A very important announcement by NTIA/DoC/ICANN regarding the control of
This is an article from todays Commsday that very well explains the current
*Commsday* - 17th March 2014 - www.commsday.com
*US to give up control of Internet administration*
The United States government says it will cede the Department of Commerce's
legal authority over global Internet governance, but on condition that it
approves of the system which replaces it.
Late Friday afternoon, the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, under the DoC, said it wanted Internet domain governance to
be subject to "multi-stakeholder" oversight and would oppose transition to
an inter-governmental administration such as the International
Currently the DoC delegates oversight functions to the Internet Corporation
for Assigned Names and Numbers which in turn works with various private and
sector bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet
Architecture Board, the Internet Society, the Regional Internet Registries,
top level domain name operators and VeriSign to administrate the Internet.
"The timing is right to start the transition process," said Assistant
Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E.
Strickling. "We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the
global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan."
NTIA has communicated to ICANN that the transition proposal must have broad
community support and address the following four principles:
- Support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model;
- Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
- Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of
ICANN's domain administration services; and,
- Maintain the openness of the Internet.
"Consistent with the clear policy expressed in bipartisan resolutions of
the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (S.Con.Res.50 and
H.Con.Res.127), which affirmed the United States support for the
multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, NTIA will not accept a
proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an
inter-governmental organisation solution," it said.
AUSTRALIA BACKS US: The decision won the instant backing of Australian
communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said he had discussed the
plans with Strickling last week. Australia has been a steadfast ally of the
US's opposition to a role for the ITU in Internet administration.
Turnbull said "the Australian Government is absolutely committed to
supporting an open Internet which is administered by multi stakeholder
organisations like ICANN and NOT by governments whether in the form of
consortia or multilateral organisations like the ITU or the UN."
"The Internet is the most remarkable invention of our times and while it
had its origins in research contracts with the US Government its growth,
its dynamism, its resilience have all been the result of collaborative
efforts by the wide Internet community not government regulation or fiat."
"While it is all too common to complain about the US Government role in the
Internet the truth is that the world owes the United States an
extraordinary debt not just for giving birth to the Internet, but above all
for giving it the freedom to develop into the extraordinary global platform
it has become today."
"The (ICANN subsidiary) Internet Assigned Numbers Authority contract with
the US Department of Commerce expires in September 2015 and today I assured
the President of ICANN, Mr Fadi Chehade, that the Australian Government
will provide all the support it can to ICANN's efforts to develop a
structure of governance that will meet the US Department of Commerce's
vitally important conditions of removing itself from the IANA arrangements
at the heart of the Internet.
DOMESTIC OPPOSITION TO CHANGE: However, the decision did not receive
bipartisan support in the United States with Republican politicians and
advisers defending the status quo and warning of the consequences of global
control of Internet administration.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said "Every American should worry about
Obama giving up control of the internet to an undefined group. This is
very, very dangerous. What is the global internet community that Obama
wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships
defining the internet."
A former State Department adviser under the Bush administration, Christian
Whiton, said "US management of the internet has been exemplary and there is
no reason to give this away -- especially in return for nothing. This is the
Obama equivalent of Carter's decision to give away the Panama Canal -- only
with possibly much worse consequences."
GROWING PUSH AGAINST US: However, the US move has been interpreted by
others as an early strike against what are likely to be persistent efforts
to globalise the Internet's administration on terms which may prove
unacceptable to the United States and its allies.
Following unsuccessful attempts by China, Russia and the Arab bloc to have
the ITU assume Internet governance functions in late 2012, there has been
renewed pressure to change the status quo following the so-called Snowden
revelations last year regarding pervasive US surveillance of foreign powers
and individuals using Internet and telecom platforms. Brazil, one of the
leading critics of the US, plans its own global Internet multi-stakeholder
forum in late April in order to seize the initiative on how a post-US
Internet might be shaped. Anti-US governmental members of the ITU are
expected to revive their efforts in support of that organisation assuming
Internet control when it convenes in South Korea for its plenipotentiary in
The last ITU vote on these matters saw around 90 countries, led by China,
Russia and the Arab world, support new regulations to "nationalise" the
Internet and around 55, led by the US and its allies, support the status
quo or a "multi-stakeholder" approach akin to the status quo, where
specialist private and technical organisations such as ICANN perform
Paul Rosenzweig, who served as a senior homeland security official under
former President George W. Bush, opined "the move by the United States to
start this transition now is either very canny or panicked. The optimist in
me wants to think that the transition to ICANN management is an effort to
forestall an even worse result from takeover of network administration by
the ITU. It may be that
allowing ICANN a controlling role will placate our European allies and
prevent the ITU meeting in Busan, South Korea from becoming a debacle."
"The pessimist, however, sees this as a reaction to the Snowden
disclosures. All of a sudden American stewardship of the network is
suspect. Some, hoping to defuse the anger, may have chosen to rush to give
up that stewardship, without thinking through the consequences."
Malcolm Turnbull also agreed that the US decision opened up a Pandora's box
of challenges for those who think the existing system is generally
successful. "There is a lot of work to do to support ICANN in transitioning
to a new model and the Australian Government, committed as it is to a
multi-stakeholder system of governance, will work with the Australian and
global Internet community
including other governments to ensure that the Internet remains free,
stable and resilient and continues to be a powerful platform for freedom
around the world," he said
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*Skeeve Stevens - *eintellego Networks Pty Ltd
skeeve(a)eintellegonetworks.co.nz ; www.eintellegonetworks.co.nz
Phone: +612 8014 7398; Cell +61 (0)414 753 383 ; skype://skeeve
; blog: www.theispguy.com
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