WASHINGTON – NetChoice today applauded the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN for agreeing to new a framework for accountability. For more than a decade, the Commerce Department provided guidance and support and for ICANN through the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) and previous transition agreements. The expiration of the JPA threatened to open an accountability gap for ICANN, but the framework announced today should help to mitigate that threat.

“The Commerce Department has crafted an arrangement here that delivers what the global Internet community has clamored for: permanent accountability mechanisms to guide ICANN in the post-transition world. These reviews should help ICANN stay focused on security, choice and consumer trust, with an added emphasis on interests of global Internet users – especially those who can’t yet use their native language in domain names or email addresses.”

“I’m impressed by how this new accountability framework found what’s been missing at ICANN: a balanced way to bring all governments into the oversight process alongside private sector stakeholders, with a sharpened focus on security and serving global internet users,” said Steve DelBianco, Executive Director of NetChoice.

“This gives ICANN something similar to the ‘official review’ we have for football and tennis — on controversial decisions this framework could help ICANN make the right call and build international confidence in the private sector model, ” DelBianco added.

Many predicted that the US Government would not allow ICANN to reach independence. “This may come as a surprise to many, but the JPA is over, and DNS management has transitioned to an independent ICANN. Public comments calling for JPA extension were mostly about giving ICANN time to adopt permanent mechanisms for accountability and protection from capture by multi-government organizations like the UN. This new framework takes control of ICANN off the table, and gives every government the green light to come join the multi-stakeholder process.”

NetChoice testimony available at http://www.netchoice.org/library/netchoice-testimony-house-judiciary-icann-hearing-2009.pdf