Lawrence Strickling, ICANN transition needs participation, transparency, and consensus

By Fiercegovernmentit

A “smooth transition” from U.S. control over web addresses to a new, international group will require active participation of stakeholders, support for the new governance model, consensus and greater accountability and transparency, said the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at ICANN’s London meeting June 23.

Lawrence Strickling, who’s also assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, delivered his remarks during the high-level governmental meeting at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers conference, which has reportedly drawn more than 3,300 registrants.

In March, the U.S. announced it would not renew the contract with the California-based nonprofit ICANN to manage Internet addresses when it expires on September 30, 2015. ICANN is leading a process to oversee the transition to a third party that will oversee the group. But if more time is needed to come up with a plan for a new governance model then the United States said it could extend the contract past 2015 and for up to four years.

The United States has laid down several conditions that should be part of the plan, including a stipulation that it would not accept a government-led or intergovernmental organization to replace NTIA’s role.

During the London meeting, Strickling said in prepared remarks that before any transition takes places, the consensus plan must ensure “uninterrupted and stable functioning of the Internet and its present openness.”

This plan should be developed in an open and transparent way that requires input into the process, he said. People also need to show their support for the multistakeholder model that will govern the Internet, Strickling added, as well as improve the accountability and transparency of ICANN itself.

Another point was the importance of consensus among governments.

“No one country, no two countries, no 10 countries can claim to speak on behalf of the public interest,” Strickling said in his remarks.

He said governments can only provide advice on public policy to ICANN, according to the group’s bylaws, “and any effort by governments to eliminate that requirement of consensus will simply weaken the role of governments within ICANN.”

For more:
read Lawrence Strickling’s prepared remarks

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