A Programmer’s Perspective on the IANA Transition

Earlier this week, I posted from Singapore on the challenges we face in designing the transition of IANA functions from the US government to the global multistakeholder community. Now, let’s consider how a programmer would design new mechanisms to accomplish this transition…

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The Path Forward: Accountability Through the IANA Transition

It’s clear that the US government is intent on dropping its legacy contractual role for the IANA functions. Whatever your views on the wisdom or timing of that decision, the challenge now is to ensure that the transition leaves ICANN in the best possible position to succeed.

Arriving yesterday to the island nation of Singapore felt strangely appropriate. Over the past week I’ve been one of the lonely people in the ICANN community to express concern about the US government’s decision…

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Rewriting the future of Internet governance

Americans created, built, and advanced the Internet, while leading the effort to protect it from censorship or discriminatory taxes and regulation.  But now the U.S. government is releasing a big part of its stewardship role, leaving it to others to chart a path that keeps the Internet secure, stable, and successful.

Last week the Commerce Department announced that it would relinquish control of its contractual authority over the Internet’s global addressing system.   Continue Reading

Playing the Long Game at the Internet Governance Poker Table

Poker players say if you can’t spot the fish within your first 15 minutes at the table, you’re the fish. With that in mind, I’m tempted to ask ICANN President Fadi Chehade who’s the fish in the high-stakes game of global Internet governance we’re now playing.

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The ICANN Quilombo

Argentines use the word “quilombo” to describe “a real mess”, which is what I feared was awaiting us at the outset of ICANN’s meeting in Buenos Aires this week. Since then, ICANN President Fadi Chehade has done a good job cleaning-up the internal process quilombo he and the board created.

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‘Rethinking ICANN’ is Not a One-Man Job

In the midst of the overseeing the biggest change in the history of the Internet’s global addressing system, ICANN President Fadi Chehade has inexplicably embarked on a high-stakes battle over the very future of his organization and its relationship to world governments — at the expense of the private sector’s historical role in Internet governance.

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ICANN Mission Creep is Becoming Mission Leap

Under the leadership of Fadi Chehade and Steve Crocker, ICANN finally runs like an organization that has grown up. When it comes to process, accountability, and transparency, this is excellent news for the Internet. But it also raises a new question: how far will we let ICANN grow “out” of the limited technical mission for which it was created?

In his opening remarks here in Durban, Chehade announced the expansion of local engagement centers and significant expansion of ICANN staff — for the second straight year.

One can understand such dynamic expansion if ICANN is, as Chehade called it, “the greatest governance engine in the transnational sphere today.” But one can’t help but wonder whether it may be overkill for the humble technical manager of the DNS. Read more

New TLDs: Time For a Do-Over on Plural Similarity

Mandarin is a tricky language, but ICANN may want to learn the expression chóngfù before leaving the Beijing meeting. Chóngfù means “do-over” and that’s what ICANN needs to forestall an entirely preventable disaster in the delegation of new top-level domains (TLDs).

The issue of “string similarity” seems straightforward. Nobody inside ICANN or out there in the real world wants Internet users to be confused by new TLDs that are confusingly similar. Imagine hearing an ad offering low rates at car.loans but you encounter something completely different at car.loan instead? And what would stop somebody from launching a new TLD by just tacking an “s” onto popular domains like .com or .org?

The Government Advisory Committee (GAC) is catching a lot of flack for it’s Beijing Communiqué, but one thing the GAC got right was its advice that singular/plural strings are confusingly similar.

So how did we get to a point where ICANN inexplicably failed to find confusing similarity for 24 pairs of singular and plural forms of the same words, including .web /.webs, .game/.games, and .hotel/.hotels? More important, how do we fix this? Read more

The Real Question of Internet Governance

The latter half of 2012 is one of the heaviest periods of Internet governance activity ever, with three critical events that could change the course of the next decade.  So it’s important to take a step back from the catchall phrase “Internet governance,” and ask what it even means… and why it really matters.

It started earlier this month in Toronto with the 45th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and continues through the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku, Azerbaijan in November.   (NetChoice was a prominent actor at the ICANN meetings and will attend the IGF next week, too.)  Then, December brings us the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai.   Taken together, these events present a series of critical decision points for the Internet’s future. Read more