Nine weeks have passed since the U.S. government announced its intention to transition stewardship of the IANA functions to the global community. This landmark announcement requires a measured, thoughtful approach for how we – the Internet community – will map a route to a successful transition. Together, we must pool our efforts with a goal of producing an acceptable and timely proposal for a smooth transition.
What is most important is that our transition process is open and inclusive, while maintaining a discipline and focus that will ensure our success within a reasonable timeline. I see our work ahead as divided into four concurrent tracks, and wanted to update you on where we are on each track.
1. Transition of U.S. government stewardship of IANA functions at ICANN
By the end of Thursday, 8 May, the community submitted more than 1,000 emails and comments with feedback on the proposed process framework for the U.S. government stewardship transition process, which ICANN is facilitating. Comments were received online, via social media, emails as well as through two public dialogues at ICANN 49 in Singapore and the NETmundial meeting in Brazil. These comments will lead to a revised transition process framework.
The goal of the process is for the global community to produce a transition proposal to the U.S. government. According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, this proposal must have broad community support and must not replace NTIA with a government-led or inter-governmental solution.
The next few weeks will be spent reading all of the input, analyzing it and ultimately producing a revised transition process framework before ICANN 50 in June 2014.
2. Strengthen ICANN accountability
Two weeks ago we began a community discussion on enhancement of ICANN’s accountability through the posting of a background document and questions for input. This dialogue is open to all. Please provide your comments until 27 May on how ICANN (the organization) should be accountable to you after the transition of the IANA stewardship. Your thoughts are welcome on how we can strengthen existing accountability mechanisms like the Affirmation of Commitments. Additionally, your insights will help us assess ICANN’s redress mechanisms, and explore new accountability mechanisms where necessary. We expect ICANN’s Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees to finalize the participants in a new community Working Group that will guide this process, so that work can begin during ICANN’s 50th Public Meeting in London in June.
3. Maintain security and stability of implementation of the root zone updates
Currently, the process flow for root zone management involves three roles that are performed by three different entities: NTIA as the Administrator, ICANN as the Operator, and Verisign as the Maintainer. After the transition, the role of NTIA as the Administrator will be replaced by mechanisms to be determined by you, the global community, to ensure ICANN’s accountability to the community on each request to update the root zone. ICANN will remain in its role as the Operator, and will establish a relationship directly with the third-party Maintainer.
As a means to help ensure stability, ICANN’s recommended implementation option is to have Verisign continue its role as the Maintainer. However, we will be working closely with all relevant parties including the Root Zone Operators to ensure there are contingency options in place to meet our absolute commitment to the stability, security and resiliency of the Domain Name System.
4. Strengthen bilateral relationships with policy bodies
ICANN staff has begun initial work to review and strengthen existing informal and formal commitments between ICANN and the bodies that produce the policies implemented by the IANA department. Let me be crystal clear – the policies implemented by IANA are produced by the Internet Engineering Task Force (for protocol parameters), the Address Supporting Organization (for IP addresses), the Generic Names Supporting Organization (for generic domain names) and the ccTLDs and Country-Code Names Supporting Organization (for country-code domain names). We welcome your help in order to strengthen these relationships and the assurances of a clear division between the processes that produce the policies and their implementation.
In addition, here are other links to major agreements and related documents:
- IAOC / IAB:
- Number Resources Organization:
We have a full plate for the next 15 months. Together, we must carefully manage these four concurrent and inter-related tracks. And while September 2015 is not a deadline, we must organize ourselves on a clear timeline to succeed. This is critical work – and I am confident that, united, we will get it done.