Marching Closer: The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Transition

As we draw closer to the time whilst the IANA stewardship functions transition far away from US oversight to international stakeholders, LSE alumna and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) NextGen participant Sana Ali talks to Konstantinos Komaitis, Senior Policy Adviser on the Internet Society (ISOC), approximately the implications of the transition to both ICANN and the Internet network as an entire.

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Sana Ali: What is the IANA stewardship feature and how can the transition be defined in easy phrases?

Konstantinos Komaitis: The IANA is an administrative feature of the Internet that keeps track of IP addresses, domain names and protocol parameter identifiers that are utilized by Internet Standards. The transition of the IANA capabilities isn’t something new. It becomes anticipated early on, as a part of the 1998 National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) White Paper which heralded the creation of ICANN itself. At the time, it changed into forecasted that with the aid of 2000 the United States Government might step far away from its oversight role over ICANN.

However, in 2000 America decided it would maintain its oversight role. So the procedure has been in movement considering that then. In easy terms, the transition of the IANA capabilities manner shifting the technical management of these 3 unique capabilities [outlined above] to the global multistakeholder community; it similarly indicates the elimination of the closing piece of oversight manager of a single authority over part of the Internet’s key infrastructure. This is a completely vital circulate.

Why did the US Government determine now to relinquish its control over the IANA functions? There have been speculations that [Edward] Snowden’s revelations might have had something to do with it, in particular, due to the fact ICANN signed the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation in the leak’s aftermath.

There is lots of hype surrounding that. The truth is, we will by no means know precisely what caused it. Yes, possibly that played a function, but it’s far most essential to keep the following in mind: first, for lots, many years, the US Government has accomplished a first-rate activity in making sure oversight over the IANA functions; 2d, the US has repeatedly been on the record as being extraordinarily supportive of the multistakeholder version. This version has been in regular development and has been praised, criticized, examined and tweaked from all instructions for numerous years.

So, America Government has now stated the model has matured and the multistakeholder community is prepared to take in this function. A lot of people would like to characteristic plenty of things to Snowden. I do now not suppose the whole lot is or must be approximately Snowden. Rather than attribute this transition to Snowden, I could characteristic it to the realization that we have a global and inclusive Internet community that is [sufficiently] mature and accountable to take on any such assignment.

What incentive will there be for ICANN’s Board to fulfill the community’s desires while now not accountable to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA; an Executive Branch agency of the United States Department of Commerce] after the transition?

When we speak internet governance, one of the matters we should understand is that primary to the multistakeholder version are the elements of transparency and responsibility. Any Board functioning within this space, that wants to stay applicable and capable of making a contribution to the controversy, needs to stay responsible. We don’t need to have the US Government, or any national authorities, overlooking ICANN’s paintings. The threat of negative the legitimacy of the multistakeholder model is just too excessive for ICANN not to stay responsible or obvious. The individuals of this community need to inspire and fortify the multistakeholder version, and the best manner to do that is to keep fundamental levels of responsibility and transparency.

And, the presence of responsibility frameworks has been consistent at some stage in the records of the Internet – one wishes to appearance no similarly than the accountability mechanisms employed through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), or those of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). ICANN is a key enterprise within the Internet and its Board is completely dedicated to being accountable and working towards what’s satisfactory for the Internet and the global Internet network.

Speaking of less favorable actors, what do you suspect of some governments’ call for greater manage over Internet governance, in particular when it comes to domain names and numbers?

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The role of governments has usually been one of the most vital questions in the internet governance debate. The multistakeholder model is new and is essentially unique from traditional governance systems, so for many years, there was a false impression that the governments have no role, or simply an ornamental role in the model. In truth, they are as important as another actor. We can not do this without the governments, so their cooperation is important.

National governments tend to recognize governance in the context of the Westphalian device, based totally on sovereignty and geographical limitations. The truth that some governments need a more active function is understandable, as it stems from their traditional concept of governance. To a positive extent, it also stems from a loss of clean knowledge of simply what number of roles and obligations are involved in aa hit governance structure referring to something so technical, but also social, because of the internet. Over the years, plenty of governments has begun to grow to be advocates of the multistakeholder version. In shifting ahead, trying to integrate their understanding and willingness to paintings may be important.

How will the upcoming US elections have an effect on the ability of stakeholders to comply with the transition?

NTIA has said they want the transition to be completed before the brand new authorities are available in. New authorities will no longer always see this transition as a concern. The contemporary administration sees no want to increase this transition to a brand new government. The cutting-edge weather is right for this to show up due to the fact the status political weather in the US is familiar with the transition and has been working with all stakeholders intently for a long term.