[discuss] the three orthogonal questions [was Thoughts welcome on proposed Netmundial submission]

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Mar 5 16:42:12 UTC 2014

-----Original Message-----
>Roland Perry:
>But only because ICANN won the contract (each time so far). It should 
>not be taken for granted that they always will.

Actually, it pretty much can be taken for granted. If someone took the IANA functions contract away from ICANN, one would have two choices: 

1. ICANN's entire policy making apparatus becomes obsolete, and a new organization with an entirely new policy making process comes into existence, generating months or maybe years of uncertainty and political maneuvering, or 

2. The new IANA functions contractor must develop a contract between itself and ICANN, in which it promises to implement ICANN's policy decisions. (Does that sound familiar?)

Option 1 is a disaster that no one wants. Option 2 is one step along the 3-step path outlined by the IGP proposal. Unless one is willing to really separate the IANA functions from ICANN's policy process, ICANN always knows it will get the contract eventually, although it may have to adjust its promises to the Dept of Commerce.

Option 2 is similar to what IGP is proposing, except we also free the IANA functions from unilateral implementation by Verisign. 

My point here is that if you REALLY want to use the IANA functions to make ICANN accountable, you must do exactly what IGP is proposing, namely remove the IANA functions from ICANN. As long as those functions are internalized in ICANN, the award of the contract is an imperfect accountability mechanism at best. ICANN will always control the contract by default, unless the principal is willing to massively disrupt the domain name system. 

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