[governance] NTIA says ICANN "does not meet the requirements" for IANA renewal

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Mar 10 14:12:06 EST 2012

Perhaps the next IGF should have some sessions focusing on the nature of,
and a definition for "the global public interest".


-----Original Message-----
From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org
[mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Robert Guerra
Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:23 AM
To: governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: [governance] NTIA says ICANN "does not meet the requirements" for
IANA renewal

Thought i'd share the following news that is popping up on twitter regarding
NTIA's IANA renewal RFP...

NTIA says ICANN "does not meet the requirements" for IANA renewal

Kevin Murphy, March 10, 2012, 15:21:51 (UTC), Domain Policy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has dealt a
stunning blow to ICANN in its bid to carry on running the internet's
critical IANA functions.

The NTIA said this hour that it has canceled the RFP for the new IANA
contract "because we received no proposals that met the requirements
requested by the global community"

NTIA thinks that ICANN's bid was unsatisfactory, in other words.

The NTIA said:

Based on the input received from stakeholders around the world, NTIA added
new requirements to the IANA functions' statement of work, including the
need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation, a robust
companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened
respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting
requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the
international community.

The government may cancel any solicitation that does not meet the
requirements. Accordingly, we are cancelling this RFP because we received no
proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community. The
Department intends to reissue the RFP at a future date to be determined
(TBD) so that the requirements of the global internet community can be

However, it has extended ICANN's current IANA contract until September 30,

This means ICANN still has its IANA powers over the DNS root zone, at least
for another six months.

While the NTIA has not yet revealed where ICANN's bid for the contract fell
short, it is known that the NTIA and ICANN's senior management did not
exactly see eye to eye on certain issues.

One of the key sticking points is the NTIA's demand that the IANA contractor
- ICANN - must document that all new gTLD delegations are in "the global
public interest".

This demand is a way to prevent another controversy such as the approval of
.xxx a year ago, which the Governmental Advisory Committee objected to on
the grounds that it was not the "the global public interest".

Coupled with newly strengthened Applicant Guidebook powers for the GAC to
object to new gTLD application, the IANA language could be described as "if
the GAC objects, you must reject".

If the GAC were to declare .gay or .catholic "not in the global public
interest", it would be pretty tough for ICANN to prove otherwise.

But ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has previously stated that he believed such
rules imposed by the US government would undermine the multistakeholder

He told the NTIA last June that the draft IANA contract language stood to
"rewrite" ICANN's own process when it came to approving new gTLDs.

The IANA functions contract should not be used to rewrite the policy and
implementation process adopted through the bottom-up decision-making
process. Not only would this undermine the very principle of the
multi-stakeholder model, it would be inconsistent with the objective of more
clearly distinguishing policy development from operational implementation by
the IANA functions operator.

Since then, language requiring ICANN to prove "consensus" on new gTLD
delegations was removed, but language requiring it to demonstrate the
"global public interest" remains.

The game is bigger than petty squabbling about new gTLDs, however.

The US government is worried about International Telecommunications Union
treaty talks later this year, which many countries want to use to push for
government-led internet governance.

A strong GAC, backed by an enforceable IANA contract, is one way to field
concerns that ICANN is not responsive enough to government interests.

It's tempting to view the deferral of the IANA renewal as an attempt to wait
out Beckstrom's tenure as CEO - he's set to leave at the end of June - and
deal with a more compliant replacement instead.

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