[LINK] OzIT: ICANN to go "private" (?)
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Nov 16 09:17:17 EST 2004
[Comments at the end]
No role for UN in ICANN
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
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 organisation.
"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 it grows quickly
through the private-sector model. It's not formulated by
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
ICANN wants to increase interest from the developing world, which
missed out on the first wave of internet commercialisation in the
early to mid-1990s.
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 internet.
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.
[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]
Roger Clarke http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program, University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Baker Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre, U.N.S.W
Visiting Fellow in Computer Science, Australian National University
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