Protecting Internet Freedom: Implications of Ending U.S. Oversight of the Internet
NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco testified at the US Senate Commerce Committee Hearing – Examining the Multistakeholder Plan for Transitioning the Internet Assigned Number Authority where he discussed the importance of avoiding unreasonable delays on the transaition.
A fledgling attempt to create a new global Internet governance clearinghouse has run into trouble as leading business and civil organizations said they are not yet prepared to participate in the NETmundial Initiative (NMI) championed by ICANN President Fadi Chehade.
In highlighting that there remain several unanswered questions, the Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-BASIS) raised serious concerns about whether NMI, which sought to empanel a council to direct global Internet governance initiatives, was consistent with its core principles of openness and accountability among multiple stakeholders.
As we arrived in Hollywood — the land of happy endings — ICANN had just given us cause to hope that the ICANN accountability process might get its own Hollywood ending, despite a fitful start.
As one who’s been critical of ICANN management’s heavy-handed attempts to control the accountability process, it’s only appropriate to give credit where credit is due. In accepting the community’s strenuous — and nearly unanimous — calls for a cross-community working group to lead the process of improving ICANN’s accountability mechanisms, ICANN management says it’s now prepared to follow the community’s lead, rather than dictating and constraining it.
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.
I recently learned that I will be speaking at a conference sponsored by the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law entitled "I Think I Can, I Think ICANN: Regulating the Internet…or Not." The conference accepted a paper that I wrote based on my recent Congressional testimony on the state of ICANN and Internet governance.
The conference will take place February 23rd and 24th and "will examine the structure and supervision of the Internet. Topics include assessment of the work of ICANN; the results and impact of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that has raised radically different alternative approaches to regulating the Internet; possible East-West and North-South tensions over Internet access and governance; the significance of the Internet for human rights and for economic development; and, the future of Internet governance post-WSIS."
It should be an exciting opportunity to discuss these issues in a forum outside star chambers of ICANN and Washington, DC.