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  • Affiliation : Executive Vice-President for Cooperation with Public Authorities, PJSC VimpelCom
  • Position : President, CEO
  • Affiliation : The Internet Corporatuion for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
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PIR Center Expert Took Part in ICANN 49th Meeting in Singapore

28.03.2014

MOSCOW, MARCH 28, 2014. PIR PRESS - “It is important for us to remember that the U.S. government, every few years, said that the ICANN community is readier now so we're going to change the mechanisms and instruments of stewardship, up to the point last Friday when NTIA came to the conclusion that we are ready. And this is a testament of our work. It is a triumph of the multistakeholder model. And it's a testament that the United States fulfilled its commitment which they made on the first day ICANN was born that when the ICANN and global community are ready, they will transfer the stewardship, and they did,” - President and CEO of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Fadi Chehadé.

On March 23-27, 2014, the 49th Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was held in Singapore and it was attended by about two thousand stakeholders from the internet community and private sector, experts and governmental representatives from around the world. At the Meeting, participants discussed the issues of global internet governance, the development of the domain name space, and ways of improving control over technical functionality of the global Net.

Director of PIR Center Program “International Information Security and Global Internet Governance” Oleg Demidov also attended the Meeting. Mr. Demidov’s comments and observations on the Meeting’s outcomes and discussions are available in PIR Center blog (in Russian).

One of the main objectives of the ICANN conference was to discuss the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) statement from March 14, 2014 when the US government announced its intention to start transition of key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. These functions will include oversight of the DNS root server system management, as well as that of the global domain name system and the global IP address system.

Currently, these functions are administered by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), technical team within ICANN, under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Commerce. According to the January 10, 2012 IANA Functions Contract between the NTIA and ICANN, the US Government controls these activities. In particular, the NTIA approves requests for changes to the DNS root zone file, which is a “database” containing technical data on top-level domain names and IP-addresses of the DNS root zone). ICANN also provides the US Department of Commerce with regular reports on its performance of these functions.

The transition of IANA’s responsibilities from the US Department of Commerce to the “global internet community” has provoked an active response, which was also reflected in the discussions at the ICANN Meeting. Many media outlets and politicians considered the NTIA statement a “US declaration of surrendering control of the Internet.” In this regard, participants stressed the fact that the implementation of the IANA functions us only a narrow segment of the technical issues of Internet governance, whereas global policy making issues in the field of internet governance are beyond the direct responsibilities of ICANN, and will be discussed in particular at the Internet Governance Forum and at the preparations for the WSIS+10 process in 2015.

However, the key point of discussion in Singapore was the debate concerning how and under whose jurisdiction the IANA functions will be controlled in the future. Participants expressed some key ideas, including the following: 1) the transition of control is reversible and can be suspended if the US government feels that there is a risk of one stakeholder or group of those monopolizing control of the IANA functions, including a state or an intergovernmental organization; 2) states, however, cannot and should not be excluded from this process because without them it fails to gain legitimacy; 3) it is not necessarily a question of establishment of a new international structure or other legal entity which would take the oversight of technical coordination of critical Internet infrastructure; 4) the timeframe for the process has not yet been defined, but some concrete proposals should be developed and discussed before the completion of the IANA Functions Contract on September 30, 2015.

Commenting on the statement from the US government, the president and CEO of ICANN Fadi Chehadé said, “It is important for us to remember that the U.S. government, every few years, said that the ICANN community is readier now so we're going to change the mechanisms and instruments of stewardship, up to the point last Friday when NTIA came to the conclusion that we are ready. And this is a testament of our work. It is a triumph of the multistakeholder model. And it's a testament that the United States fulfilled its commitment which they made on the first day ICANN was born that when the ICANN and global community are ready, they will transfer the stewardship, and they did.”

The global internet governance disucssions, including how to transition of control over the IANA functions and some broader context of the issues, will be continued at the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETMundial), which will take place in April 23-24, 2014, in São Paulo, Brazil. PIR Center Program Director Oleg Demidov will also take part in this global conference.

On April 11, 2013, PIR Center and ICANN signed an Engagement Collaboration Agreement, which has been implemented in the framework of PIR Center Program “International Information Security and Global Internet Governance” program at the PIR Center. One of its key priorities is to study the transformation of the global internet governance architecture.

On March 4, 2014 an extended meeting of the PIR Center Advisory Board was held in Moscow in the format of an international roundtable to discuss the topic “Russia and ICANN: The Search for a Common Agenda on Issues of Global Internet Governance.” More than 40 leading Russian experts, as well as senior representatives from the ICANN team, took part in the meeting.

For all questions concerning PIR Center’s program “International Information Security and Global Internet Governance” please contact the Program Director Oleg Demidov by phone at +7 (495) 987-19-15, by fax at +7-495-987-19-14 or by email: demidov at pircenter.org.

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