US rejects ICANN’s bid to retain control of Internet names

Posted On March 12, 2012
In Governance of Cyberspace / Reply

The US government has cancelled its Request for Proposal (RFP) to run the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), on the basis that it “received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community”. In doing so, it has issued a clear rejection to the bid by the current contractor, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), to continue its control of the naming functions of the domain name system (DNS).

The IANA DNS naming functions are currently run by ICANN, under a contract let by the US government’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). By notice issued on 10 March 2102, the NTIA cancelled the RFP it had issued in November 2011, and stated that it would reissue the RFP at a later date to be determined. In the meantime, it extended ICANN’s current contract to run IANA until 30 September 2012.

The RFP issued by the NTIA added new requirements to the IANA functions’ statement of work, including:

  • the need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation
  • a robust companywide conflict of interest policy
  • provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws
  • a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community

According to DomainIncite, a key sticking point to renewal of ICANN’s contract is its failure to show that all the new gTLD delegations – such as .xxx – are “in the global public interest”.

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