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NOT QUITE YET: ICANN Volunteers to slave on, USG delays IANA Transition

Cartoon of a frustrated office worker Photo Credits http://www.dreamstime.com/
Cartoon of a frustrated office worker Photo Credits http://www.dreamstime.com/

 
In March 2014, the US government announced its plan to move away from oversight and completely privatize ICANN’s functions, however it appears as though the ICANN volunteers will have to slave on more and perfect the proposal that has been presented, this is after the US Government Commerce Department said on Monday that the plan needs more work, and that the department would renew its contract with ICANN for at least a year, with an option to renew for three more years.

“This one-year extension will provide the community with the time it needs to finish its work,” Strickling said adding that “It has become increasingly apparent over the last few months that the community needs time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the US Government and then implement it if it is approved,”

The extension news come on the same day the out going ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé in his blog My Transition from ICANN CEO, wrote that after completing his service at ICANN, he will be engaged in a portfolio of activitiesincluding being a Senior Advisor on Digital Strategy for ABRY Partners, a Boston-based private equity investment firm. Many speculate that his move to a smaller organization that is a big difference from his current role could be as a result of burn-out, unsuccessful campains for the NetMundial initiative and the possibility of an indefinite delay of the IANA transition going by the statements from NTIA.
 
The IANA transition actually took on a more urgency following the revelations supplied by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 that the National Security Agency was surveilling Internet traffic from across the globe. Even though the NSA’s programs were not associated with domain name addresses, the leaked NSA documents encouraged calls for the US to cede control of the system to an international body, Fadi has occasionally denied that the Transition push is related to these Snowden revelation.
 
The original plan called for ICANN to create a separate legal body to handle functions of the online address system. The plan also does envision an international group model of private companies, domain name holders, civil society groups, and top Internet users – to watch over the system.
 
ICANN continuously depends on volunteers who have to work tirelessly using huge resources provided by ICANN that include many flight and hotel bookings to locations to chart the way forward.
 
Some 13,339 working hours have been spent on the transition, according to ICANN and thus the anticipated delay coud be frustrating for the backers of the transition especially the ICANN Board, these frustrations such a the recent where the chairman of ICANN has been recorded ranting about domain-name privacy on a webinar.
 
According to The Register, when one of the group’s leaders then explained what the group had decided to do in response to his previous demands to strike the agreement’s wording, Crocker exploded: “That is completely unacceptable … I understand you didn’t really want to think hard about it but this is a destructive and inappropriate thing to do.”
 
The outburst caused silence and then a “wow!” from one of the working group’s members.
 
Volunteering for ICANN is no easy task especially when staffers and board members could be curtailing any new proposals in favour of ICANN sanctioned methods. Burn our has often been blamed for rushed drafts which include the latest proposal that has been called a cumbersome over-engineered model which could result in the US government rejecting it all together. So should we expect more outbursts?
 

James Barnley

I’m the editor of the DomainingAfrica. I write about internet and social media, focusing mainly on Domains. As a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll get a lot of information on Domain Issues, ICANN, new gtld’s, Mobile technology and social media.

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