Privatize, Don’t Internationalise, Internet Oversight, Academics Say

The Snowden revelations have spurred yet another discussion on how to internationalise or globalise the oversight over the management of core infrastructures of the internet, namely the so-called IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions. Why not let the private sector decide?

This week, academics Prof. Milton Mueller and Brenden Kuerbis of Syracuse University, experts in internet governance issues, filed their concept for reform with NetMundial, the upcoming conference in Brazil on the future of internet governance.

The NETmundial conference is scheduled for 23-24 April in Sao Paolo.

Instead of internationalising government control by moving oversight from the US Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to a more inclusive body of governments, they recommend privatisation.

A Domain Name System Authority (DNSA) governed by top-level domain (like .com) registries and the operators of the 13 authoritative root servers of the domain name system would be in charge of managing changes to the DNS root zone.

Development of policies would continue to be performed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) through its multi-stakeholder processes which involve government representatives.

The allocation of internet IP address blocs for further distribution through the five regional internet registries (RIRs) would for the time being also stay with ICANN, while the protocol parameter registry would be moved to its user, the Internet Engineering Task Force.

While proposing a bold step away from the much-debated US oversight, the proposal would allow the fulfilment of the original privatisation promise of the Clinton administration in the creation of ICANN, the authors said.

At the same time, it could cut the Gordian knot of how to involve other governments. One European Union commissioner years ago proposed a council of a dozen or so government members. Also, the existing ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has been mentioned as a potential successor to the NTIA.

The Mueller-Kuerbis proposal, made through the Internet Governance Project at Syracuse, has already sparked some discussion, coming at a time when ICANN is trying to cut its original strong US ties a little more. Read more

Reported  By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

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