US Department of Commerce Seeks Comment on IANA Functions Contract in Advance of Renewal Process

by Jamie Hedlund on February 25, 2011

The US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a "Notice of Inquiry" (NOI) today, seeking public comment on how to improve the IANA functions contract.

ICANN performs these functions pursuant to a procurement contract that is scheduled to expire on 30 September 2011. NTIA indicates that it will consider public comments in the procurement process to award a new IANA functions contract.

The NOI is available [PDF, 64 KB] for anyone to read and comment upon. The deadline for submission of comments is 31 March 2011.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Kuchta 02.25.11 at 5:31 pm

The Department of Commerce and ICANN have a fundamentally and irreconcilably different philosophy about how internet governance/management/naming should work.

Less than two weeks ago (02/14/11), in his keynote speech at the Silicon Flatirons Conference in Boulder, Co., Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Lawrence Strickling clearly explained the relationship between GAC and ICANN: “We have proposed that the ICANN Board use the already-existing GAC process to allow governments collectively to submit objections to individual applications to top level domains. The GAC already operates on a consensus basis. If the GAC reaches a consensus view to object to a particular application, that view would be submitted to the Board. The Board, in its role to determine if there is consensus support for a given application (as it is expected to do for all matters coming before it), would have little choice but to reject the application.” If we apply Secretary Strickling’s understanding of the GAC/ICANN relationship to the .xxx sTLD, then ICANN has “little choice but to reject the application” because there is a lack of “consensus support” for the application.

However, in a post-Cartagena video-interview, when asked about the divide between GAC and ICANN over the .xxx application, Pete Thrush said (paraphrased) “They’ve given us advice as to what we should do. We are about to depart from GAC advice. As long as we have reasons for doing what we are doing, we can do whatever we want. I don’t have any problem with that. We have a disagreement; we get over it; we move on.”–M6kk4XbQ So, whereas Secretary Strickling believes that consensus support is necessary for the approval of an application, Pete Thrush says that the ICANN Board can approve an application that lacks consensus support as long as ICANN “has a reason.”

This divide is further reinforced by Thrush’s response to a letter sent to Rod Beckstrom by Secretary Strickling When the interviewer asked Thrush for his reaction to this letter, Thrush dismissed it as “one of many responses.” I’m not sure Thrush understands that he’s saying, “My boss’s opinion is just one of many opinions.” I’m not sure Thrush understands that, for most of us, when we are working for an employer, contracted by someone to do a job or working under a letter of agreement, our employer’s opinion is the primary opinion that guides our actions. This is the nature of the employer-employee relationship, yet it seems to be a principle that escapes Mr. Thrush’s and Mr. Beckstrom’s comprehension.
Actually, by Thrush’s reasoning, ICANN isn’t really accountable to anyone. They are not accountable to the people who give them the authority to do what they do. They are not accountable to the nations of the world. And, if they have a reason, they can ignore anyone’s and everyone’s advice. On the other hand, Secretary Strickling envisions an organization that is accountable to the entity that commissions its work. He envisions an organization that is accountable to representatives from diverse governments. He envisions an organization that actually acknowledges and listens to stakeholders.

Given these two wildly divergent philosophies, I simply do not understand how the Department of Commerce could possibly renew its agreement with ICANN.

Elaine 02.26.11 at 8:19 am

@Michelle, ICANN is accountable to the entire community that participates in bottom-up consensus policy creation. The ICANN board is not arbitrarily creating policy and making decisions. The GAC (government advisory committee) is one of many constituencies that contribute to the ICANN model. If the community comes to consensus on a policy, but a single or multiple governments do not like that policy, the Board and the Chairman do not summarily dismiss the rest of the ICANN community. Internet Governence has not nor should not be fully in the hands of one constituency, especially overreaching governments. The internet has flourished under the ICANN consensus model, and should be allowed to continue to do so. The end of the Joint Projects Agreement and the start of the Affirmation of Commitments clearly removes any element of Larry Stricking as “Boss.”

Jim Fleming 02.26.11 at 8:26 am

The DAMAGE to humanity that ICANN has done, can not be measured.

Parallels to other Dictator-driven regimes are now being seen.

The Ubber Geeks and Divas that populate the ICANN ISOC “processes” clearly view it as some big online social networking game. They win. They have the money. They laugh all the way to the bank with their $500,000 to million dollar non-profit salaries. They apparently think Uncle Sam will be amused.

The DAMAGE to humanity that ICANN has done, can not be measured.

Jim Fleming 02.26.11 at 9:00 am

The Big Lie Society
1992 – 2012 Twenty Years of Internet Domination

52 People you NEVER want to allow near your children’s .NET

Imagine 52 people creating and sustaining an Internet Eco.System, for their collective benefit, while telling the world, “they are serving the public good”. Imagine the world, unable to put 2 and 2 together, to observe the collective actions of those 52 people. Imagine that the 52 people are never seen together and rarely expose their nefarious inter-actions. How do they do it?

