So far the US government has been explicitly urged by just about every speaker at the [tag]NTIA[/tag] meeting in Washington discussing [tag]ICANN[/tag] that it transition its own role on the Internet to a more international body.
Commerce assistant secretary John [tag]Kneuer[/tag] – the man that matters – was asked straight out whether the US was prepared to transition its role, especially considering the famous “principles” announced last year. (The key sentence being: “As such, the United States is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file”.)
This was his response.
“I think the fact that we are gathered here today and we are entering this process is a clear indication that we are committed to this transition.
“I think that there has been a lot of reading into that statement very, very expansively. The historic role that we announced that we were going to preserve is fairly clearly articulated in that statement – it is the technical verification and authorisation of changes to the authoritative root. That is a function of IANA that is limited, extraordinarily technical in nature, and very explicitly tied to security and stability from a technical standpoint.
“That should not be read so expansively so as to say that we are going to retain all of our historic roles. We clearly have an incentive and long-standing policy to complete this transition and that our oversight role of ICANN should transition away.
“That being said, we will take no actions that will call in question the security and stability of the Internet. And in that context we have announced our intention to retain this function under which I think is distinct.”
Listen to it here.
Or here (I am having strange problems with the playback speed though):
I read this statement as the US government recognising that it has to hand over its current role. Thank god for that. But it remains determined to cut a deal where it retains final control over the root zone file (aka the IANA function).
That’s the negotiating position. The US government will step away from everything else but it wants final say over IANA. Will this scale-back work? Only time will tell.