[discuss] Problem definition 1, version 5

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at gmail.com
Wed Jan 22 03:37:52 UTC 2014

Purpose of this message

To distribute version 5 of the problem statement.  Some minor wordsmithing has been done since version 4.   Do we have agreement, an can we proceed with this?


I am a member of the Board of Directors of ICANN.  I believe that this affiliation is fairly well known.

The opinions that I express on this list are my own.  I participate on this list in my individual capacity.  ICANN may or may not share the opinions that I express here.  I take no direction from ICANN regarding how I participate on this list, as well as on other lists focusing on Internet governance issues.

I note that I have been involved in ICT activities for economic and social development since 1973, and in the training and use specifically of the Internet globally since 1991.  Both dates substantially precede the formation of ICANN. 

P1 (ver.5). US Government involvement in IANA root zone functions.

1. The Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) has as one of its functions the vetting of changes in the Internet root zone file.  The members of the team that performs the IANA functions are employed by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

2. ICANN has a zero-cost contract with the US government to perform the IANA functions. The US government authorizes changes made to the root zone by verifying that ICANN abides by publicly documented policies prior to the changes being submitted for implementation.

3. It has been a requirement for the contractor providing the IANA function to be a US organization, resulting in the provision of the IANA function being subject to US law and the decisions of the US judiciary.

4. Objections have been raised to US government involvement in this process on several grounds, including exclusivity and concerns of trust. Objections have equally been raised to movement of the function to several international organizations.

5. Acceptable solutions for assignment of the IANA root zone function should meet several criteria: (1) protection of the root zone from political or other improper interference; (2) integrity, stability, continuity, security and robustness of the administration of the root zone; (3) widespread trust by Internet users in the administration of this function; (4) support of a single unified root zone; and (5) agreement regarding an accountability mechanism for this function that is broadly accepted as being in the global public interest. 

6. A number of potential solutions have been proposed; however, there has been no consensus that any of them are broadly acceptable.

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