ICANN Stakeholders Explore Rep. Kelly’s Defending Internet Freedom Act

Washington Internet Daily – ICANN Stakeholders Deplore Kelly’s Defending Internet Freedom Act

The Defending Internet Freedom Act (HR-5737), if passed, would essentially reduce ICANN to a U.S. government-controlled entity, Internet governance experts said in interviews Friday. That would pro­voke international outrage, they said. The bill’s supporters said the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition demands specific measures to preserve free speech online and to protect ICANN from capture by foreign governments. If ICANN’s multistakeholder community can produce separate proposals that meet those standards for both the transition and ICANN’s accountability process, HR-5737 will be­come dispensable, said Paul Rosenzweig, visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and founder of Red Branch Consulting, which focuses on homeland security.

 The provisions outlined in our bill would prevent the capture and control of ICANN by any gov­ernment or group of governments, including the US,” said a statement Friday from the office of Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. Kelly introduced HR-5737 Wednesday (see 1411200021). The bill would require an IANA consortium, not ICANN, to manage the Internet’s root zone file, it said. Top-level domain registries would finance and manage the consortium. HR-5737 also would require an Internet Freedom Panel within ICANN. The panel would have the power to “review and veto” any proposed changes to the Domain Name System by ICANN’s board.

ICANN understands that Congress will continue to review the IANA transition and expects related hearings in the next congressional session, said Jamie Hedlund, ICANN vice president-strategic programs. “We’ve been grateful for Congress’ support of the multistakeholder model,” he said. Hedlund said ICANN has been “very pleased” with the work of its separate IANA transition and accountability proposal work streams. The IANA transition proposal is on track to meet the tentative deadlines ICANN released in Sep­tember (see 1409110034), Hedlund said. But if those proposals don’t live up to NTIA’s stated principles for the transition, don’t expect the agency to accept them, he said.  Read more