Do you believe in Transition?

by Paul Levins on January 9, 2008

This blog is one year old.

What better way to celebrate that fact than by telling you about ICANN’s latest report card. Usually you get a report card when you transition from one grade or semester to another. This report card is all about transition too.

When I say report card I’m being a little flippant because I’m referring to our submission to the mid term review of the Joint Project Agreement that ICANN signed with the United States Department of Commerce back in September 2006. The submission [pdf] is much more than a report card, although it does report on ICANN’s activities.

So what’s in the submission and what’s this about transition?

Back in 1998, the United States Government made a decision that marked it out as a leader in the area of expanding the Internet. If it wasn’t enough that the Internet was funded and built within the US, using largely taxpayer funds to invest in its development and research, the President directed the Secretary of Commerce to “privatize the Domain Name System in a manner that increases competition and facilitates international participation in its management”.

To its great credit, this is a position that the USG has held in the public domain for over nine years now. In doing so it has stood for values of freedom, enterprise, and importantly, coordination – not control. It has clearly had global interests in mind and understands the revolutionary power of the Internet for all the world’s people.

ICANN became the organization that was entrusted with the model that would, over time, take responsibility for co-ordinating the Internet’s unique identifiers, or the domain name system as most people know it. The USG and ICANN signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to achieve this transition.

The US government hoped that the transition could occur within the two-year life of the MoU. Not surprisingly – given it was a completely new model of governance – the organization took longer than that to establish. In fact, in the nine years that ICANN has existed there have now been 7 MoUs and thirteen report cards. Each one has taken the process of transition one step closer. In 2006, a new Joint Project Agreement saw a few big leaps. From that document it was the ICANN Board that decided what its responsibilities would be and the reporting was from then on to the community through an annual report. But the JPA still represents a link to the earlier MoUs that applied more operational scrutiny.

The JPA also envisioned a mid-term review to determine performance in meeting the responsibilities and that’s where we are now – the DoC is asking people to comment on ICANN’s performance. The DoC asks: “Can ICANN do more?” to meet its responsibilities. Not only will the question generate “yes” answers, it should! If ICANN is a vibrant, flexible and learning organization then it can and will always do more.

The real question

The real question we should be asking is: what’s the next step toward transition?

The fact is we are now at a kind of crossroad. After this review, do we go sideways and establish another agreement or extend the JPA? Or do we go forward by concluding the JPA and commemorating it as a success?

The submission says that the next step is to complete the JPA because it has succeeded. It has been a success because it has achieved its purpose – ICANN is meeting its responsibilities. Can it do more? Yes and it always will. And the international community of observers and participants will always make sure it does!

Concluding the JPA would give a boost to confidence internationally that we are still moving to the full transition proposed in the White paper nine years and thirteen report cards ago.

So, if you believe in transition then read the submission and comment to the mid-term review process. Add your voice to taking another step forward.

As the Board’s submission says, concluding the JPA will assist in delivering on the White Paper’s original ideal that no single government should manage or be perceived to manage this function, but that a private organization where all the stakeholders are represented should.


Elisabeth Porteneuve 01.10.08 at 2:45 am

The URLs on the ICANN’s main page related to the JPA answers are password protected

Kieren McCarthy 01.10.08 at 7:10 am

Hi Elisabeth,

Yes, sorry about that. It has now been fixed.


McFly 01.10.08 at 2:09 pm

¿What relation have the ICANN and the IANA with the INAIC?

Jeremie Grandmaitre 01.10.08 at 6:26 pm

I truly believe that society and the world abroad is benefiting from what
ICANN has accomplished thus far.

I feel that the Next Step of Transition should greatly focus on Security. I was recently the victim of Identity Theft which lead to someone registering a domain name with some of my Information and utilizing my full name as the domain name. This was done maliciously and they subsequently impersonated me, by creating a Blog online to defame my character.

A violation of the UDRP – Sections 2 – (b), (c), (d). As well a clear violation of several Laws in my country (Canada). It has been a real battle ever since, and in this Case the Registrar is Yahoo Small Business.

The focus of the UDRP seems to be on “trademark or service mark”, what happened to protecting individuals? In Canada what this individual or individual(s) is doing; has done are Canadian Criminal Offences.

Even if in the end, which I expect to see occur shortly. The domain name is suspended and taken away from this user. Why should he protected by Common Privacy Policies? The ironic part is that he has violated my Private Information under our Canadian Privacy Act. What about obtaining once I prove my Identity the information that I require to ensure that my local law enforcement can prosecute this individual.

I truly feel that Security, Promptness to Resolve Security Issues with some Registrars and Ethics seems to be lacking. After all Domain Registration is a key factor on a Global Internet Scale; Control has to be maintained, since Domain Names are on of the forth most important element on today’s Internet.

These are my comments, and if you know where I can turn to get additional help with my problem. I would greatly appreciate it.

Jeremie Grandmaitre

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贵阳酒店 02.06.08 at 2:13 am

yes i do believe in Transition, happy birthday of ICANN blog

ROYTUCKER 03.05.08 at 3:00 am

have a question. I have read most of the great pages the people have assembled and i compliment the fine work. I found a domain that was owned by a man that has passed on. died. and i contacted the registration site, ( and have not heard back but in the last hour the site has been moved (on the whois) to Internic. And it still shows the site is taken, but i thought the rules stated that the previous owner would be removed and the site would be available. IS this the NEW INTERNET, where these domain registers do not have to pay for names but they can just hold them until someone wants them bad enough or has $200.00 in spare change to buy a name that is and has not ever been associated with an actual web page under its own name. This seems total contrary to the philosophy and feeling that existed many many i guess many many years ago. And the philosophy I felt reading the ICANN charter. Now I would like to know how one gets set up to become the main place where names get sent when either the owner fails to keep up his WHOIS or for whatever reason. Seems to me a bit jilted. And more honorable to give a name that is retired to the person that investigated the whois and filed a report with the register of that domain name. But alas the same type of dishonorable business exists, which is what I thought the ICANN was formed to absolve such dealings of arranged name grabbing. Would not the person who discovers a bad whois deserve at least a chance even if only a small chance to gain the name of so many hours research. How do I just get control of a name that is not even on my site and with the ability to own that name without paying for ifs registry and wit the authority to sell such names for $200.00. Seems like a professional ring of dishonorable business people. Nothing remotely fair about how they make their money. May karma be gentle to them and not shower upon them all that they deserve. Roy Tucker 510-475-0444 Looks a little dirty around here. I do feel ICANN should collect from these sites payment for possession just like we get charged. They are indeed using them just like we are. I believe ICANN needs to address this issue. Sounds like a conspiracy to commit theft and a whee bit of extortion. maybe racketeering laws would cover this. Sure kind fits the same kind of situations that the gangs or even mafia used. NO CHANCE OF OUTSIDE SALES and control of the product with obnoxiously high prices. Wow I think this situation fulfills the conditions for extortion. But alas I am just a peroson who took law classes 20 plus years ago. And I am with a BA in LAW but truly now not that the words typed here mean anything but taking up space and a few bytes on the internet. (((HUGS))) Roy

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