The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF.com) has finally weighted in on the ICANN transition in a story entitled “Oversight Transition Isn’t Giving Away the Internet, But Won’t Fix ICANN’s Problems”
It’s probably one of the better articles I have read on the story.
“If the transfer of authority hadn’t gone through, the main effect would simply have been to make other countries annoyed.”
“These countries have considered it unfair that oversight over a small but uniquely centralized element of the global Internet should be the responsibility of one government. Their annoyance that the United States had gone back on a 20-year-old promise that it would give up oversight of the DNS root, could have potentially led to renewed pressure for a global body such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to take over that function, or—as is historically offered as a last resort bulwark against ICANN despotism—to the creation of competing, alternate roots. It’s not clear that this would ever amount to more than opportunistic rumbles of complaint by other countries, but it would certainly have added to the continuing atmosphere of distrust the rest of the world has for the United States’ Internet stewardship.”
“By exercising pressure on domain name registrars and registries, it’s possible for law enforcement agencies and rightsholders (both within and without the United States) to exact finer-grained censorship, picking off individual domains that are alleged to host unlawful or undesirable content. This is a far greater and more present danger that continues to receive far less public attention than the IANA transition.EFF has proposed and will be leading a session at the next ICANN meeting in Hyderabad in November to discuss this problem, and to introduce the ICANN community to two of our projects that we believe could be helpful in understanding and addressing it—Shadow Regulation and the Manila Principles.”
“Not much has changed this weekend, and that includes the continuing threats to free expression and privacy that sometimes emerge within the domain name system. Long after the headlines and the clamor over this transition have died down, we’ll be keeping the same vigilant watch.””
I think the EFF has laid out the issue as well as I have seen in pretty plain language.
As far as my opinion, in actuality the only time I believe the US exercised its oversight role with ICANN, is when it demanded that Verisign give up their rate increase built into the 2006 contract, which allowed them to increase the wholesale price of a .com registration by 7% in any four of the 6 year contact in the contract that was extended without the increase in 2012.
The US government did not stop .XXX when there were a lots of governments opposed to it including at one point the US.
The US did not exercise it oversight authority to stop the new gTLD program or to limit it in any way.
So in my opinion the US oversight was just there to comfort users, businesses, the Internet community, that if ICANN ever went off the cliff the US would be there as a last option.
Now that last option is gone.
I see no great reason to celebrate as most in the ICANN community did this weekend.
ICANN doesn’t have the greatest track record of doing what is best for the “internet” its users, even those who applied for new TLD’s over the years.
Many Independent panels have ruled that ICANN has taken action ignoring their own rules and regulations.
ICANN has lots of cash
There are a lot of people making what most would consider a lot of money and certain would put them into the “rich” category in the current US election climate.
The saying “money corrupts absolutely” hasn’t been around for hundreds of years for nothing.
While the transition has a 90%+ chance not to effect the operation of the Internet for users, customers, registrars or registries in the future, I don’t think the transition should have happened simply as the EFF puts it to avoid “making other countries annoyed”.
President Obama being a globalist, we predicted years ago he would allow the US to give up the oversight authority.
The effect of transition will not be judged in the coming months or even the next few years.
However lets remember that the US had “control” over it, a control it hardly used, think of it as a veto power.
At some point 5-10 years from now many may regret that veto power is no longer available.