The Council of Europe has released an important report on how human rights apply to ICANN. The findings? Not only do ICANN policies intersect in important ways with free expression and privacy rights, but many ICANN policies and procedures are obviously inconsistent with those rights.
On February 25 the Senate Commerce committee will be holding hearings related to ICANN. For Congress, the hearings will be a progress report on the IANA transition and the ICANN accountability process. Testimony will come from the Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, and business lobbyist and former State Department ambassador David Gross.
Last month, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issued a carefully-worded statement urging ICANN – the overseer of much of the Internet’s fundamental naming and numbering infrastructure – to take more vigorous action against the “use of domain names for illegal and abusive activities, including those related to IP infringement” (i.e., motion picture piracy). [See "MPAA Pushes for ICANN Policy Changes to Target 'Pirate' Domains"].
And just a few days ago, the recording industry joined in; a letter from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to ICANN, while expressing the industry’s “disappointment with . . . ICANN’s treatment of copyright abuse complaints filed to date,” similarly urged ICANN to move more vigorously to ensure that domain name registries and registrars “investigate copyright abuse complaints and respond appropriately.”
On Friday and Saturday, the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) met and succeeded in assessing proposals submitted by the IETF for protocol parameters and the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) for numbers.
For the time being, both the IETF/protocol parameter proposal and the RIRs’ proposal for numbers would retain ICANN as the IANA functions provider. But both proposals established (or, in the case of IETF, retained) a severable contractual relationship with ICANN.
The U.S. Congress is now circling about the process intently, declaring this week “Internet Governance awareness week” to encourage public awareness of the transition and education about the importance of it.
The year 2014 was a historic year in internet governance: From the announcement of the IANA transition process to the NetMundial meeting and the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, the procedures and policies regarding the coordination of the internet seem to be more than ever a central topic of global governance. But just before the end of the year, yet another process in internet governance added a bitter aftertaste to this development: the NetMundial Initiative (NMI). Perceived by some as an attempt to create a “Security Council of the Internet”, this new initiative has stirred an intense debate among civil society groups about the limits of multistakeholder governance – a debate which could actually help to overcome the gridlocked controversy between multistakeholder and intergovernmental governance models for the internet.
As the new year dawns a new IANA is emerging, but the outlines are still blurry. IGP has reviewed all the public comments submitted in response to the CWG’s draft proposal. The results can be seen directly here. Two-thirds (67%) of the comments directly addressing the issue supported the core ideas behind the draft: that the IANA functions operator should be separable from ICANN, and that there should be an external oversight entity with the authority to award the IANA functions contract on a periodic basis, just as the NTIA did before.