2015-02-16

Response to US Senator and Congressman re: NTIA, IANA, ICANN

Below is the published comment by the Editor of Domain Mondo in response to the CircleID post: Ensuring Trust in Internet Governance by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee and Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, concerning the NTIA, ICANN, and the IANA transition:

"NTIA wants to transfer IANA to the global multistakeholder community--really? In Singapore at ICANN 52, ICANN and NTIA were pressuring stakeholders to hurry up and hand IANA over to ICANN--ICANN is not the global multistakeholder community nor truly representative of it. ICANN, a California non-profit corporation with an essentially self-selected Board of Directors, and no membership, is, and has been for years, largely captured by special interests within the domain name industry--that is why NTIA almost pulled the IANA contract away from ICANN in 2012. Nothing has really changed since then, except the Snowden revelations came to light and the U.S. is now under international pressure to let go of its historic role of Internet oversight. The idea that ICANN could fulfill NTIA's historic stewardship role is ludicrous based on ICANN's own track record. At the same time, NTIA has been less than fully honest in the announcement of its intentions. In March, 2014, NTIA said it wanted to be transitioned out of its role. What is NTIA's role? NTIA said then that its role was as historic steward of the Internet DNS with contract rights and authority over the IANA functions and Internet root zone. Yet, the ICANN-convened process, requested by NTIA, is only focused on the IANA contract, not stewardship responsibilities nor Internet root zone management! How dysfunctional--or disingenuous? Sometime after March, 2014, NTIA also, apparently, decided that ICANN accountability should also be part of this whole process--NTIA said nothing about ICANN accountability in March, 2014, but now NTIA's Larry Strickling says somehow that needs to be included in any proposal that is submitted to NTIA. WOW! Never mind that it will take years to both fully implement and then judge whether any ICANN internal accountability changes are effective, and to what extent. Meanwhile, NTIA still maintains Congressional approval is not needed for any of the transition process. Congress and the NTIA need to review this July, 2000, GAO report. NTIA also needs to be honest and transparent with the U.S. Congress, the American people, and the global multistakeholder community. NTIA (and ICANN) should accept the fact that a majority of people in the U.S., as well as a majority of the global multistakeholder community, justifiably lack confidence and trust in ICANN having sole power and authority over the Internet DNS. NETmundial principles, as well as historic principles of the free and open Internet, actually contravene this vision of an all-powerful ICANN, a single point of failure, with no external accountability nor oversight. I am currently a participant in the process ICANN convened at the request of NTIA. My views herein are only my own. Others have differing views. What is not helpful is NTIA being duplicitous or manipulative, less than fully honest and transparent, as indicated above. At this point, as both a U.S. citizen and member of the global multistakeholder community, I want NTIA transitioned out of its role, as soon as possible--NTIA is no longer an effective steward, and the world is demanding change. However, just walking away and leaving dysfunctional ICANN in charge is not the answer. The challenge is in coming up with an effective solution that has buy-in from the global multistakeholder community while ensuring a free, open, stable and secure Internet for future generations. External solutions to achieve this have been proposed and are currently being considered. I have personally sought input from Ass't Sec Strickling (with copy to Secretary Pritzker) without response. Hopefully Congress, the House and Senate, can get some answers and shed some light on NTIA's true intentions (e.g., why did NTIA exclude stewardship and Internet root zone management responsibilities, from the ICANN-convened process, and what are NTIA's future plans or intentions for those, specifically?)."

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo

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