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

Roland Perry roland at internetpolicyagency.com
Thu Mar 6 11:02:32 UTC 2014

In message <bb224ece8db94d2e82827e5e7f1890a3 at EX13-MBX-13.ad.syr.edu>, at 
16:42:12 on Wed, 5 Mar 2014, Milton L Mueller <mueller at syr.edu> writes
>-----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.

I don't understand why an alternative organisation performing the IANA 
function would cause your option (1) to be triggered, nor why the 
successful bidder has to have a direct contract with the policymaking 
stakeholders. The nature of the required relationship is summed up in 

The Contractor, in the performance of its duties, must have or develop
a close constructive working relationship with all interested and 
affected parties to ensure quality and satisfactory performance of the 
IANA functions. The interested and affected parties include, but are not 
limited to, the multi-stakeholder, private sector led, bottom-up policy 
development model for the domain name system (DNS) that the Internet 
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) represents;
the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture 
Board (IAB); Regional Internet Registries (RIRs); top-level domain (TLD)
operators/managers (e.g., country codes and generic); governments; and 
the Internet user community.


The Contractor is required to perform the IANA functions, which are 
critical for the operation of the Internet’s core infrastructure, in a 
stable and secure manner. The IANA functions are administrative and 
technical in nature based on established policies developed by 
interested and affected parties as enumerated in Section C.1.3.
Roland Perry

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