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FCW – Commerce will likely have to extend IANA contract

FCW – Commerce will likely have to extend IANA contract

Waiting for a GAO report could stall the process – a concern for some Democrats who have not signed onto the DOTCOM Act. Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice and policy chair for the ICANN Business Constituency said that “the right plan is to take those risks and implications you’ve asked for from the GAO and surface those into the process.”

The other concern is that a legislative check late in the game could defeat the U.S. aims of a smooth transition. “It will look like an attempt to substitute the U.S. government’s judgment for that of the global multi-stakeholder community, which could undermine U.S. credibility in the process,” said Danielle Kehl, a policy analyst at the liberal New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

Planning for the transition includes a series of stress tests to map out what might happen to the key IANA function in the event that hostile governments attempt to capture the stakeholder process, or the administering group becomes financially insolvent. DelBianco said that proposed changes to the ICANN bylaws include the ability of independent review panels made up of private sector and non-governmental stakeholders to review board decisions and recall board members.

“This transition is the best opportunity to pursue difficult and sometimes controversial changes to ensure that ICANN is accountable to the entire community it was created to serve. By the same token, this transition is the last opportunity for the U.S. government to use its leverage to get ICANN to accept and implement the community’s proposed accountability enhancements,” DelBianco noted in his written testimony.

DelBianco said that by his estimates, ICANN will be finished with its work by the fall of 2016.