Imagine that the 52 people control the fundamental resources needed to operate The Internet. Imagine the nature of those resources is so simple… most people refuse to believe they matter. { Would fools really pay for large unique binary numbers? } Imagine that over a 20 plus year period numerous challenges are made for FAIR allocation of the resources. Not once, in 20+ years, does The.Big.Lie.Society fail to maintain the upper hand. How do they do it?

Who are these people? How do they maintain control? Why do 99.9% of the people in the world sit on their hands and do nothing to stop the nefarious actions? The book explores a 20+ year history of unending episodes of The.Big.Lie.Society Eco.System and how the world is dominated by these self-appointed cyberspace czars. The book exposes the dots and draws the straight lines [many refuse exist] between ALL of the 52 people.

HowCAN YOU become part of The.Big.Lie.Society? HowCAN YOU command $50,000 per DAY consulting fees? HowCAN YOU direct several non-profit corporations and travel the world (for FREE) while dining in all the best restaurants near your 5-Star Hotel? HowCAN YOU get in on the Internet MLM** Pyramid Scheme?



Michelle Kuchta 02.26.11 at 9:05 am

@ Elaine First, I never even implied that the ICANN board is “arbitrarily creating policy and making decisions.” On the contrary; their decisions are quite intentional. Their decisions are guided by potential profits for the domain name industry, at the expense of all other industries. Let’s again use .xxx as an example. The US Dept. of Commerce, the GAC, the adult entertainment industry, free speech organization, trademark protectionists, many Christian groups, many Muslim groups, and many child-protection groups have voiced their opposition to the approval of ICM’s application. ICM (the company which has projected profits of hundreds of millions of dollars from the creation of .xxx) and the registries (who stand who make significant profits) support the application. How, by any definition, can this represent community support or consensus? If there is any consensus, the consensus is in opposition to this application. Yet Pete Thrush has confidently announced his intention to choose profit over consensus.

Second, you write, “The internet has flourished under the ICANN consensus model.” Well, clearly, not everyone agrees with you optimistic assessment. A 30 second search of blog entries provides a few examples:
A comprehensive list of ICANN criticism would be pages in length. I’d be happy to begin compiling one if you’d like to see all of that information glaringly gathered in one place.

Finally, you can use all the organizational-development jargon you so choose, but the reality of the situation is that Secretary Strickland is Pete Thrush’s boss. ICANN has authority because the Department of Commerce has temporarily given it that authority. Moreover—and most importantly—THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE HAS THE POWER TO TAKE THAT AUTHORITY AWAY. You can call this a bottom-up, consensus-driven, mutli-stakeholder, multi-national organization if you want. But, I guess I’d have to leave you with this question: When the US Department of Commerce signs a letter of agreement with someone other than ICANN, do any of your bottom-dwelling, consensus-driven stakeholders have the power to restore that authority to ICANN?

Jim Fleming 02.26.11 at 9:57 am

Free Speech is still “tolerated” in America

ICANN clearly wants to “SELECT” (not Elect) their version of censorship. The so-called ISOC Eco.System is dominated by the same small club of IANA groupies. It is all a BLUFF.

David will be Speaking All-Day In Los Angeles on March 26th, 2011 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

The DAMAGE to humanity that ICANN has done, can not be measured.

Michelle Kuchta 02.26.11 at 1:47 pm


I agree that “Uncle Sam” is probably not particularly pleased by all of this nonsense. But that’s not what matters. Here’s what I mean.

Internet governance really is the most democratic process that it could be. We elect a president. The president appoints his cabinet secretaries. We elect Representatives and Senators who provide oversight. If we, as citizens, do or don’t like the job that the cabinet secretaries are doing (in this case, Secretary Strickling), we can communicate that satisfaction or dissatisfaction with our elected representatives. In this particular case, I have written to several–the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State (because of the implication on western-Muslim relations at a time of unrest in the middle east), the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology–commending Secretary Strickling on his firm position and urging them to get control of ICANN. If my representatives are not responsive, I will have an opportunity to vote against them in the next election. This is the beauty of democracy. And this is how internet governance works. So, while I’m sure that you are correct—Uncle Sam is not amused—I don’t believe that’s what’s important. What matters is that the American people are not amused.

Jim Fleming 02.26.11 at 5:20 pm

“Uncle Sam is not amused—I don’t believe that’s what’s important. What matters is that the American people are not amused.”

If informed and polled, “the American people” would likely be VERY EMBARRASSED by the ICANN and ISOC travesty.

Uncle Sam has recently decided to take a different approach. There are TWO new fresh-start green-field networks being built. One is a First Responder Network and the other is a pure WIMAX network. In the second case, some of the I* Eco.System insiders have already started to dominate that project.

The DAMAGE to humanity that ICANN has done, can not be measured.



Michelle Kuchta 02.27.11 at 5:32 am

@Elaine: As Larry Strickling takes the next few months to consider whether or not to renew ICANN’s contract, it is important that you and Pete Thrush continue to tell Secretary Strickling that he has no real authority and that his opinion is just one of many. By all means . . . keep talking.

