Brief session description:
Thursday, July 14, 2016 -Larry Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Department of Commerce, announced that NTIA has completed its review of the transition of IANA functions to ICANN, thus the plan will be considered for approval by the U.S. Department of Commerce in August. You can watch the full archived video of Administrator Strickling’s official statement and the very lively panel discussion debate that followed it here.
Details of the session:
A major development in Internet governance was announced at IGF-USA 2016, as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration expressed support for ICANN’s plan to transition oversight for all Internet address and domain name functions from the U.S. government to global stakeholders.
Larry Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator for the NTIA, explained that ICANN’s proposal meets all of NTIA’s criteria, some of which include: supporting the multistakeholder model of Internet governance; maintaining security, stability and resiliency of the Internet; meeting the needs of global customers and departments of IANA services; and maintaining the openness of the Internet.
“NTIA led an intensive inter-agency review to ensure the plan met these criteria, and on June 9, we found that the plan satisfied each and every one of our criteria,” Strickling said.
If approved in August by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the NTIA’s parent organization, the plan will strip away the oversight role of the U.S. government in the domain name system.
“Protecting Internet openness and freedom has been a key criterion for the IANA transition from the day we announced it in March 2014,” Strickland said.
“The best way to preserve Internet freedom is to depend on the community of stakeholders who own and operate, transact business and exchange information over a community of networks that comprises the Internet. Freedom is protected by the open, decentralized nature of the Internet.”
Responding to misconceptions and concerns
While Strickling spent time praising ICANN’s efforts in working out all of the details to assure that the IANA transition would serve the greater good. He focused on the need to reduce all governments’ involvement in Internet governance. He spent the majority of his keynote address addressing some of the rumors and concerns he has heard from opponents of the transition plan.
“Despite the open and transparent two-year process that developed the plan, the many pages of documentation provided by the community to describe and support the plan and the exhaustive review we conducted, misperceptions and outright misrepresentations of the plan continue to circulate,” he said.
Among the misconceptions Strickling addressed were claims that the transition of IANA functions to full supervision by ICANN is “giving away the Internet” and that the Obama administration is rushing the transition plan through.
Strickling grew particularly animated when speaking about the notion the plan is being rushed. Though the contract between the NTIA and ICANN is set to expire in September, Strickling said the plan has had bipartisan support and that the direction to privatize has not been an issue in the last 20 years.
He added that some critics have called for delaying the IANA and ICANN transition until after the general election or until next summer.
Strickling said the multistakeholder system of Internet governance will strengthen the security of the Internet.
“As we work toward completing the transition,” he said, “we must recognize that the multistakeholder model will continue to face challenges, and it’s extremely important that we all remain dedicated to demonstrating our support and respect for the multistakeholder approach in all the venues where it is used.”
– By Bryan Anderson
The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at IGF-USA 2016 included the following Elon University School of Communications students, staff and faculty:
Bryan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Bryan Baker, Elizabeth Bilka, Ashley Bohle, Courtney Campbell, Colin Donohue, Melissa Douglas, Mackenzie Dunn, Maya Eaglin, Christina Elias, Rachel Ellis, Caroline Hartshorn, Paul LeBlanc, Emmanuel Morgan, Joey Nappa, Diego Pineda Davila, Alyssa Potter, Kailey Tracy, Andrew Steinitz, Anna Zwingelberg