Yesterday the Board of ICANN has formally approved the accountability proposal, becoming this date as a key milestone in the transfer of stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, IANA, functions to the global multistakeholder community.
But why is the transfer of stewardship of the IANA functions so relevant for the Internet ecosystem?
IANA functions consist in the management of Internet’s central root zone of the domain name system and other core databases. These are the basic functions that provide technical stability of the Internet.
These functions had been contracted to ICANN by the United States Department of Commerce’s NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), who actually is implementing U.S. government’s stewarddship role over the IANA functions.
By transferring this stewardship role from the USA NTIA to the whole community, the USA will give up their oversight role over the Internet to the wide community, thus effectively building an open, independent and inclusive multi-stakeholder governance model of the internet.
The approval of the accountability proposal is the first step towards this new governance model of the Internet. It ensures ICANN remains accountable to the global Internet community in the implementation of the IANA functions, and provides a framework of enhancing trust, posing limits on what ICANN is and is not permitted to do ensuring ICANN adheres to the bottom-up, community-driven multistakeholder approach currently in place.
Once the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group has approved the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal, ICANN Board is referring the final proposal to the NTIA, who shall now review it. NTIA shall analyse, over a period not expected to exceed 90 days, the final proposal meets the criteria outlined when the transition was announced. Other U.S. government agencies impacted by the transition shall join NTIA in the analysis, with recommendations from the U.S. General Accountability Office expected to be followed. U.S. Congress has already shown a strong interest in the transition, so it is expected the Congress will closely monitor and review the proposal as well as NTIA’s evaluation. This process shall lead to finalise the transition of IANA to the international community by the end of September 2016.
The achieved proposal is the result of the joint effort by 30 member from IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group together with over 200 members of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability plus hundreds individuals more participating through all stakeholder groups in open consultation processes. This work has extended over almost two years, starting right after NTIA’s announcement as of March 14th, 2014. The final outcome evidences the soundness of the open, transparent and inclusive multistakholder Internet Governance model to be taken as a paragon for future Internet Governance processes to follow. Congratulations to all!