Near-final IANA Transition Proposal is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fail US Government check list

IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal
IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal

The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) has posted the first Proposal to Transition the Stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the Global Multistakeholder Community. Comments are due by the deadline of 8 September 2015 at 23:59 UTC. Te group is asking for public to review the document.

However an in-depth analysis by The Register’s Kieren McCarthy, on his latest article shows a Hodgepodge of flawed ideas, bad processes. 

He notes that

Unfortunately, the near-final version is a hodgepodge of ideas and compromises that fails to address a key aspect of Uncle Sam’s role.

In addition, the plan substitutes a complex set of unworkable process steps in place of the US Department of Commerce’s simple oversight of the internet. And it is reliant on a separate, unfinished process for improving accountability at the organization that will assume de facto control, ICANN.

Most of the problems in the plan stem from political rather than technical issues, which means its main aspects are likely to remain even after a public comment period.

In particular, the decision to award ICANN control of the IANA contract through a wholly controlled affiliate remains controversial, and there is some reason to believe that the process was distorted in order to arrive at a pre-decided outcome.

The unnecessary complex processes included in the plan are, however, likely to be simplified before the final version, as they were earlier in the process.


Most broadly, the plan [PDF] envisions creating a subsidiary of domain-name overseer and current IANA contract holder ICANN to take over all the technical functions.

That approach would give ICANN’s board “the authority to approve any major architectural and operational changes in the management of the root zone.” In other words, control of the internet’s future structure.

In an effort to keep that additional power in check, a number of review committees are proposed. One will review the day-to-day operations and another will be able to recommend moving the entire contract away from ICANN as a final backstop.

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