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.

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

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?