News Review: ICANN, IANA Transition Plan, NTIA, and U.S. Congress

"... the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announces its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community ..."-- NTIA, March 14, 2014
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Domain Mondo's review of the past week--and a look ahead to the coming week--

ICANN55 in Marrakech concluded Thursday, March 10th, after the ICANN Board of Directors, a year behind schedule, finally transmitted to NTIA the IANA Stewardship Transition Plan developed in response to the NTIA announcement of March 2014. Read more on Domain Mondo here and here.

Don't believe the hype you may have read or heard from ICANN and NTIA, or their various sycophants. Not only are both touting false narratives in support of the Plan, but both are equally to blame for a flawed transition process which resulted in a plan that fails to address the fundamental, systemic, and structural problems of ICANN. Not only are Work Stream 1 accountability recommendations "untested, unproven, and yet to be implemented" but some fundamental issues were deferred such as ICANN's jurisdiction which will be addressed in work stream 2 (WS2). Will ICANN, a California corporation, be the first U.S. non-profit corporate inversion--not for tax benefits but for political expedience--reincorporating and relocating to Beijing or Geneva or Brussels in the future? No one knows. U.S. jurisdiction is not a fundamental bylaw. Jurisdiction could be changed to any other nation in the future, totalitarian or otherwise. Even the accountability of ICANN's AC/SOs (advisory committees and supporting organizations) to the wider global internet community was deferred to Work Stream 2, meaning these issues will be dealt with sometime in the future. When, if ever, domain name registrants and internet users, who are the core of the global multistakeholder community, might see real accountability from ICANN and its "ICANN community" is unknown, but don't hold your breath!

Remember, NTIA in its announcement of March 14, 2014, failed to even mention, much less require, improvements in ICANN's accountability to either the ICANN community or the global multistakeholder community (and there is a difference, although NTIA acts as if there isn't). It wasn't until ICANN's own "ICANN community" (mostly lobbyists and special interests) vociferously objected, that NTIA agreed and forced ICANN--the California corporation--to add ICANN's accountability to its own "ICANN community" as a necessary component of the IANA transition plan.

Also, not all Chartering organizations actually approved the CCWG Accountability proposal, and of those that did, many have members who expressed concerns or reservations--for example, note one slide shown at an ICANN55 ccNSO session--

One View of the Strengths & Weaknesses of the CCWG Accountability WS1 Proposal
Nevertheless, it is what it is. And the truth is, there isn't, at present, a better option B available other than to maintain the status quo which is unacceptable to most other governments in the world. Will the Plan be approved and current U.S. government oversight end on September 30, 2016? Short answer: Yes, unless Republicans insist on deferral until after a new administration takes office in January, 2017. We may know more this week after the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee holds its IANA transition hearing on March 17th. Stay tuned.

Of course, there is always the possibility that Congress--both Democrats and Republicans--realizes it is in the best interests of not only the American people, but also the global internet community, to insist upon the completion and implementation and subsequent evaluation of both Work Stream 1 (WS1) and Work Stream 2 (WS2) accountability mechanisms, and whether they are actually effective and working, and then decide whether ending U.S. oversight is appropriate and in the best interests of both the American people and the global internet community.

See also on Domain Mondo:

Most popular articles at DomainMondo.com this past week (# of pageviews Sun-Sat):
  1. ICANN a Steward? LOL! This Is How ICANN Wastes Registrants' Money
  2. Forty Tech Companies Have Come to Apple's Encryption Defense (videos)
  3. News Review: ICANN55, IANA Transition, New gTLDs, dot AFRICA
  4. ICANN55: IANA Transition Plan, Sexual Harrassment, ICANN New gTLDs
  5. Could The CIA Have Stopped The 9/11 Hijackers? New Yorker New Media
Final Note: Don't miss Domain Mondo's post yesterday: Consumer Trust In New gTLD Domains Is Getting Worse says NCC Group - more Bad News for ICANN's new gTLDs

Have a great week!

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo


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