ICANN Wins Some Independence from U.S. Control
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration signed a permanent agreement
Sept. 30 giving the international global community and the private sector more
control over the Internet's global domain naming system.
This new arrangement brings to an end the series of short-term agreements between the U.S. government through the NTIA and ICANN. The agreement allows ICANN to continue to manage the Internet's DNS while agreeing to a series of review processes to help ICANN assess and improve its mission and operations.
The deal also commits ICANN to remaining a private not-for-profit organization and declares ICANN independent and not controlled by any one entity. International criticism has grown since the birth of ICANN-with a generous boost by the United States-11 years ago that the United States has too much control over ICANN.
"We've hit our target after 11 years, and we're now mature enough to move on to the next phase of our global development," Rod Beckstrom, chief executive of ICANN, said in a statement.
The United States, though, is hardly relinquishing all control over ICANN, which agreed to establish advisory panels comprising governments and representatives from the private sector. While the United States is guaranteed only one seat on the panels, the U.S. Department of Commerce retains oversight under a separate contract with ICANN.
"This agreement is a perfect example of how a public-private partnership can work to the advantage of all stakeholders," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees the Commerce Department, said in a statement. "It will help ensure that the Internet remains stable and secure for the people around the world who use it for work, study, entertainment or to stay in touch with family and friends."
Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., chairman of the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, also praised the agreement in a statement.
"I am pleased that the NTIA and ICANN have decided to enter into a permanent agreement that will ensure the transparency and accountability of ICANN to the benefit of all users of the Internet and that includes periodic reviews of ICANN performance," said Boucher.