[Fwd: US Grants ICANN Extension of Global Domain Powers]
Ant Brooks <ant@...
2003-02-05 12:03:35 GMT
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: US Grants ICANN Extension of Global Domain Powers
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 11:53:27 -0500
From: "Pierre Dandjinou" <dandjinou.pierre@...>
US Grants ICANN Extension of Global Domain Powers
By Kevin Murphy
February 3, 2003
ICANN, which manages policy aspects of the internet's domain name system, is
to be granted a three-year extension of its powers to manage the world's
country-code domain names, ComputerWire has learned.
The US Department of Commerce last week quietly published a document
detailing its decision to "sole-source" the contract for the so-called IANA
function to ICANN, as opposed to opening the contract for competitive
ICANN and a spokesperson for the DoC's National Telecommunications and
Information Administration both confirmed the extension, although ICANN
general counsel Louis Touton added that no contract has yet been signed. ANA
is responsible for maintaining the definitive list of which organizations,
individuals, and domain servers are associated with
approximately 240 country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .uk,
The decision will cause concern to some in the international
community,particularly those concerned in the policy aspects of the
ccTLD -industry. Some ccTLD operators had considered a counter-bid for the
IANA contract before its March expiration.
A statement buried six clicks into a Federal web site heavily suggests That
the ICANN-DoC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the IANA contract are
essentially inseparable, and that ICANN is the only party fit to run IANA.
The NTIA document said that ICANN, having assumed "key resources and
associated privatization responsibilities under the MoU" is therefore the
"only responsible entity that can continue to provide seamless performance
of the IANA functions".
As a further link, the three-year IANA contract will come up for renewal at
periods of six months, one year, one year, and six months - paced to
coincide exactly with the times the MoU comes up for renewal, Touton and the
ICANN's Touton added that the decision was made because of how closely
linked the policy-making functions of ICANN are with the policy-implementing
functions of IANA, and that it "wouldn't make sense" for a third party to
take over IANA.
ICANN has been accused in the past of using the IANA function to further its
own ends. One of the Herculean tasks in the MoU requires ICANN to sign
stable operating agreements with each of the ccTLD operators, but this has
In the majority of the cases when ICANN has signed such an agreement, it has
coincided with the re-delegation of a ccTLD to a new operator. The most
recent such deal was with the new government of Afghanistan.
Last October, a number of ccTLDs, disgruntled with their treatment by ICANN
over the four years of its existence, said they would consider mounting a
bid to take over the IANA function, being the groups most affected by its
But the current international political climate would have made the US
venturing outside its borders for a contractor unlikely. Recent
denial-of-service attacks against the DNS root servers has created a mindset
among some where the DNS is a US national, rather than international,
resource that must be protected against "terrorism" like any physical
Dufton (n.): The last page of a document that you always leave face
down in the photocopier and have to go and retrieve later.
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