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-- WITH PHOTO -- TO BUSINESS, NATIONAL, AND TECHNOLOGY EDITORS:
Plan to End US Control of ICANN Submitted to Brazil Meeting on the
Future of Internet Governance
SYRACUSE, N.Y., March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers
at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University
have released an innovative proposal to resolve the 15-year
controversy over the United States government's special relationship
to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The proposal, which involves removing root zone management functions
from ICANN and creating an independent and neutral private sector
consortium to take them over, will be presented at the Singapore ICANN
meeting March 21, and then formally submitted to the "NETMundial"
Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance
in SaoPaulo, Brazil, to be held April 23 and 24.
"We think this plan provides the roadmap for making ICANN into a truly
global and multistakeholder institution," said Dr. Milton Mueller,
professor at the iSchool and the proposal's co-author.
ICANN is a key institution in the global governance of the Internet.
It develops policy for the domain name system and also plays an
important role, with Verisign, Inc., in managing the root of the
Internet's name and address spaces. Both Verisign and ICANN fulfill
their respective operational and policy making roles under separate
contracts with the U.S. government. ICANN's contract with the U.S. is
known as the IANA Functions contract.
While the contracts are an understandable legacy of the Internet's
origins in the U.S. Defense Department and National Science Foundation
contracts, the U.S. has maintained control of ICANN long after it
promised to let go. This has invited other governments, including
authoritarian ones, to demand equal oversight authority over the DNS.
"Unless we take a consistent and principled approach to
non-governmental Internet governance," Dr. Mueller claimed, "it is
only a matter of time before other governments succeed in bringing the
coordination and management of the Internet under the control of
intergovernmental treaty organizations."
Dissatisfaction with the exclusive U.S. role reached a turning point
in October 2013, when the directors of all the major Internet
technical organizations (ICANN, the Internet Engineering Task Force,
the Internet Architecture Board, the World Wide Web Consortium, the
Internet Society, and all five of the regional Internet address
registries) issued a statement calling for "the globalization of ICANN
and IANA functions, towards an environment in which all stakeholders,
including all governments, participate on an equal footing."
Mueller's proposal is an attempt to develop a blueprint for
globalization of the IANA functions. In summary, the plan would
-- Structurally separate the IANA functions from ICANN's policy
process, and ensure that the IANA functions are never used for
political or regulatory purposes
-- Integrate the DNS-related IANA functions with the Root Zone
Maintainer functions performed by Verisign, and put them into a new,
independent "DNS Authority" (DNSA)
-- Create a nonprofit controlled by a consortium of TLD registries and
root server operators to run the DNSA.
-- Complete the transition by September 2015, when the current IANA
"It's important/essential not to conflate policy with the operation of
the root zone," said Dr. Brenden Kuerbis, the co-author of the study,
and a postdoctoral researcher at the iSchool. "It makes sense to put
operational authority in the hands of an entity comprised of the
registries and root server operators, as they are directly impacted by
operation of the root, and have strong incentives to ensure its
stability and security."
"Contractually binding the DNSA to ICANN ensures adherence to the
policy development process, and provides an important accountability
function," Kuerbis added. "It's an institutional design that is
consistent with the multistakeholder model and achievable in the near
A more detailed paper outlining the proposal is available on
the Internet Governance Project website. The proposal was also
formally submitted to the NETMundial (Brazil) meeting on March 2.
Housed at the iSchool, the Internet Governance Project is an alliance
of academics in the fields of global governance, Internet policy, and
information and communication technology. The Project both researches
and publishes analysis of global Internet policy issues. Its goals are
-- Inform and shape Internet public policy choices by providing
independent analysis and timely recommendations.
-- Identify and analyze new possibilities for improving Internet
-- Develop policy positions guided by the values of globalism,
democratic governance and individual rights.
SOURCE School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University
/CONTACT: J.D. Ross, firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-443-3094
CO: School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University
ST: New York
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