US government to end formal relationship with ICANN

The NTIA plans to let its domain-name contract with ICANN expire in late 2015, its administrator says

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration will end its formal relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in late 2015, with ICANN developing a new global governance model, the agency said Friday.

The NTIA plans to let its contract with ICANN to operate key domain-name functions expire in September 2015, while requiring the organization to develop a new global Internet governance model, NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling said during a press conference.

ICANN has faced growing criticism in recent years about the influence of the U.S. government on its operations, but Strickling and ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé said the decision to end the formal relationship was driven instead by a longtime understanding that the partnership would be temporary. ICANN's contract with the NTIA to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions dates back to 1999.

As a condition of the change, the transition away from the NTIA contract "must have broad community support" from Internet users, governments and companies, Strickling said. The new governance model must "maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System," he added.

The new governance model must also maintain the openness of the Internet, Strickling said. The NTIA will not support a governance model that puts control in the hands of governments only, he added. "I want to make clear that we will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or intergovernmental solution," he said.

The global Internet community will be included "in full" in the transition process, Chehadé said. He encouraged civil society, Internet groups and other organizations to be involved in the transition and in the new governance model. Debate on the transition will begin during ICANN's meeting in Singapore March 23 to 27, he said.

U.S. trade group NetChoice questioned the decision. The announcement comes after a series of revelations about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs across the Internet, coming from leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"I hope it's not just a frightened reaction to the Snowden revelations, which have nothing to do with the Internet Domain Name System," NetChoice executive director Steve DelBianco said by email. "Maybe the administration wants to rack up political points for upcoming [Internet governance] meetings. I'm afraid those points won't be worth what this move may cost."

The end of the contract means the NTIA will not be able to continue to push ICANN to improve its services, as it has in recent years, DelBianco said. In addition, ICANN could now "escape its legal presence in the US, despite having many contracts that are adjudicated under U.S. law," he said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and NumbersSteve DelBiancoU.S. National Telecommunications and Information AdministrationFadi ChehadéNetChoiceLawrence Stricklinginternetgovernment

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.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

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.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?