ICANN Needs New Priorities
ICANN must update its priorities.Military historians have long looked to carthage for examples of the power of decisive action and unconventional methods. So its fitting that the Tunisian city was the site of what Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf called an overdue move to "substantive issues" for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. But while the agenda for the Internet governing body remains full, action in the North African city has thus far been limited to organizational shuffling, with the naming of new officers and a recitation of the known problems facing the Net. Bureaucracy and secrecy have long been the organizations strong suits, but if this is truly to be a fresh start, or, as Cerf and others have claimed, "ICANN 3.0," it will have to openly tackle the technical issues affecting stability and security on the Internet.
The foremost concern for ICANN should be the glacial movement toward IPv6. Updating a protocol that is older than most Internet users by quite a bit is vital for guaranteeing address space and ensuring stability. While few on the exclusive ICANN board quarrel with IPv6, the issue is getting merely equal time with less important fare such as the disclosure of Web operator home phone numbers on the WHOIS database. Meanwhile, industry and the federal government are committing in increasing numbers to IPv6 with the hope that the Nets main gatekeepers will use their responsibility to ensure a smooth transition.