ICANN looks toward end of US oversight agreement

ICANN looks toward a role independent of the US Department of Commerce.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is starting to look at how the organization might function after its current memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Commerce expires in September 2009.

ICANN, the nonprofit group that manages the Internet domain name system, has suggested it should become independent of Commerce Department oversight when the current Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with the agency expires. The agency's memorandum of understanding with ICANN has been in place since 1998, but in recent years, representatives of some other countries have questioned why the US government should have primary oversight of the organization.

ICANN has made significant improvements in accountability, transparency and other issues since the Commerce Department renewed the agreement in September 2006, said Paul Levins, ICANN's executive officer and vice president of corporate affairs. ICANN's goal after the Commerce Department agreement ends, he said, is to expand a global governance model that allows input from a broad range of Internet communities.

"What we're trying to do is ensure that the accountablities that the organization has now, the responsibilities to all the stakeholders, are locked in place forever," Levins said Friday. "We want to try to lock in the existing model over the long term."

Some people have suggested the JPA should remain in place to provide accountability. "The fact that ICANN is making progress toward meeting its responsibilities does not imply that the JPA is no longer needed," Thomas Lenard, president and senior fellow at conservative think tank iGrowthGlobal, wrote in comments about the agreement. "Indeed, it may demonstrate the value of the JPA. The JPA and the continuing tie to the Department of Commerce may account for ICANN's good performance."

Questions about ICANN's future have come up during a midterm review of the Commerce Department agreement. The public was invited to comment on the agreement and the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration hosted a public hearing on the agreement in late February.

As a nonprofit, ICANN operates with "almost no oversight," Lenard added in his comments. "ICANN is a unique organization," he wrote. "It is a nonprofit corporation under California law, but unlike literally any other nonprofit, ICANN makes decisions of major economic and social consequence throughout the world."

The Center for Democracy and Technology and TechNet, a trade group representing tech senior executives, both advocated for a continued agreement with the Commerce Department.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?