(Between jet lag and the pace of ICANN-related events, it's taken a while to summarize the events at ICANN 49 in Singapore...)
Monday, March 23, began with the Opening Ceremony, even though the work of ICANN started on Saturday for many attendees. This ICANN meeting is freighted with history - Singapore was the site of ICANN 1, and also the site of ICANN 41 in 2011, where the New gTLD Program was officially approved. And now it has become the official kick-off for the IANA transition, the biggest change in the structure of Internet governance in many a year.
Steve Crocker, Chairman of the ICANN Board - himself freighted with history - kicked off the Opening Ceremony, then ceded the floor to Fadi Chehade, President and CEO of ICANN. Not surprisingly, much of the Opening, after the Ceremony, was devoted to Internet Governance - the IANA transition and the upcoming NETmundial meeting.
Immediately after the Opening, the room was turned over to a meeting that wasn't even on the schedule two weeks ago - "IANA Accountability Transition." After touching on other developments at ICANN, Fadi walked through a series of slides, showed ICANN's vision of how the transition process should go - and subtly pushed a plan where oversight of the IANA function is transferred to a global "multistakeholder mechanism" (not a separate entity), while the IANA function remains ensconced within ICANN, functionally separate and insulated from the policy business of ICANN. While this may be the wish list for ICANN management, others definitely disagreed on both points. An active discussion followed. The community made it clear, in comments from the floor, that ICANN needed to respect the bottom-up, consensus-driven multistakeholder process in facilitating the discussion and process of development.… Continue Reading
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is descending on Singapore for its 49th semi-annual meeting: #ICANN49. A week ago, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, dropped a bombshell - the United States would relinquish its oversight of key functions of the Internet: the "IANA functions." The NTIA decreed that ICANN would oversee the transition of this oversight to the "global stakeholder community," and the NTIA wanted it done by the end of September 2015, when the current "IANA contract" expires.
This announcement changed the focus, the agenda, and the tone of the ICANN meeting. After the "Snowden revelations," it was clear that "Internet Governance" was going to be a major topic - but on a theoretical level, with no particular timeline and no particular role for ICANN. Now, with a real project, a real role and a real deadline, ICANN and the ICANN community are on the clock and under the microscope.… Continue Reading