ICANN Chairman of the Board asks government to conclude JPA upon expiration this year.
Peter Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors, has sent an eleven page letter (pdf) to National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) asking to end the Joint Project Agreement when it expires later this year. The letter was in response to NTIA’s Notice of Inquiry regarding “the transition of the technical coordination and management of the internet’s domain name and addressing system”.
In the letter, Thrush argues that the JPA is not an oversight mechanism and is widely misunderstood. The U.S. government’s oversight is through its contract with ICANN to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which will continue, Thrush claims. However, in the same letter Thrush argues that the JPA needs to be concluded because other countries view it as oversight:
But to the extent that there is a perception that the JPA is an additional instrument, that perception is harmful and destabilizing to confidence in the original vision of an lnternet that is coordinated not controlled.
It seems that Thrush’s argument is that the JPA doesn’t give any oversight to the U.S. government, but that other countries may view it as oversight. So why fight so vigorously to conclude the JPA if it doesn’t really matter? It’s clear that ICANN wants to get out from under the oversight of the JPA. If this is really just a perception problem, perhaps time would be better spent if ICANN educated the world that the JPA is not an oversight mechanism rather than fighting to conclude it.
ICANN is moving fast.
They have to scramble before everyone understands what they are doing.
M. Menius says
Unbelievable. Are they actually trying to implode?
If ICANN were a baseball team, every batter would strike out for 9 consecutive innings. And at the end of the game, ICANN would still be proclaiming that they played a great game.
Kieren McCarthy says
I don’t buy your logic.
The letter says that the existence of the JPA is damaging as it leads to the perception that it gives the US government oversight of ICANN.
That’s why ICANN wants it ended.
Aside from the fact that I haven’t seen much “vigorous fighting” – unless one letter every 16 months can be taken as vigorous – it is logical then why ICANN would say to the USG that it wants it to conclude.
The letter also *specifically* explains why it feels that MOU/JPA process did matter, why it was so useful and important in building ICANN.
So when you claim that ICANN feels the JPA “doesn’t matter”, you are 180 degrees off.
You also say: “If this is really just a perception problem, perhaps time would be better spent if ICANN educated the world that the JPA is not an oversight mechanism rather than fighting to conclude it.”
I would argue that an Improving Institutional Confidence consultation that has been running for 16 months, that has been through three periods of public comment, been given three specific sessions at the past three ICANN meetings, spent several months as the lead item on the ICANN front page, saw public sessions held in Montevideo, Geneva, Washington, Christchurch and Senegal, and has received responses from governments across the world, the world’s biggest business organizations, and an enormous range of other respondents — I would argue that that is quite a lot of effort.
Rather than determinedly try to pick holes in everything ICANN says, why not read the letter and see if there isn’t some careful thought and logic in what it says.
General manager of public participation, ICANN
Andrew Allemann says
@ Kieren – it’s clear in the letter that Thrush is threading a delicate balance between saying the JPA provides no oversight, but it must be ended because the “rest of the world” views it as an oversight mechanism. When I refer to the JPA not mattering, I’m saying going forward after its current expiration.
Thrush opens the letter stating:
“But the process is not, and has never been, an oversight mechanism. The current NOI makes that plain:
“The MOU does not give the Department of Commerce the ability to exercise oversight in the
traditional context of regulation and the Department of Commerce plays no role in the internal
governance or day-to-day operations of lCANN.””
He then concludes by stating the big concern that Twomey said at the hearing: If the JPA is extended, other parties may view it as continued oversight by the U.S. government and begin working on alternative models.
Andrew Allemann says
Kieren – it’s also worth pointing out, and I don’t say this lightly, that the job you’ve done improving ICANN’s public facing since joining ICANN does not go unnoticed. It has been a substantial improvement.
Jim Fleming says
With all due respect, many things have changed since ICANN was founded. People who claim to have started ICANN were not involved. They arrived much later. ICANN
was set up to BUY TIME, while DNS technology has been changed. Some of the changes are…
1. Modern DNS software does not use any root servers.
2. TLDs can be automatically selected based on DLD voting.
3. The next generation Internet architecture places an intelligent “Node” at each home/office. The network simply connects the Nodes without getting in the way.
It will be interesting to see how ICANN delays new TLDs for more changes to happen. The NSF is funding the GENI project to start over. That will take time.
Also, the .COM RE-BID will take time. ICANN will likely claim nothing can be added with all of the new changes coming, that they do not control.
There will also be several movements to clone sections of .COM to offer domain owners BETTER security and stability. The 4-Letter .COM owners are one such “coalition”. They can support their own .COM servers, whois, etc. as a shadow of the main .COM servers. The new DNS software can use different server clusters based on the length of the names.
Kieren McCarthy says
@ Jim Fleming. Well, that’s certainly one possible future. I tend to think of the Internet more in terms of a multitude of different systems co-existing.
To argue that one will replace another is a bit like the old argument of paperless offices or the end of newspapers.