[discuss] Roadmap for globalizing IANA

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Sat Mar 8 22:13:09 UTC 2014

From: Vinay Kesari [mailto:vinay.kesari at gmail.com]

> How is accountability to be ensured, though? A fixed-term contract
> (which is what the paper proposes) acts as a check since the threat of
> non-renewal always hangs over the head of the policy making body.
> But if we move away from this idea (as suggested in your trailing email)
> to an open ended arrangement combined with clauses relating to exigent
> circumstances, my fear is that the proposal then becomes incompatible with
> (or at least materially dilutes) Principle 1, which is 'Completely separate
> root zone file modification from policymaking'. Because DNSA would then
> need to actually monitor orders from ICANN/the policy making body, to
> ensure that they do not fall afoul of the 'safety valve clause'.

This is an excellent point. I think it is a point that needed to be made and needs to be discussed. But I don't think it undermines the case for the DNSA-ICANN separation.

First, I think an ICANN-DNSA contract that contains material relating to "exigent circumstances" is not incompatible with the separation of policy and root zone implementation. Any contractual relationship - and in fact, any formalized regulatory relationship, whether between private parties or between private parties and governments - may at some point produce disputes about interpretation. If ICANN runs amok and starts requiring registries to do things that they don't think they are obligated to do, or shouldn't be doing, then it's good that they will be in a position to legally challenge certain implementation requests. Likewise, if DNSA runs amok, it is good that ICANN will be in a position to challenge it legally. This is how checks and balances work. You cannot know in advance which party will be the renegade, so you try to set up a structure that balances power.

So, of course DNSA would have to monitor ICANN requests to ensure that they are authorized, just as ICANN (and others) would need to monitor DNSA implementations to ensure that they are correct.

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