Experts Debate IANA Transition: “Designing In A Straitjacket” Or Securing Stability? 22/06/2015 by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Internet expert groups this week are being asked if they agree to a proposal prepared in thousands of hours of voluntary work to transition key elements of internet control away from the United States government. Meanwhile, the US confirmed that the process of transition will extend well beyond the target of September of this year, and some countries are deploring that the transition was not started with a “clean slate.” The experts’ proposal for transition is still conditional and will still need several months of intensive work, experts confirmed at the 53rd meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Buenos Aires taking place from 21-25 June. At this week’s meeting opening, ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé called on the internet community to deliver their proposal for the transition as soon as possible. At issue is transition of control over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is responsible to operate key databases for global identifiers, namely domain names, IP addresses and protocol numbers. If filed around the next ICANN meeting in Dublin in October, the future IANA oversight plan could pave the way for the transitioning away from the US government of its much-debated stewardship function in the middle of 2016. On the eve of this week’s meeting in Buenos Aires, concerns were raised, especially by representatives from Brazil, over a lack of ambition for designing the future global self-governance model. Some 13,339 working hours have been spent on the transition, according to ICANN. “Delivering the proposal will be a triumph for the multistakeholder model,” Chehadé said during the opening session. But while Chehadé welcomed the progress of the transition and support for the multi-stakeholder model by India Telecommunications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad – who addressed the Buenos Aires meeting by video conference – concerns have been raised about clinging to the status quo in the transition. Brazil’s representative to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee, in an in-depth discussion of the current drafts of the two ICANN working groups – deplored that there was no intent to go for a clear separation of the IANA function operator and ICANN, the policy operator. The two working groups are the Cross Community Working Group on the IANA stewardship transition (CWG) for the transition and the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (CCWG) for accountability for ICANN. The CWG proposal only asks for legal separation, with IANA being operated as an ICANN subsidiary. “We were looking at this exercise from the beginning as one that would provide a new paradigm of cooperation between stakeholders, governments included,” the Brazilian GAC member said. “We have been working in a straitjacket,” he said, adding that “some very creative ideas that came to the fore” had been dismissed. Arguments against a “clean slate” approach for IANA and ICANN oversight were made by Lawrence Strickling, US Commerce Department assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as CWG Chair Jonathan Robinson. Robinson, a domain entrepreneur and Board member of domain name registry Afilias, is chair of the Generic Name Supporting Organisation, one of ICANN’s stakeholder groups. Strickling urged the community: “In completing and documenting your plan, please focus on the NTIA criteria.” It is the “homework assignment” that will allow NTIA to start its review, he said. NTIA designated global consultations among the criteria to be met, together with avoiding intergovernmental models and satisfaction for all IANA customers, as core conditions before it will allow its IANA contract with ICANN to lapse. Robinson said a focus on complete separation of IANA from ICANN had been discussed as well as a potential change of the jurisdiction, but was seen as a potential factor destabilizing the technical function. “We want to be able to hold ICANN’s feet to the fire,” he said. Separation under the current proposal would be provided for as a last resort escalation mechanism in the case ICANN did not perform. Besides the fundamental questions, a lot of legal issues are still under debate. France’s GAC representative said more has to be done to prevent capture, for example, with strictly monitored conflict of interest policies and limitations of terms. Funding by ICANN of an Independent Review Panel (IRP) – which will provide one of several appeal mechanisms – is not in line with international standards, the representative said. And review panel members moreover should be selected not by the ICANN Board, but by the community. At the same time, the French diplomat cautioned against consequences of resorting to the international arbitration mechanism. “If the IRP can resolve or can decide on content, then these polices [by ICANN] that so far have always been technical would become legal policies on an international scale,” he said. That ICANN’s latent role of quasi-regulator would be cemented seems to be the concern. Governments also are concerned about losing a strong advisory role with oversight being performed by stakeholder groups turned members, as they will not be able to join such a membership model. Any model that changes the “current balance” of powers that has worked well, should be checked very thoroughly, Chehadé said at a press conference today. During a 21 June session on the transition, Strickling also gave insight about timelines for the US administration and congressional review of the final proposal. Once the joint proposal is filed with NTIA – according to Chehadé around the ICANN Dublin meeting in fall – NTIA will check if it met the criteria and then would send it on to Congress for a 30 legislative day period. Strickling said the combined NTIA-Congress review phase would be around 4-5 months. After that NTIA expects to oversee implementations and only then call an end to the IANA contract. On timing, Chehadé reiterated during the press conference that four “ifs” must be addressed before the transition to ICANN independence can be finalised: the community must finalise its proposal: NTIA must “certify” it; Congress must not have a problem with it; and final implementation must be made by ICANN. ICANN Board Chairman Steve Crocker confirmed that the community would be well advised to finalise the process during the term of the current US administration. The current IANA contract, which will run out on 30 September, will be extended according to Strickling for as much time as is needed by the community. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Monika Ermert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Experts Debate IANA Transition: “Designing In A Straitjacket” Or Securing Stability?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.