[NA-Discuss] Strickling Jun 15 keynote - ICANN section

Joly MacFie joly at punkcast.com
Wed Jun 20 03:33:17 UTC 2012

*Jun 15 Keynote Speech by Lawrence E. Strickling Assistant Secretary of
Commerce for Communications and Information U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Telecommunications and E-Commerce Committee *



Let me turn next to the current situation at ICANN. ICANN represents a
practical working model of the multistakeholder approach to Internet
governance. When I signed the Affirmation of Commitments with ICANN in
2009, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the ICANN model and
its mission to preserve a single, global interoperable Internet that
supports the free flow of information and global electronic commerce.

The Affirmation was historic because it established mechanisms and
timelines for the multistakeholder review of ICANN’s execution of its core
tasks. What had once been a unique role for the U.S. government was
expanded to include the participation of the international community
through review teams. This model of enhanced global cooperation on Internet
public policy issues offers a constructive example for the continuing
international debates about Internet governance.

In 2010, I served on the first of these review teams which focused on
evaluating ICANN’s accountability and transparency. Our team, which
included representatives from the governments of China and Egypt as well as
representatives from South America, Europe and Australia, made a series of
recommendations to the board, all of which were adopted. ICANN will soon be
reporting out on the implementation of these recommendations and a second
accountability and review team will convene next January to evaluate
ICANN’s performance in integrating the recommendations into the culture of
the organization.

NTIA’s commitment to expanding participation in Internet governance was
tested earlier this year with respect to the IANA functions contract. Last
year, in anticipation of the expiration of the IANA functions contract,
NTIA undertook two consultations of stakeholders, both domestic and
international, on how to best enhance the performance of the functions.
Based on input received from stakeholders around the world, we added new
requirements, including the need for a robust conflict of interest policy,
heightened respect for local country laws and a series of provisions to
increase transparency and accountability. Earlier this year, we took the
unprecedented action of cancelling the initial request for proposals (RFP)
because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the
global community. We then reissued the RFP and I am hopeful that whatever
responses were submitted more clearly satisfy the needs of the global
Internet community.

It should be clear from my comments that while NTIA continues to be a
strong supporter of ICANN’s multistakeholder approach, we do not shy away
from offering constructive criticism and speaking bluntly about the
challenges facing ICANN and the improvements it is needs to make. In the
end it only makes for a stronger ICANN. In that regard, a lot has been said
in the last seven months here in Washington, DC regarding ICANN’s new
generic top-level domain name (gTLD) program. While we have defended the
process used to reach the decisions regarding the program, we have listened
and are sensitive to the concerns expressed by some stakeholders about the
potential for unintended consequences of the expansion. The details of the
1,930 applications were revealed two days ago and NTIA, along with our
interagency partners, are actively reviewing the list of strings and the
publicly available information associated with each application. Now that
the facts are in front of us, we will meet with stakeholders in July to
discuss, among other things, if additional protections are warranted at the
second level.

In addition, we continue to believe it is critical that ICANN complete
three work streams that will further enhance the tools available to law
enforcement and consumer protection officials as the new gTLD program
unfolds. The first of these is a strengthened Registrar Accreditation
Agreement that takes into account the proposals of law enforcement agencies
as endorsed by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Second is the
need for ICANN to address a range of deficiencies in the implementation of
WHOIS policy. Third is the need for ICANN to fully staff and enhance
ICANN’s contract compliance division. Among other things, ICANN needs to
take steps to centralize and automate the complaint process as well as make
it more transparent by the end of the third quarter 2012.

I want to emphasize that as we raise these concerns with ICANN, we do so
respecting the multistakeholder processes of that organization. We bring
our concerns to the GAC and discuss these issues with other governments to
formulate formal advice to the ICANN board as set out in its bylaws. We
have worked hard in ICANN to strengthen the role governments have, as one
group of stakeholders at ICANN, to demonstrate to governments that they can
be heard and their issues dealt with in this multistakeholder process. I
believe increasing the meaningful engagement of governments in
multistakeholder organizations such as ICANN is one of the strongest
arguments we have, and indeed is a necessary precondition, to opposing the
views of some nations to have international intergovernmental bodies
replace multistakeholder organizations in important areas of Internet


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