Breaking: US To Give Up Control Over ICANN: We Predicted It in 2008

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. government is preparing to relinquish oversight for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

We predicted back in 2008 that the Obama Administration would give up control over ICANN.

According to WSJ.com the move is viewed as a response to increasing international concern about U.S. control over the Internet’s structure, particularly in light of the recent disclosures about surveillance by the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Other governments have complained that the department’s contract with ICANN gives the U.S. unique influence over the Web, which it could use for a wide variety of purposes. In response to those concerns, the Obama administration is planning a process to transition oversight of the contract when it runs out in September 2015.”

“The administration’s main concern is that the new governance model for ICANN be free from any government interference, whether a single nation or coalitions of governments like the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union. Any new governance model must fulfill several conditions, with independence from government influence being the primary factor. The new governance plan must also preserve the security and stability of the Internet while keeping it open and free from censorship.”

“The impact of the change remains unclear, because the Commerce Department’s day-to-day role in overseeing the contract with ICANN is largely clerical.

However, other nations have suggested the U.S. can still use its current authority to block certain websites for reasons like copyright infringement or having links to known terrorists. One goal of transitioning ICANN to nongovernmental oversight would be to provide more transparency to all nations into how the Internet’s root structure operates.”

The Washington Post is also reporting that  “U.S. officials set strict conditions and an indeterminate timeline for the transition from federal government authority, saying that a new oversight body must be created and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world, said Lawrence Strickling”

The announcement essentially ruled out the possibility that the United Nations would take over the U.S. role, something many nations have advocated and U.S. officials have long opposed.

“The looming change — if successfully executed — would end or at least dramatically alter the long-running contract between the U.S. Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based non-profit group that goes by the acronym ICANN. That contract is due to expire next year, though in the past it has been repeatedly extended.”

“I welcome the beginning of this transition process that you have outlined. The global community will be included in full,” said Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN

Comments

  1. says

    so it will be interesting, is this a “giveup” that ICANN model is broken.

    is it just the IANA contract which had a different schedule i think to renew than the Root Zone stuff?

    ICANN CEO seems to be on board so ICANN takes a powder? Wonder what happens to the $300 million?

    Page Howe

  2. says

    this is great news, about time, maybe the US government can learn from this?,
    be honest and transparent as a government, because whistle-blowers and leaks will keep
    on doing their work, be honest and then their is nothing to hide

  3. says

    im not a fan, the enemy i know is better then a crapshoot. Internet and DNS Root has worked for 25 years, now lets give it to all though international organizations that work so well, WIPO, Putin, UN?

    The USA is the fairest and freeest country in the world, the fact the you can commit treason and live is only one example.

    Page Howe

  4. says

    So after reading the Press release, it looks like the US is letting oversight of ICANN go, to no one in particular, and letting ICANN create the group that it will be accountable to, cant be a government or intergovernment body, so it has to make up the structure and composition of someone to be accountable to ????? is this like ghostbusters, chooose your destoyer…the STAY PUFF MARSHMELLOW MAN.

    wacky

  5. says

    Good news in my opinion. Big brother already controls too much. No governmental entity should control the internet. This may be a start in the right direction. We’ll see what happens, but the council should be voted on IMO and be from several different countries with limited board terms.

  6. bnalponstog says

    I predict this will result in a fractured/fragmented internet. Not a single internet but several internets. Prior to that there will be nasty politics and power plays approaching unimaginable. Back room deals, billion dollar payoffs, vitriol and backstabbing. In other words, business as usual.

  7. says

    Only an idiot would call this good news. This is BAD news. Globalism is absolutely and always BAD…and that’s precisely what this move means.

    The web, as we know it, will become more unsafe and if you think the current version of ICANN is corrupt now…just wait and see the monstrosity that will replace it.

  8. says

    I’m with Page on this one. What will ICANN do to consider the rights of anyone as this process moves forward? Will there be sound accountability going forward? If there isn’t at least some government to which we can petition to address grievances, then to whom to we petition for redress, the so-called “stakeholders”? Who will define them?

    We are stakeholders, but we – I refer specifically to domain investors and domain developers – have a difficult enough time under the current system. Remember, ICANN is the agency that concocted the URS in an effort to protect trademark and other intellectual property holders. Such a system already existed, and it is being widely abused. If these are the people who will define who has a legitimate stake in this thing called the internet and the web, then what remaining credibility exists shall evaporate quickly, as a puddle in the desert sun. This is not great news to me; I am deeply concerned.

    There is at least some hope that the rights of domain investors and developers will be given some consideration, but that will come from a select few who, through very shrewd investment and posturing over the past ten years, have carefully positioned themselves as new registries. Frank Schilling is a great example. However, that voice will only be as loud as the pocketbook that supports it. If things do not go well for the newer registries, their ‘stakeholder’ position will be less relevant than the more embedded types, like Verisign and GoDaddy.

