[discuss] Roadmap for globalizing IANA

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Mon Mar 10 19:51:17 UTC 2014

Douglas, thanks for your carefully thought out comments, my response below:
Whilst I agree that the separation is important, it must be noted that contractually, this is the status-quo: ICANN makes policy and IANA is responsible for "the coordination of the assignment of technical Internet protocol parameters." Given that the IANA function is being fulfilled by ICANN I would assume this would give rise to outsiders construing this as a conflict of interest and at the same time lead to possible blurring of lines within ICANN of the two functions --- and by extension contracts.
MM: Separation is _not_ really the status quo. If you really want to separate IANA and ICANN, one should not make one of them a wholly owned-and-operated subsidiary of the other, living in the same building, under the same management.
Principle #2: Don't internationalize political oversight: end it
I have a particular problem with DNSA-related & root zone maintainer functions being controlled by only registry operators: IMHO the vast majority of registries have either political or monetary motivation and given the slightest opportunity, abuse would be inevitable. If this were a purely  root-zone-maintainer function where the SoW was "execute orders from above", that would be ok, but recall your proposal is a merger of IANA function and the root zone maintainer which causes a bit of concern.
MM: These kinds of concerns, I still believe, stem mostly from a lack of understanding of what root zone maintenance and change is. Remember, the information in the root zone is data about TLDs themselves. Do you not believe that TLDs should be able to directly control entering and changing their own data? What, exactly, do you see being abused? Please be specific. Please explain also how any untoward political and monetary motivations of one registry would not be checked by the other registries, or by its contract with ICANN, or by competition authorities.
I have also noticed a conspicuous absence of anything in your proposal on the USG-ICANN (not IANA) contract. With the IANA contract gone, I would expect more than ever that any power in the USG-ICANN contract would be checked;  failure to do so leaves USG with unilateral power to influence the policy making process --- which as you recall will be the only body with the "brains" in the new ecosystem.
MM: I do not understand this comment. There is no USG-ICANN contract other than the IANA contract. Perhaps you are referring to the Affirmation of Commitments (AoC), which is not a contract. As many people know, I am not enthusiastic about the AoC, but we do not address it in the IANA globalization proposal because it has nothing to do with IANA. It is absent because it relates to the policy making function, and we explicitly stated that our proposal does not address reform of the policy side. (Please refer to Principle #4)
It really seems to me that people have a lot of trouble conceptually separating the policy aspects of ICANN from the root zone management functions - and that accounts for most of the trouble we are encountering here. More evidence below.
My suggestion is a modification of the proposal to:

1.                   End unilateral USG oversight over ICANN and replace the USG oversight over ICANN with something more geographical et al representative:  multi stakeholder, multilateral etc.? I don't know yet -- but the principle should be true representation of all stakeholders.
MM: First, you are talking about the policy making function. So you are not proposing to modify _our_ proposal, which does not deal with the reform of the policy making process at all. you are proposing a new proposal on how to reform the policy side. No time here to address the specifics of your proposal, but I would say that you don't need yet another committee overlay to provide "oversight" over ICANN process, what you need are better forms of accountability in ICANN's board selection and policy makiung process. And unlike advocates of the AoC, I do not see a review committee as a serious form of accountability.

2.                   ICANN continues to develop policy and provide a governance layer over the DNSA
The whole point of separating DNSA from ICANN is to divide the power. You have violated principle #1. I think you may be the first person I've seen who does not agree with principle #1.
3.                   Once the IANA technical contract is ended, ICANN signs a contract with DNSA which performs technical function based on the policies and stays under  supervision of ICANN
Ditto above comment. "Under supervision of ICANN" violates separation principle.
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