ICANN : Confidence towards the independence from the US influence
During the 19th edition of the World Congress on Information Technology, president and CEO of ICANN Fari Chehadé, expressed his confidence in the forthcoming emancipation from the US government.
The debate over the ICANN independence is not a new idea. It must be remembered that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) plays a decisive role in the way the Internet works, as this non-profit organization oversees technical aspects such as the Domain Name System (DNS) and the Internet Protocols (IPv4 & IPv6).
Since its creation in 1998, ICANN has been working along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the US federal regulation organ for telecommunications.
The NTIA has since then been given the responsibility of supervising the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), the ICANN department responsible for coordinating some of the key elements that keep the Internet globally coordinated and running smoothly.
It is also interesting to note that ICANN itself was created under an impulse of the NTIA, as a solution to a list of technical issues observed in 1998, when the Internet was fairly new and rapidly expanding.
To sum up, the US administration has always had an implication in some technical aspects of ICANN’s mission, which is to grant the proper running of the Internet under its protocol-based aspects.
In March, 14th, 2014, the NTIA made a public announcement, declaring that a process of transition was started in order to allow the total withdrawal of the US administration from ICANN’s organization. The main idea was to “To support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance », implying that the Internet must not be supervised by an unique authority, in order to maintain a participative and decentralized model of governance.
Meanwhile, other voices argued with the official communiqué, alleding that the Snowden case was more likely to explain the acceleration of the transition…
The process of transition consists in establishing a dialogue between participants such as States and private actors in order to propose solutions for the transfer of NTIA’s supervision over the IANA department of ICANN. Needless to say, this dialogue has strategic and economic implications for most of the participants, each one trying to get a grasp of the next governance model of the institution.
However, Fari Chehadé, expressed his confidence on the subject a few weeks ago, during the 19th edition of the World Congress on Information Technology. His intervention reminded the necessity of a neutral, decentralized and participative Internet, which can’t be ruled by a single hierarchic entity. He also emphasized the importance of an independent ICANN by the fact that the Internet is nowadays a vector of solidarity and progress, as well as a pillar of political systems, which underlines the necessity for a well distributed and managed network.
At the present moment, the process is well engaged and the US administration should disengage itself from ICANN by the end of 2015.