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CIS Policy Brief: IANA Transition Fundamentals & Suggestions for Process Design

Posted by Geetha Hariharan at Jun 22, 2014 03:35 AM |
In March 2014, the US government announced that it would transfer oversight of IANA functions to an as-yet-indeterminate global multi-stakeholder body. This policy brief, written by Smarika Kumar and Geetha Hariharan, explains the process concisely.

Short Introduction:

In March 2014, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community. Currently, the NTIA oversees coordination and implementation of IANA functions through contractual arrangements with ICANN and Verisign, Inc.

The NTIA will not accept a government-led or inter-governmental organization to steward IANA functions. It requires the IANA transition proposal to have broad community support, and to be in line with the following principles: (1) support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model; (2) maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS; (3) meet the needs and expectation of the global customers & partners of IANA services; (4) maintain the openness of the Internet.

ICANN was charged with developing a proposal for IANA transition. It initiated a call for public input in April 2014. Lamentably, the scoping document for the transition did not include questions of ICANN’s own accountability and interests in IANA stewardship, including whether it should continue to coordinate the IANA functions. Public Input received in May 2014 revolved around the composition of a Coordination Group, which would oversee IANA transition. Now, ICANN will hold an open session on June 26, 2014 at ICANN-50 to gather community feedback on issues relating to IANA transition, including composition of the Coordination Group.

CIS Policy Brief:

CIS' Brief on IANA Transition Fundamentals explains the process further, and throws light on the Indian government's views. To read the brief, please go here.

Suggestions for Process Design

As convenor of the IANA stewardship transition, ICANN has sought public comments on issues relating to the transition process. We suggest certain principles for open, inclusive and transparent process-design:

Short Introduction:

In March 2014, the US government through National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to transition key Internet domain name functions (IANA) to the global multi-stakeholder community. The NTIA announcement states that it will not accept a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution to replace its own oversight of IANA functions. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was charged with developing a Proposal for the transition.

At ICANN-49 in Singapore (March 2014), ICANN rapidly gathered inputs from its community to develop a draft proposal for IANA transition. It then issued a call for public input on the Draft Proposal in April 2014. Some responses were incorporated to create a Revised Proposal, published on June 6, 2014.

Responses had called for transparent composition of an IANA transition Coordination Group, a group comprising representatives of ICANN’s Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations, as well as Internet governance organizations such as the IAB, IETF and ISOC. Also, ICANN was asked to have a neutral, facilitative role in IANA transition. This is because, as the current IANA functions operator, it has a vested interest in the transition. Tellingly, ICANN’s scoping document for IANA transition did not include questions of its own role as IANA functions operator.

ICANN is currently deliberating the process to develop a Proposal for IANA transition. At ICANN-50, ICANN will hold a governmental high-level meeting and a public discussion on IANA transition, where comments and concerns can be voiced. In addition, discussion in other Internet governance fora is encouraged.

CIS Policy Brief:

CIS' Brief on IANA Transition Principles explains our recommendations for transition process-design. To read the brief, please go here.

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