April 10, 2014 – ICANN Transition, 5 Year Strategic Plan & Congressional Action –
In the past two days, ICANN has posted calls for Public Input on the transition of NTIA (United States) Stewardship of IANA Functions and ICANN’s 5 year Strategic Plan. Based on the timing of these requests, it appears that ICANN is eager to have the issues neatly packaged for discussion and presentation in London at ICANN 50 (June 22-26). As we noted earlier this week, this is all playing out while Congress is pushing the DOTCOM Act of 2014. Earlier today the subcommittee voted (16-10) to approve the legistation — Timing is everything.
It appears that ICANNs goal is to have community input on the new “Steering Group” to create and finalize a transition proposal to present to the U.S. (Nat’l Telecommunications & Information Admin.). As it stands, the current IANA contract is set to expire in September, 2015. So, the time to understand just what is, or is not, at risk and what could or should replace U.S. oversight is upon us.
In case you missed it, yesterday the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology issued opening statements on the Markup of the DOTCOM Act (here are links to statements from Rep. Greg Walden and Rep. Fred Upton or go here to see the videos).
Not surprisingly, the tone of the statements are decidedly pointed, with, among other points, Rep. Greg Walden stating “[w]e also have no intention of letting the Obama Administration cede oversight of the fundamental foundation of the Internet…”
During today’s statements Rep. John Shimkus concluded that “[t]he reality is it would be irresponsible for NTIA to move forward without carefully considering the national security implications of this transfer. The administration says it won’t move to a ‘multistakeholder model’ that could compromise the openness of the Internet today, but they need to explain to Congress and the American people how they’ll guarantee a new multistakeholder regime won’t be influenced by foreign governments or the ITU tomorrow… [w]e only get one chance to get this right. Let’s pass the DOTCOM Act and make sure we do.”
Of course, it’s no surprise that the Republican led Congress is “waving the flag” on this issue and attacking the President. However, the best advice came from Rep Walden, who urged his colleagues to read the IANA contract to understand the issues. You should too, here’s a copy.
Interestingly, while Congress ruminates about loss of U.S. control of this vital worldwide asset, we should not forget that the UN and ITU all too eager to take over. Seems like our time is best spent working with ICANN and participating in and shaping the transition process rather than stammer and flog the Obama Administration. This process was in place long before Obama came into office. June is not that far off, so it’s time for you to read and begin your own lobbying efforts. As the nice picture above shows, ICANN really want’s (needs) our help.