    I am not opposed to globalization of the web, of bringing in fresh voices and opening the process; however, the internet can not be protected by a global group of democracy-come-lately nations that are still struggling with basic issues like free speech and property rights. We have close to two-and-a-half centuries of experience with those issues here, and even we are still struggling with it. As Page says, this is still the best place from which to have an ultimate supervisor authority keep watch over the entire web, Internet and the DNS.

    Take a look at what Russia has been doing to websites, of late, in the wake of their aggression in Crimea. The rest of this planet is not ready to treat the web fairly. They barely do it now, and there are many lapses even when an honest effort is made. After all, how many conflicts exist among the UDRP panelists. That kind of conflict would never, ever be tolerated in the U.S. system of jurisprudence. A judge could never rule on a case where he also has a connection to one of the parties to a dispute.

    No. Indeed, this is not the time for this kind of move.

  9. Joseph Peterson says

    Why would a government give up its own power and influence? So other, less powerful governments complain … OK, pay some lip service to the idea of a handover of power. Set some criteria that ensure the failure of any proposal — i.e. no governments and no intergovernmental bodies allowed. Then wait to rebuff the proposal, declaring it unworkable or unfair to some stake holder group that must (at all costs) be protected.

    That’s how I envision this playing out — at least for a number of years. In the final analysis, the only kind of stewardship that can stand up to one government’s control is some other government or intergovernmental body. The U.S. administration knows this. Any consortium of less powerful bodies will be easily manipulated by something the size of a government. That or else they’ll fail in some way at some point, which will provide a pretext for a government — probably the U.S. government — to reassert full control. For the benefit of the world, of course.

    This is human nature. People in power don’t give that power away when they can avoid it.

  10. Horizon says

    I’m sorry but I,m an Australian investor(domains) and while I love America,it is NOT the only free, and democratic country on the planet.The USA seems to forget that they only make up about 7% of the world,maybe a little more.So why shouldn’t other lage and medium sized democratic counties be invited,somehow,to have a voice in this matter? Diversity will help to stop corruption,IF a world “panel” could be formed to oversee and manage the www?

  11. BrianWick says

    And Horizon –
    The formar USSR only represented probably 7% of the world population as well.
    I am so entertained what the utterly naïve take for granted

  12. says

    @Horizon

    im with you, im a murican’ and i cringe nearly every time i hear “the usa is the most free country in the world”

    adding the word “fairest” to it makes it double cringe worthy.. for those interested take a look at any of the lists that rank “freedom”… they use different scoring methods but USA is never anywhere close to #1.

    dammit small town elementary school – i really wanted to believe it but it aint true. now i dont know if this would be good for ICANN or not but the whole “usa is best its most free and fair” thing is, uh…. something else.

  13. Horizon says

    Brian,maybe you could expand on what you said,am I naive Brian,or are you somehow taking the “high ground” B.S approach here,I’m not with you,please explain.
    Anyway this flying of the flags stuff,has nothing to do with the disscussion,just saying,WHY can’t other 1st world countries have a say in,and help moderate the net,and all that goes with it,good and bad.Oh,and just to finish,there are countries that have had real democracy HUNDREDS of years before Australia or the U.S.A

  14. says

    cuz

    ‘murican exceptionalism.

    Horizon, you’re likely not going to get a real answer from most people without any hidden flag waving implanted in the explanation. they used to teach us in most schools (and probably still do) that ‘MURICA IS THE GREATEST AND MOST FREE COUNTRY ON THE PLANET! they would actually word it exactly like that it. could be a unique place for other reasons, i guess.. but the oversimplification of this type of thinking is common.

    whoops, oh yeah, this discussion is about ICANN and U.S. oversight… can i remove my hand from my heart and wipe the tear from my right eye now?

  15. Horizon says

    Ontheinterweb,I like your independent thinking,I suppose most countries have their own form of propaganda for us sheep,it keeps us in line….appreciate your open views Mate.

  16. Louise says

    We’ll see how it pans out. Renewal pricing was moving to ability to pay, or perceived ability to pay, or what the syndicate could ask for a domain in a sale, without the move to global. It almost couldn’t get any worse. NTIA / DOJ supplied a thin protection, when it forbid Verisign to raise prices on dot com, for a cycle.

    If the new oversight committee tries to make Facebook pay $millions for the renewal of its domains: FB.com and Facebook.com, which must be the most valuable on the planet, we’ll see kicking and screaming from that and other entities.

    If Joe Blogger gets his renewals increased, because of perceived success from his blog or advertising, to the point of not being affordable, it will ruin the internet. The small voices is what defines the character of the internet. As it is, a domain with backlinks and traffic that the owner puts value, becomes a target for theft of the syndicate operating in the zone . . . Anything might be an improvement over how things are now.

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