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.