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[bc-gnso] Re: Ominous update on the IANA transition

  • To: BC List <bc-gnso@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [bc-gnso] Re: Ominous update on the IANA transition
  • From: Steve DelBianco <sdelbianco@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 1 May 2015 17:11:17 +0000

Here is the reply from Bruce Tonkin, ICANN Board member who’s also on the 
Accountability CCWG.  ICANN is saying there is ‘confusion’ between the annual 
contract update and the one-time transition process underway.   Bruce’s reply 
is helpful, but doesn’t address concerns that Milton Mueller reported (below).

Hello Steve DelBianco,

In response to your post on the subject of the IANA transition.

The MOU between ICANN and the IETF dated 1 March 200 with respect to the IANA 
functions already includes a termination clause.

" This MOU will remain in effect until either modified or cancelled by mutual 
consent of the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Corporation for 
Assigned Names and Numbers, or cancelled by either party with at least six (6) 
months notice"

There is no refusal to continue to provide services to the IETF under the 
current arrangements.

There is a supplemental agreement between ICANN and the IETF that defines the 
commitments, services, and tasks ICANN undertakes to fulfil the IANA services 
on behalf of the IETF: 

This agreement is subject to annual review.

My understanding is that the IETF has asked to incorporate some changes as they 
relate to termination following the discussions within the IETF on the IANA 
transition.   The ICANN staff feel that some of the changes are in conflict 
with the current agreement been ICANN and NTIA, and  should happen after the 
NTIA has considered the final proposals from the community.

I think there are two scenarios after the NTIA considers the community 

(1) The NTIA agrees to transfer stewardship to the community -  and we start 
working on the  various legal arrangements to support that

(2) The NTIA wants to retain stewardship – in which case we may request changes 
to the NTIA contract based on the community proposals and then adjust existing 
arrangements accordingly

As far as I am aware – the response so far has been to wait until the process 
is complete, before changing legal arrangements.      In terms of operational 
improvements – they should continue to be improved based on feedback from the 
users under the current arrangements, and these improvements could be 
incorporated into the supplemental agreement.

The bottom line is that ICANN will continue to provide and improve its services 
to the IETF as it has for the past 15 years, and if the IETF is unhappy they 
already have the right to terminate with 6 months notice.

There seems to be confusion between the annual process to update the existing 
supplementary agreement between ICANN and the IETF - with the overall IANA 
stewardship transition process.

Bruce Tonkin

From: Steve DelBianco
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 2:16 PM
To: BC List
Subject: Ominous update on the IANA transition

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

Accountability-Cross-Community mailing list

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