “any transition plan [meets] the conditions of supporting the multistakeholder process and protecting the security, stability and resiliency of the internet.”The clarification by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling followed some criticisms that the move, which was first outlined by the US Government in 1997, could lead to unscrupulous countries getting hold of the keys to the internet.Criticisms of the move came largely from US Republicans and the right. Sarah Palin said the US was “surrendering our control of the internet” and that it “is a colossal foreign policy error with long term negative repercussions for freedom.”And writing in the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Crovitz quoted ICANN Founding Chair Esther Dyson saying “In the end, I’d rather pay a spurious tax to people who want my money than see [Icann] controlled by entities who want my silence.”Dyson goes on to say she fears UN oversight is a “fate worse than death” for the internet. Although the US is unlikely to allow the UN to take over the IANA function.Crovitz then concludes “the alternative to control over the Internet by the U.S. is not the elimination of any government involvement. It is, rather, the involvement of many other governments, some authoritarian, at the expense of the U.S. Unless the White House plan is reversed, Washington will hand the future of the Web to the majority of countries in the world already on record hoping to close the open Internet.”But it is likely these fears are unfounded in any semblance of truth. Strickling’s last three paragraphs note:
Our announcement has led to some misunderstanding about our plan with some individuals raising concern that the U.S. government is abandoning the Internet. Nothing could be further from the truth. This announcement in no way diminishes our commitment to preserving the Internet as an engine for economic growth and innovation. We will continue to advocate for U.S. interests and an open Internet through our role on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and in other international venues including the Internet Governance Forum.We have been clear throughout this process that any transition plan must meet the conditions of supporting the multistakeholder process and protecting the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet. I have emphasized that we will not accept a proposal that replaces NTIA’s role with a government-led or an inter-governmental solution. Until the community comes together on a proposal that meets these conditions, we will continue to perform our current stewardship role.We look forward to a spirited discussion from the global multistakeholders as they begin discussions on the transition plan at the ICANN meeting in Singapore next week. I am confident that the global community will ultimately develop a thoughtful and appropriate transition plan that the U.S. Government will fully embrace.