ICANN’s board of directors has given the clearest indication yet that the organization wants to set up an HQ overseas, further loosening ties with the US government.
The board has formed six new “President’s Globalization Advisory Groups”, made up of half a dozen directors each, one of which has been tasked with advising ICANN on ways to:
Establish complimentary [sic] parallel international structure to enhance ICANN’s global legitimacy. Consider complementary parallel international structure within scope of ICANN’s mandate.
This indicates that ICANN’s reported plan to base itself in Geneva may not be so far-fetched after all, but it also indicates that ICANN currently does not anticipate doing away with its original HQ in Los Angeles.
ICANN already has several offices around the world, but recently there’s been talk of it embedding itself in Switzerland, as an “international organization”, more deeply.
As we’ve previously reported, ICANN may not relocate outside of the US due to its Affirmation of Commitments with the US Department of Commerce, which requires it to remain a US non-profit.
But another of the three panels set up by the board this week will advise ICANN on how to create an “enhanced Affirmation of Commitments.”
Other panels will explore the globalization of the IANA function — currently operated under a procurement contract with Commerce — and the root server system, which is independent operated but heavily US-based.
The ICANN board said in its resolution:
the continued globalization of ICANN must evolve in several ways, including: partnerships in the broader Internet eco-system to strengthen multistakeholder Internet governance frameworks; strengthening ICANN itself, including affirmations of commitments and relationships among the stakeholders; evolving the policy structures to serve and scale to the needs of the global community, and identify opportunities for the future legal structures and IANA globalization.
The plan is for these panels talk to the community at the Singapore meeting next month, before reporting back to the board before ICANN meets for its 50th public meeting in London this coming June.
This week’s move is the latest in a series of decisions made by the ICANN board following the spying revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the subsequent consternation they caused in capitals around the world.
Brazil is set to host a meeting to discuss these kinds of internet governance matters with ICANN and its coalition of the willing in Sao Paulo this April.