Jim Fleming 02.27.11 at 9:04 am

Similar discussions about Corporatocracy can be found in John Perkin’s work at:

Tools are used to help draw the straight lines:

Annual Migratory Patterns are described as the 52 people Jet Set between Washington, DC – New York – LA – Silicon Valley – Davos – Moscow – Greece – Dubai – NSF- Aspen – Ireland – Idaho – FCC – Geneva – GOO Camps – FOO Camps – BOF Camps – Santa Cruz – Pools and Parties. How do they do it?

Who funds them?
How do they keep The.BigLie.Society alive? How do they continue to evolve The.Big.Lie? How do they avoid government scrutiny? …then, show up directing government agencies’ agendas? Are government employees that easily deceived? How do they clone and cover so many venues with only 52 people? What are their tools, their tricks, their common techniques?

Are their actions a Coincidence? Will there always be 52 people attracted to control of the .NET? Are the 52 people a random collection that just happens to connect (and clique) for over 20 years? What motivates them? Greed? Power? Money? Travel? Sex? Social Networking? “being relevant”?
Do THEY thrive on THE PROCESS and NOT the RESULT ?

What do THEY cost YOU each year ?

Michelle Kuchta 02.28.11 at 3:49 am

I just say this in today’s Washington Post:

I guess ICANN thinks that it’s ok to insult the Secretary Strickling because they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire the Podesta Group to do their lobbying.

Jim Fleming 02.28.11 at 5:07 am

“…hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire the Podesta Group to do their lobbying”

Have you considered the $56,000,000 in .ORG domain fees ? and what those “lobby” ?

What does the Internet Society DO ? to warrant $16,000,000 in those .ORG fees ?

Where will $26,000,000 be spent ?

Jim Fleming 03.01.11 at 5:47 am

The end of the Joint Projects Agreement and the start of the Affirmation of Commitments clearly removes any element of Larry Stricking as “Boss.”
“The end”…”the start”

Uncle Sam will be smiling as wide-eyed idealists network using third-world technology (like IPv6) _outside_ of the .USA.

Uncle Sam is building ( “the start” ) two brand new Internets _inside_ .USA.

Many Americans will opt-OUT of the .ORG Socialist/Communist Internet Society and Uncle Sam will of course assist them as they protect their .COM & .NET _inside_ .USA.

“The end”…”the start”
“the start”…”The end”

Jim Fleming 03.01.11 at 10:36 am

Priceless !!! The Double Standard Emerges !!!

The Eco.System Insiders (aka The.Community) CAN profit from Address Space Leasing – Banking millions of dollars and inflated NON-Profit Salaries.

BUT, the average person is NOT Allowed to Profit in IANA “governance”.

Priceless !!!

D Sturgis 03.04.11 at 3:37 am

The fundamental misappropriation of spending when our global economy is suffering so bad is terrible to conceive. I hope that ICANN, like many other corporations, can put together an agenda that budgets according to ‘how’ responsible non-profit organizations are intended to manage funding. It should be investing money into important things like greater internet security, and expansion of newer technologies in the internet industries to allow for growth and stimulation for the generations to come. Not function solely as such an overpriced, modern dictatorship.

Jim Fleming 03.08.11 at 9:07 am


#ICANN Eco.System Non-Profit?

@edyson @clintonglobal “planning retreat”

U.S. Federal Franchise Test
1. Use of Logo/Brand
2. Franchisee pays fees
3. Franchisor controls

Where are California & Federal Filings ?

Jim Fleming 03.11.11 at 7:27 am

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce’s National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) remains
committed to preserving a stable and secure Internet Domain Name System
(DNS). Critical to the DNS is the continued performance of the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. The IANA functions have
historically included: (1) The coordination of the assignment of
technical Internet protocol parameters; (2) the administration of
certain responsibilities associated with Internet DNS root zone
management; (3) the allocation of Internet numbering resources; and (4)
other services related to the management of the .ARPA and .INT top-
level domains. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN) currently performs the IANA functions, on behalf of the United
States Government, through a contract with NTIA. Given the September
30, 2011 expiration of this contract, NTIA is seeking public comment to
enhance the performance of the IANA functions in the development and
award of a new IANA functions contract.

DATES: Comments are due on or before March 31, 2011.

Jim Fleming 03.11.11 at 7:56 am

11. If ICANN ultimately does not charge its now suspended $1.00 per domain name fee, how should ICANN fund its operation?

First of all, ICANN must get its expenses under control. ICANN’s role and practices are potentially subject to enormous abuse as a non-profit organization. If it played the minimalist coordinating role of its predecessor IANA Secretariat, ICANN would need only sufficient money to pay two part-time researchers.

The Internet community was told that Jones Day was providing legal fees on a “pro-bono” basis. Imagine our surprise when we found that $500,000 was owed in back legal fees. Further, a salary of $18,000 per month for a CEO with no relevant experience, in a position that both BWG and ORSC proposed to cut out of the ICANN bylaws is grossly excessive.

Once ICANN’s costs are under control, one way to control ICANN’s potential adverse and abusive behavior is to insist on a funding arrangement that derives from services actually directly performed that its clients will pay for. The worst approach is what they have attempted – simply assess an arbitrary tax on their clients’ assets.

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