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IGP on Future U.S. Role in Internet Governance

On June 30, 2005, the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administrtation (NTIA) released the “US Statement of Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System.” The Internet Governance Project (IGP) has issued 7 points in response to the “Statement of Principles” showing the direction believed to be in the interests of the United States and the world.

The paper is titled The Future US Role in Internet Governance: 7 Points in Response to the U.S. Commerce Dept.‘s “Statement of Principles” with the following as its first point:

1. US policy, from the White Paper forward, has promoted internationalization of, and a leading role for non-state actors in, Domain Name System (DNS) governance.

Non-governmental internationalization of Internet administration was intended to keep the Internet’s core coordinating functions free from national political rivalries and territorial jurisdiction. That choice promoted openness, accessibility and innovation, and also discouraged the fragmentation that might result from the assertion of national legislative authority. Accordingly, DNS management was privatized and internationalized through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a 7 year-old nonprofit corporation headquartered in California. ICANN governs by means of private, globally applicable contracts and its decision making processes strive to represent civil society, business and the technical community, with consultation from governments. Both sides of the domestic political aisle supported this approach at the time.

We support the broad outlines of that policy, even if we have had vigorous disagreements with its. Globalized contractual governance, supported by transparent and objective governance processes, when implemented in a more democratic and politically balanced way, serves the interests of both US citizens and the global Internet community. More open processes invite all stakeholders to participate while distributing power more evenly. By more narrowly focusing on technical coordination, the regime helps ensure that the vitally important security and reliability of the Internet is preserved. Freeing the Internet’s resource allocation and assignment regimes from repressive political pressures was a design objective for these policy choices, one which we support.

Other 6 points issued in the paper consist of:

2. The US Government?s Current Role Contradicts its own 1998 White Paper 3. The US Position is Unclear

4. ICANN Does Need Oversight - But Oversight Powers must be Internationalized, Limited and Lawful.

5. If Interpreted as a Prospective Statement, the NTIA ?Statement of Principles? Undermines the Viability and Legitimacy of ICANN.

6. Continued US Unilateralism in Internet Governance Undermines the Longterm Stability of the Internet.

7. The US should take a leadership role in defining future a global governance framework

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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Fergie  –  Jul 29, 2005 2:11 AM

What is this? A statement of the obvious? I’m confused. :-)

- ferg

Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Jul 29, 2005 4:50 AM

It is a statement on the lines of “ICANN is the devil we know, so let us maintain something that is nearly like the status quo”

I’m sure Karl Auerbach will absolutely hate the idea, but sometimes stating the obvious is right because, well, it IS obvious that it is the best way to go.

Karl Auerbach  –  Aug 2, 2005 1:34 AM

It would be useful if someone were to enumerate with precision and specificity exactly those tasks that ICANN does that constitute “technical coordination”.

As far as I can see it is the IANA function, a function that ICANN performs in response to a purchase order, that is the only truly technical element of ICANN/IANA’s work.  The IANA work is essential and non-controversial (except for ccTLD redelegation).

However, that leaves the much larger body of things done by ICANN - issues such as the UDRP, the intrusive and peculiar method of allowing a few winners to have top level domains, etc - as being clearly non-technical in nature.

It would be useful to all if the myth that ICANN (as opposed to IANA) does technical things were to be eliminated.

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