Feeds

ICANN free in two years

Government oversight? What government oversight!

High performance access to file storage

Internet overseeing organisation ICANN will become an autonomous body, free from any form of government control, on 1 October 2008, if plans drawn up between it and the US government go according to plan.

The current agreement between ICANN and the US Department of Commerce (DoC) is due to expire next week, but speculation has been mounting for months over what will happen to management of the internet's vital domain name system (DNS).

The US government official in charge of the agreement, Assistant Secretary John Kneuer made clear in a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the "memorandum of understanding" (MoU) between it and ICANN would be extended on 30 September, but refused to give any more details.

A second Senate meeting in Washington yesterday saw more details leak out, although both Kneuer and ICANN CEO Paul Twomey remain tight-lipped. It is now expected that the new MoU will last two years, although both parties stressed that discussions were still ongoing and the decision was not finalised.

More signficantly however, at the end of that agreement, the expectation is that ICANN will finally become an autonomous body, 10 years after it was first created and eight since it was supposed to break free from government control. The issue of control over ICANN has become a topic of international controversy because of the US government's failure to stick to a promise to remove itself from ICANN's structure.

International anger

With the internet now a global resource, opposition to US control has gradually built up, culminating in weeks of intense diplomatic discussion just prior to a World Summit on the Information Society in November. The outcome of those talks was the retention of the ICANN/DoC model but since then, tension has never been far from the surface. Evidence that the Bush Administration had interfered with ICANN's processes to prevent the creation of a new .xxx top-level domain was the final straw for many. Also, the unresolved issue of control risked destabilising vital international discussions over other, wider internet issues such as spam, access and security.

Domestic US feeling is hard-set against suggestions that ICANN be pulled into the United Nations. A compromise solution proposed by the EU that would see a flexible and lightweight governmental body take over the US government's role was rejected in Geneva a year ago. Nonetheless, that EU model has taken root in most people's minds as the end game if the singular internet system or "root" isn't to fracture across national borders. Such a split would effectively destroying the internet's greatest asset - interconnection.

The DoC and ICANN will try to avoid handing over any oversight power to governments by giving a larger role to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) within ICANN and then allow the organisation to become autonomous at the expiration of the new MoU.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Next page: Transition

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.