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Re: <nettime> ITU Proposal to Change IP Address Distribution meet
geert on Tue, 16 Nov 2004 14:11:58 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> ITU Proposal to Change IP Address Distribution meet

(O la la. Now it's getting serious. ICANN warns the UN! Also read
Michael Froomkin's comments below. /Geert)

No role for UN in ICANN
Simon Hayes
The Australian IT Section
NOVEMBER 16, 2004

THE global domain name governing body has warned off the UN, saying it 
will operate as a private organisation when its agreement with the US 
Department of Commerce expires in 2006.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is responsible for 
managing the domain name and internet protocol address system, and 
operates under an agreement with the US Commerce Department.

ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey, an Australian, said the organisation 
would cut its ties with the department when the agreement expired in 2006, 
and ICANN would not be under the authority of any international 

"The internet is 200,000 private networks linked by private agreement," Dr 
Twomey said.

"At the heart of the way the internet works is that itgrows quickly 
through the private-sector model. It's not formulated by international 

In a 63-page strategic plan to be issued today, the US-based body plots 
its future, including a fund to encourage participation of developing 
countries and more regional meetings.

The document projects a marginally increased budget for additional 
activities, rising from $US15.8 million ($19.5 million) in the 2004-05 
financial year to $US19.5 million in 2005-06.

The budget could be increased by increasing charges on registrars and 
country code administrators.

Some of that money will be spent on increased security, and although ICANN 
is not setting itself up as a major funding source, it is planning to 
develop a special fund for research into network security. "We don't see 
ourselves as a major funder of international research, but as an 
enthusiastic endorser of international initiatives," Dr Twomey said.

ICANN wants to increase interest from the developing world, which missed 
out on the first wave of internet commercialisation in the early to 

The organisation wants more representation from developing countries, and 
supports moves to bring more domain name country codes back under the 
control of those countries.

These countries have been using UN mechanisms such as the World Summit on 
the Information Society in an attempt to influence the development of the 

Dr Twomey said there was no chance the UN could control ICANN.

"The Americans are explicit that they see their role in due diligence, and 
once that has happened they don't think it's the role of government to run 
the internet," he said.

ICANN is on track to complete the 35 milestones set in the agreement with 
the US by 2006.

It has already reached 10 of these goals.

[Michael Froomkin's comment: I wonder what Twomey means by 'private'. It 
could mean 'not government', which is a mixed blessing, and needs 
discussion. We don't want any of the USA, the PRC, or the 220-nation UN 
running the Internet; but we also don't want national governments to have 
*no* role in governance. But 'private' could also mean 'not public'. Is 
Twomey saying that individual users can only have a voice in Internet 
governance if they can stump up enough money to be one of the "200,000 
private networks linked by private agreement"?

My 4-workstation local IP network is hidden behind a router running 
Network Address Translation (i.e. with only one IP-address, and without 
the 4 workstations being visible to the net). Is mine one of those 
200,000, or are there two tiers of private networks? I doubt if I can 
afford the entry fee to the big league (any more than I can afford to be a 
participant in W3C); and I'm wealthier than the average SOHO operator.]

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