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[bc-gnso] Ominous update on the IANA transition

  • To: BC List <bc-gnso@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [bc-gnso] Ominous update on the IANA transition
  • From: Steve DelBianco <sdelbianco@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 18:16:37 +0000

On today’s BC call, several of us talked about Milton Mueller’s post regarding 
resistance from ICANN legal when it came time to implement the numbers and 
protocol transition plans.  (post is 
 Milton’s email is below)

Bill Woodcock just posted a reply to Milton’s post, clarifying his role in the 
meetings with ICANN. 
    Bill concludes with a confirmation of the troubling trend that Milton 

Those particulars aside, the rest of your description of the situation seems 
accurate to me. The IAB minutes that you cite are particularly worthy of note: 
that ICANN is _refusing to renew_ the MOU under which they provide Protocol 
Registry services to the IETF, because it contains a termination clause, I find 
very disturbing. I have to admit that if I were in the IETF’s shoes, I might 
very well just take ICANN at their word and go on my merry way, if they say 
they don’t want to renew the agreement.

Let’s assume we will encounter the same resistance when it comes time to 
‘negotiate’ implementation of CWG and CCWG proposals.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Milton L Mueller <mueller@xxxxxxx<mailto:mueller@xxxxxxx>>
Date: Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 2:27 PM
Subject: Ominous update on the IANA transition
To: NCSG-DISCUSS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:NCSG-DISCUSS@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear NCSG:
It’s now official: ICANN doesn’t even want to let the IETF have a choice of its 
IANA functions operator.

Those of you who read my blog post on ICANN’s interactions with the numbers 
 will already know that ICANN is refusing to accept the consensus of the 
numbers community by recognizing its contractual right to terminate its IANA 
functions operator agreement with ICANN. In that blog, I referred to 
second-hand reports that IETF was encountering similar problems with ICANN. 
Those reports are now public; the chairs of the IETF, IAB and IETF 
Administrative Oversight Committee have sent a letter to their 
noting that ICANN is refusing to renew their supplemental service level 
agreement because it includes new provisions designed to facilitate change in 
IANA functions operators should IETF become dissatisfied with ICANN.

These are truly shocking moves, because in effect ICANN’s legal staff is 
telling both the numbers and the protocols communities that they will not 
accept the proposals for the IANA transition that they have developed as part 
of the IANA Stewardship Coordination Group (ICG) process. In both cases, the 
proposals were consensus proposals within the affected communities, and were 
approved by the ICG as complete and conformant to the NTIA criteria. Thus, 
ICANN is in effect usurping the entire process, setting itself (rather than ICG 
and NTIA) as the arbiter of what is an acceptable transition proposal.

The key point of conflict here seems to be the issue of whether ICANN will have 
a permanent monopoly on the provision of IANA functions, or whether each of the 
affected communities – names, numbers and protocols – will have the right to 
choose the operator of their global registries. Separability is explicitly 
recognized by the Cross community working group on Names as a principle to 
guide the transition, and was also listed as a requirement by the CRISP team. 
And the IETF has had an agreement with ICANN giving them separability since 
2000 (RFC 2860<https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2860>).  Yet despite the wishes 
of the community, ICANN seems to insist on a monopoly and seems to be 
exploiting the transition process to get one.

Of course, a severable contract for the IANA functions is the most effective 
and important form of accountability. If the users of IANA are locked in to a 
single provider, it is more difficult to keep the IANA responsive, efficient 
and accountable. Given the implications of these actions for the accountability 
CCWG, I hope someone on that list will forward this message to their list, if 
someone has not noted this event already.

Milton L Mueller
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor
Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Internet Governance Project

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