ICANN given green light to dominate

01 10 2009

After an 11 year process, ICANN has signed a historic agreement with the US Department of Commerce, which affirms its role as the supreme manager of the global domain name system.

In 1998 ICANN was set up by the US Government under the oversight of the US Government. Although sometimes controversial and subject to debate, ICANN has managed to successfully guide the global domain name system. ICANN’s most recent meeting was held in Sydney, and was attended by industry participants including Cooper Mills Lawyers.

According to ICANN:

When ICANN was created in 1998, with the assistance of the United States Government, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) process was started with the objective of achieving a noble goal: the coordination of the Internet’s unique identifiers by the private sector through a not-for-profit organization where policies were developed from the bottom up.

The signing of the Affirmation determines once and for all that this model works.

The JPA was the seventh amendment of the original MOU.  Over the years there have been thirteen report cards on performance of responsibilities to the US Department of Commerce alone.  So why is the Affirmation of Commitments a further step in progress and internationalization of the ICANN model?

It commits ICANN to remaining a private not for profit organization. It declares ICANN is independent and is not controlled by any one entity. It commits ICANN to reviews performed BY THE COMMUNITY – a further recognition that the multi-stakeholder model is robust enough to review itself.

The full text of the Affirmation between ICANN and the US Department of Commerce is available here.

Whilst this is a historic step it is not likely to affect business as usual at ICANN. This Agreement comes at an important time with the introduction of IPV6 and new TLDs among, the host of other challenges facing ICANN.

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