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DIDP Request #21 - ICANN’s Relationship with the RIRs

Posted by Asvatha Babu at Jul 30, 2016 03:42 AM |
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At CIS, we wanted a clearer understanding of ICANN’s relationship with the 5 internet registries. The large amount contributed by the RIRs to ICANN’s funding lead us to question the nature of this relationship as well as the payment. We wrote to ICANN asking them for these details.

The request filed by Padmini Baruah can be found here.

What ICANN said

ICANN’s response linked us to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by ICANN and the Number Resource Organization (NRO) which represents the 5 RIRs. The MoU replaces the ones signed by ICANN and the individual RIRs. The response also links us to a series of letters written by the NRO to ICANN reaffirming their commitment to the MoU. Interestingly, the MoU does not mention anything about payments or monetary contributions.

In response to the second part of our request focusing on their financial relationship, ICANN gave us the same information as they did earlier. However, as pointed out in this post, that information is either incomplete or inaccurate. Further, they reject the idea that providing anything more than the audited financial reports is necessary for public benefit. According to them, “the burden of compiling the requested documentary information from 2000 to the present would require ICANN to expend a tremendous amount of time and resources.” Therefore, they classified our request as falling under this condition for non-disclosure:

“Information requests: (i) which are not reasonable; (ii) which are excessive or overly burdensome; (iii) complying with which is not feasible; or (iv) are made with an abusive or vexatious purpose or by a vexatious or querulous individual.”

We fail to see how an organization like ICANN does not already have its receipts and documentation in order. If they do, it would not be burdensome to publish them and if they don’t, well, that’s worrying for a lot of different reasons.

ICANN's response to our DIDP request may be found here.

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Asvatha Babu

Asvatha Babu is a Master’s candidate in the International Communication program at American University's School of International Service in Washington D.C. Her research interests include using ICTs for inclusive development, internet governance and cyber security. Thus far, her work with CIS has dealt specifically with ICANN’s transparency and accountability policies. She tweets about tech and feminism at @fireflyclass.