ICANN Decides It's Ready for Freedom from Federal Agency

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-01-24
 
 
 

ICANN, the U.S.-based non-profit agency that administers Internet domains, wants to end its 17-month Joint Project Agreement relationship with the Department of Commerce and return to being an independent organization.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is an international public benefit, non-profit corporation responsible for the management and oversight of the coordination of the Internet's domain name system and its unique identifiers.

In a letter to Suzanne R. Sene of the office of international affairs at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, ICANN Board Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush wrote that "ICANN has executed the terms of the JPA commenced in September 2006; ICANN is meeting its responsibilities under the JPA; the JPA is no longer necessary. Concluding it is the next step in transition of the coordination of the Domain Name System (DNS) to the private sector."

On Nov. 25, 1998, the Department of Commerce signed a memo of understanding with ICANN to help the transition of Domain Name System management to the private sector. "The idea to transition DNS management arose from a white paper published by the federal government," Thrush wrote.

In that white paper, the USG wrote: "The U.S. Government is committed to a transition that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management ... The U.S. Government would prefer that this transition be complete before the year 2000."

The original timeline didn't quite happen as expected. Nine years and 13 revisions of the 1998 memo of understanding later, ICANN believes it is ready to strike out on its own, with no federal help.

"ICANN's progress over this time has been substantial, with ICANN consistently growing and evolving to meet its obligations and responsibilities," Thrush wrote.

A response from Sene or the Department of Commerce was not immediately available.

As a private-public partnership, ICANN was organized to preserve the operational stability of the Internet, to promote competition and to achieve broad representation of global Internet communities.

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