Recap from ICANN 51 in LA

Recap from ICANN 51 in LA


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I joined more than 2,300 delegates in Los Angeles for the ICANN 51 meeting last month. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has a long history in Los Angeles so it was an appropriate location to talk about the organization’s continued evolution.

It has been a busy year for ICANN. In March, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition domain name and numbers functions to the global multi-stakeholder community, and called upon ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s Domain Name System that is operated by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

NTIA made clear that any transition proposal must have broad community support and address four principles: support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model; maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System; meet the needs and expectations of global customers and partners of the IANA services; and maintain the openness of the Internet. NTIA has also made clear that it would not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.

In the opening remarks given by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at ICANN 51, she also reiterated that the U.S. will defend the multi-stakeholder approach and will preserve a free and open Internet:

“All of us are stakeholders in a strong and vibrant, global Internet. The Internet has thrived precisely because citizens around the world have a voice in how the Internet is governed. That is why we — the United States government — support multi-stakeholder processes. This is our bedrock principle for Internet governance. Let me be clear about this. The United States will not allow the global Internet to be coopted by any person, entity, or nation seeking to substitute their parochial worldview for the collective wisdom of this community – you, the community of stakeholders represented so well here today.”

You can read Secretary Pritzker’s full remarks here.

I was pleased to see the excellent collaboration during the meeting among parties to affirm the critical work ahead is about both the IANA transition and also strengthening ICANN accountability mechanisms, including the need to definitively resolve all material aspects of procedure and substance for both. IANA stewardship transition cannot happen if the broader ICANN accountability mechanisms are not resolved. The transition process should be guided by consensus-based decisions and serve the public interest with a clearly implementable, transparent, and verifiable accountability mechanism that satisfies the requirements of all affected stakeholders.

As we have noted before, it’s vital that the global multi-stakeholder arrangement envisioned by NTIA remain independent from government control, and also accountable to its mission. Stable, yet open to evolution, within the transition framework that NTIA has set out. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders around the world on this effort.

Elections for the position of Chair for ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) were also held during the meeting. The GAC provides advice to ICANN on public policy aspects of ICANN’s responsibilities with regard to the Internet Domain Name System. We congratulate Thomas Schneider of Switzerland for being elected as the new GAC Chair and thank previous Chair Heather Dryden of Canada for her excellent performance of duties during her term. The business community looks forward to ongoing constructive work with the GAC.

The next meeting – ICANN 52 – will take place 8-12 February 2015, in Singapore, and we can expect the important discussions around the IANA Stewardship Transition and ICANN Accountability to continue. We also look forward to the ICANN meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, in early 2016, which will be an important recognition of the vital role of the Africa region in the global Internet Governance community.

– See more at: http://www.attglobalpolicy.com/recap-icann-51-la/#sthash.Jj6HJLsU.dpuf

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