[ccwg-internet-governance] Coordination Group Charter, Public Comments

Tamer Rizk trizk at inficron.com
Fri Aug 15 22:12:10 UTC 2014

[This commentary is cross-posted in transparency for the benefit of 
those who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to review]

Over the past month, discussions by the IANA Stewardship Transition 
Coordination Group, or ICG, through its mailing list entitled 
Internal-CG, have culminated in the proposal of a charter to guide a 
favorable outcome. The draft has evolved from internal discourse, and 
public comments have been solicited in response to topics concerning 
scope, operations, and stakeholders.

The draft charter defers opportunities to discuss accountability to the 
scope of a parallel and related process on enhancing ICANN 
accountability. In the spirit of the language within the accountability 
section of ICANN's website, such opportunities must aspire to be as easy 
to find and utilize as the ICG microsite itself, and any proactive 
charter should at least include a link to where the parallel discussions 
of such a separate, external group are going to eventually take place.

In contrast to the NTIA's broad definition of directly affected parties, 
minimally comprising the IETF, IAB, ISOC, RIRs, TLD operators, root zone 
maintainer, and other interested global stakeholders, the charter 
designates three operational communities as privileged to develop 
proposals for review by the ICG. This restriction precludes meaningful 
participation by global stakeholders such as international organizations 
and prominent NGOs, especially as they relate to the salient 
consequences of monopoly power over root maintenance in shaping language 
for effective implementation.

The discernible import of root zone maintenance is not in the creativity 
that it imparts to nations. Broadly speaking, root zone maintenance is 
the charge incumbent to edit the file that effects to map domain names 
to physical machines via IP addresses. Without multilateral 
accountability, the power to annex a country code top-level domain vests 
in the hands of the root zone maintainer. Given that a country's name is 
the global reference to its domain, it is no wonder that a good actor 
would have been historically compelled to hold ccTLDs to a higher 
standard than physical property, notwithstanding any motivation by 
entities to otherwise suggest.

Threats to undermine the neutral execution of changes to the root zone 
are exacerbated by the potential for collective fusion of the IANA 
functions and root zone maintenance, foregoing the common effectiveness 
of the former, in a reaction accelerated by the introduction of 
competing business interests to the root, via new gTLDs.

Short of solutions to preserve root neutrality, a transition to cardinal 
IANA functions encompassing administrative responsibilities of the root 
zone and coordination of root zone management, as delineated by ICANN's 
transition FAQ, is an indicator of disorder in an inevitable acclimation 
of root federation. If the viability of such a scenario is not enough of 
a deterrent, prior to the expiration of any contract and in the natural 
progression thereafter, perhaps choice itself will serve to neutralize 
dominant forces in order to achieve net stability. To this end, it is 
incumbent upon global stakeholders to collaboratively contribute to 
shaping the structures which together vest duty of determination within 
themselves and hence render them responsive to the doors of 
multilateral, multistakeholder sufficiency.


General references:

US-NSI. Contract amendment 11. Root zone maintainer may not change root 
file on ICANN’s instruction without counter signature. (Archive | Source)

US-VeriSign. Contract amendment 32. Section 3.2 ICANN covenants, 3.2.C 
ICANN authorization. (Archive | Source)

US-ICANN. IANA functions contract. C.2.9 four IANA functions and C.8.1 
verbatim. (Archive | Source)

ICANN. IANA Transition FAQ. #2 five IANA functions, #16 paradox. 
(Archive | Source)

ICG. Draft Charter. pg. 5, sec. 3, para. 1 (end), ICG/coordination group 
redundancy requires clarification. (Archive | Source)

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