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Roundup: industry reaction to US giving up IANA role

Kevin Murphy, March 16, 2014, 14:44:49 (UTC), Domain Policy

Members of the domain name industry and ICANN community reacted generally positively to the news Friday night that the US will step aside from its central role in ICANN oversight.

Several companies, organizations and individuals issued early statements in response. We present a summary of those to hit the wires so far here.

First, the so-called I* organizations (IETF, IAB, RIRs, ccTLD ROs, ISOC, and W3C), which manage the internet’s various technical functions and standards, issued a joint statement via ICANN:

Our organizations are committed to open and transparent multi-stakeholder processes. We are also committed to further strengthening our processes and agreements related to the IANA functions, and to building on the existing organizations and their roles. The Internet technical community is strong enough to continue its role, while assuming the stewardship function as it transitions from the US Government.

The Domain Name Association’s executive director Kurt Pritz said this:

The DNA welcomes a deliberate, thoughtful process, inclusive of all stakeholder views to determine the future of the IANA function. As our members are some of the most widely recognized customers of IANA, we will be playing an active role in the process moving forward. The US government performs admirably in this role and it is important that any new oversight mechanism perform as reliably and consistently, and in a manner that prevents the Internet from onerous regulations and/or content controls.

New gTLD portfolio applicant Donuts said:

The IANA function is very important to Internet stability, and Donuts supports the multistakeholder approach to managing this vital resource. As the largest applicant for new top-level domains, we look forward to providing a constructive contribution in this multi-stakeholder discussion. It’s critical that any new mechanisms for IANA oversight ensure not only stability and accountability but also uphold the vital public sector role in promoting Internet innovation and openness.

Lisa Hook, CEO of back-end registry provider Neustar, said in a press release:

We share the US government’s view that the time has come for ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop the policies, procedures, and accountability framework needed to transition ultimate responsibility for the IANA functions, and we look forward to participating in that process.

Back-end and portfolio applicant Afilias said in its own press release:

We endorse the statements of the NTIA and the organizations noted above [the I*s] with respect to the maturation of these organizations and processes, and we are committed to continuing to contribute to the stewardship of the Internet as part of a globally inclusive, open and transparent multi-stakeholder community.

Michele Neylon, CEO of domain name registrar Blacknight Solutions said:

This is an incredibly historic and important day for Internet governance. As a member of the International governance and infrastructure communities I applaud this move away from a single government to a regulating body that represents the interests of the global community. However, the real challenge now lies ahead in identifying and implementing a strong, diverse community to oversee these crucial organizations.

Milton Mueller, the principal academic behind the Internet Governance Project blogged:

IGP has been leading the call for the US government to be consistent about its non-governmental approach to Internet governance since 2005. Naturally, we were gratified to see the Commerce Department finally come around to that position. Far from “giving up” something or “losing control,” the U.S. is sure to find that its policy has gained strength. We have just made it a lot harder for opponents of a free and open Internet to pretend that what they are really against is an Internet dominated by one hegemonic state.

The news broke rather late on a Friday night, with an NTIA press release and hastily convened ICANN press conference, after the story was leaked to the Washington Post.

There hasn’t been much time for formal written reactions yet, but I’m sure more will be forthcoming as people get into work on Monday morning.

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