2014-05-12

Before there ever was an ICANN, there was an IANA

ICANN is desperate to hold onto the IANA functions, although the IANA functions have been, and can be again, performed perfectly fine without ICANN. In fact, IANA existed long before there ever was an ICANN -- note comments below to DNS Statement of Policy (1998), before ICANN ever came into existence --

06-05-98 DNS Statement of Policy: "3. Separation of Name and Number Authority.
Comments: A number of commenters suggested that management of the domain name system should be separated from management of the IP number system. These commenters expressed the view that the numbering system is relatively technical and straightforward. They feared that tight linkage of domain name and IP number policy development would embroil the IP numbering system in the kind of controversy that has surrounded domain name issuance in recent months. These commenters also expressed concern that the development of alternative name and number systems could be inhibited by this controversy or delayed by those with vested interests in the existing system.... 4. Creation of the New Corporation and Management of the DNS.... Response: The U.S. Government is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management... Of course, national governments now have, and will continue to have, authority to manage or establish policy for their own ccTLDs... IANA has functioned as a government contractor, albeit with considerable latitude, for some time now. Moreover, IANA is not formally organized or constituted. It describes a function more than an entity, and as such does not currently provide a legal foundation for the new corporation. This is not to say, however, that IANA could not be reconstituted by a broad-based, representative group of Internet stakeholders...."

Many IANA functions today are not even performed by ICANN, but instead are performed by Verisign and others in the global technical community. IANA staff within ICANN is tiny--only ten people. With the long history of dysfunction and accountability problems within ICANN, there are compelling reasons to separate IANA (technical functions) from ICANN (policy-making functions). I have proposed that IANA functions be carried out under the terms of a trust -- simple, straight-forward, and with global multi-stakeholder representation. IANA would carry out its functions in accordance with the terms of the trust, being responsible to the entire global internet community including internet users, domain registrants, the registry operators and regional authorities, the global technical community, the national governments who manage and establish policy for their own ccTLDs, and the coordinating body responsible for general domain name policy--whether that be ICANN or a successor.

John Poole
Domain Mondo
May 12, 2014




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