[CCWG-ACCT] Request for clarification - Ominous update on the IANA transition

Steve DelBianco sdelbianco at netchoice.org
Thu Apr 30 20:58:13 UTC 2015

Bruce — Bill Woodcock just posted a reply to Milton’s post, clarifying his role in the meetings with ICANN. (link<http://www.internetgovernance.org/2015/04/28/icann-wants-an-iana-functions-monopoly-and-its-willing-to-wreck-the-transition-process-to-get-it/>).    Bill concludes with a confirmation of the troubling trend that Milton reported:

Those particulars aside, the rest of your description of the situation seems accurate to me. The IAB minutes that you cite are particularly worthy of note: that ICANN is _refusing to renew_ the MOU under which they provide Protocol Registry services to the IETF, because it contains a termination clause, I find very disturbing. I have to admit that if I were in the IETF’s shoes, I might very well just take ICANN at their word and go on my merry way, if they say they don’t want to renew the agreement.

Please also assure us we won’t encounter the same resistance when it comes time to ‘negotiate’ implementation of CCWG proposals.

From: Thomas Rickert
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 4:46 PM
To: Bruce Tonkin
Cc: Accountability Cross Community
Subject: [CCWG-ACCT] Request for clarification - Ominous update on the IANA transition

Dear Bruce,
as you will have seen on the list, a discussion has started on the article referred to in the e-mail below about the Board’s and ICANN legal’s position with respect to community proposals and relating negotiations.

We would like to ask you as Board liaison to clarify the Board’s position and plans with respect to proposals provided by the community. Further, we would like to get clarity on the role ICANN legal plays in this and whether negotiations that were referred to are based on instructions by the Board.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Kind regards,
Thomas Rickert

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Milton L Mueller <mueller at syr.edu<mailto:mueller at syr.edu>>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 2:27 PM
Subject: Ominous update on the IANA transition
To: NCSG-DISCUSS at listserv.syr.edu<mailto:NCSG-DISCUSS at listserv.syr.edu>

Dear NCSG:
It’s now official: ICANN doesn’t even want to let the IETF have a choice of its IANA functions operator.

Those of you who read my blog post on ICANN’s interactions with the numbers community<http://www.internetgovernance.org/2015/04/28/icann-wants-an-iana-functions-monopoly-and-its-willing-to-wreck-the-transition-process-to-get-it/> will already know that ICANN is refusing to accept the consensus of the numbers community by recognizing its contractual right to terminate its IANA functions operator agreement with ICANN. In that blog, I referred to second-hand reports that IETF was encountering similar problems with ICANN. Those reports are now public; the chairs of the IETF, IAB and IETF Administrative Oversight Committee have sent a letter to their community<http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ianaplan/current/msg01680.html> noting that ICANN is refusing to renew their supplemental service level agreement because it includes new provisions designed to facilitate change in IANA functions operators should IETF become dissatisfied with ICANN.

These are truly shocking moves, because in effect ICANN’s legal staff is telling both the numbers and the protocols communities that they will not accept the proposals for the IANA transition that they have developed as part of the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) process. In both cases, the proposals were consensus proposals within the affected communities, and were approved by the ICG as complete and conformant to the NTIA criteria. Thus, ICANN is in effect usurping the entire process, setting itself (rather than ICG and NTIA) as the arbiter of what is an acceptable transition proposal.

The key point of conflict here seems to be the issue of whether ICANN will have a permanent monopoly on the provision of IANA functions, or whether each of the affected communities – names, numbers and protocols – will have the right to choose the operator of their global registries. Separability is explicitly recognized by the Cross community working group on Names as a principle to guide the transition, and was also listed as a requirement by the CRISP team. And the IETF has had an agreement with ICANN giving them separability since 2000 (RFC 2860<https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2860>).  Yet despite the wishes of the community, ICANN seems to insist on a monopoly and seems to be exploiting the transition process to get one.

Of course, a severable contract for the IANA functions is the most effective and important form of accountability. If the users of IANA are locked in to a single provider, it is more difficult to keep the IANA responsive, efficient and accountable. Given the implications of these actions for the accountability CCWG, I hope someone on that list will forward this message to their list, if someone has not noted this event already.

Milton L Mueller
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor
Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Internet Governance Project

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