[AfrICANN-discuss] Re: AfrICANN Digest, Vol 28, Issue 3

SM sm at resistor.net
Wed Jun 3 18:03:16 SAST 2009

At 08:20 02-06-2009, Dandjinou Pierre wrote:
>The proposed series of questions is a good start and boil down to 
>investigating  whether the ICANN model, which started 11 years ago, 
>has functionned and should be continued without the JPA.

According to ICANN's mission statement, it coordinates the allocation 
and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the 
Internet, which are:

   Domain names
   Internet protocol addresses
   Autonomous system numbers
   Protocol port and parameter numbers

People generally view domain names as the most important part of the 
Internet.  These domain names are in a system called DNS.  In plain 
language, DNS is like a telephone directory where the domain name is 
like a name and the Internet Protocol (IP) Address is like a telephone number.

IP addresses are managed as a shared resource and allocated based on 
policies which are generally viewed as fair.  Registries within each 
region are responsible for the allocation or assignment of IP addresses.

There isn't any technical limitation preventing us from having more 
than one telephone directory.  As the Internet is global, it is in 
the general interest of its users to agree on a common telephone 
directory.  In 1998, a private corporation called ICANN was 
formed.  That corporation sought to take control over the telephone 
directory.  The U.S. Department of Commerce signed a contract with 
ICANN and convinced other parties to recognize ICANN's authority.  As 
the Internet flourished, conflicts between trademark holders and 
domain name holders were common.  The value of some domain names increased.

In the telephone directory, each name ends with a suffix.  Some 
suffixes such as ".com" are generic and some suffixes (e.g. .jp, .uk, 
.za) are managed by national governments or individuals.  For reasons 
beyond the scope of this message, ICANN cannot tell the entities 
controlling some of these country suffixes what to do.

The telephone directory is accessed through root servers.  There is a 
common misconception that the US Department of Commerce, through 
ICANN, controls all the root servers.

Last month, the European Union (EU) through the EU Commissioner for 
Information Society and Media called for the full privatisation and 
full accountability of ICANN as of 1 October.  The commissioner also 
proposed a multilateral forum for governments to discuss general 
internet governance policy and security issues.  According to the 
proposal, this forum should include two representatives from each 
North America, South America, Europe and Africa, three 
representatives from Asia and Australia, as well as the Chairman of 
ICANN as a non-voting member.

So the real questions today are who gets over domain names and how it 
is controlled.

Nii asked some questions:

>o has ICANN MOU relationship with DoC provided useful guidance over the years?
>o has ICANN successfully accounted to its community in open and 
>transparent way throughout its series of MOUs with DoC

I don't have any comment at this time.

>o has the Internet remained stable and growing during tenure of 
>ICANN services?

The Internet has been stable and it has grown before the existence of 
ICANN.  The Internet has also grown during the tenure of ICANN.  As 
long as a gentleman's agreement is honoured, the Internet will remain stable.

>o has bottomup multistakeholder processes at ICANN been effective?

I don't have any comment at this time.

>o has ICANN demonstrated maturity and is able to remain accountable 
>to the community?

An independent third-party review has been established by ICANN to 
ensure accountability.  That process was put to task 
recently.  According to an ICANN official document, the process is 
non-binding.  The ICANN Board gets the final say.   See ICANN's 
to determine wether it follows general accountability principles.

>o continuation of JPA as is or not?

I don't have any comment at this time.


More information about the AfrICANN mailing list