Sunday, March 23, 2014

U.S. Aims To Give Up Control Over Internet Administration

TIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions



Domain Name System

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March 14, 2014
News Media Contact:
NTIA, Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002,

WASHINGTON - To support and enhance the multistakeholder model of
Internet policymaking and governance, the U.S. Commerce Department's
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
today announces its intent to transition key Internet domain name
functions to the global multistakeholder community.  As the first
step, NTIA is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal
to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of
the Internet's domain name system (DNS).

NTIA's responsibility includes the procedural role of administering
changes to the authoritative root zone file - the database containing
the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains - as well as
serving as the historic steward of the DNS.  NTIA currently contracts
with ICANN to carry out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)
functions and has a Cooperative Agreement with Verisign under which it
performs related root zone management functions.  Transitioning NTIA
out of its role marks the final phase of the privatization of the DNS
as outlined by the U.S. Government in 1997.

"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

ICANN is uniquely positioned, as both the current IANA functions
contractor and the global coordinator for the DNS, as the appropriate
party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the
transition plan.  NTIA has informed ICANN that it expects that in the
development of the proposal, ICANN will work collaboratively with the
directly affected parties, including the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet
Society (ISOC), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), top level
domain name operators, VeriSign, and other interested global

NTIA has communicated to ICANN that the transition proposal must have
broad community support and address the following four principles:

Support and enhance the multistakeholder model;
Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;
Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of
the IANA 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
multistakeholder model of Internet governance, NTIA will not accept a
proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an
inter-governmental organization solution.

From the inception of ICANN, the U.S. Government and Internet
stakeholders envisioned that the U.S. role in the IANA functions would
be temporary.  The Commerce Department's June 10, 1998 Statement of
Policy stated that the U.S. Government "is committed to a transition
that will allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS
management."  ICANN as an organization has matured and taken steps in
recent years to improve its accountability and transparency and its
technical competence.  At the same time, international support
continues to grow for the multistakeholder model of Internet
governance as evidenced by the continued success of the Internet
Governance Forum and the resilient stewardship of the various Internet

While stakeholders work through the ICANN-convened process to develop
a transition proposal, NTIA's current role will remain unchanged.  The
current IANA functions contract expires September 30, 2015.

For further information see: IANA Functions and Related Root Zone
Management Transition Questions and Answers

About NTIA

NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on
telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA's programs and
policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and
adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and
ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation
and economic growth. To find out more about NTIA, visit

While the US Government clearly has issues, do you think other countries will be as supportive of any open system like Internet is today? What will happen to the Internet if control of the root domains end up in the hands of the UN or an organization where each country gets a single vote on governance?

What is truly needed is a decentralized Domain Name System. Namecoine is being considered as one alternative. Are there others?

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