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    A Public Private Partnership | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 17 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re:ICANN's Authority Comes from More than One Plac
    by George Matrox on Friday February 20 2004, @09:13AM (#13006)
    User #3946 Info
    Instead of being "muddy thinking", isn't the fact that there are multiple sources of ICANN's authority a motivator for ICANN to be responsive and accountable? True enough, either the DoC or the IAB could change its designation of ICANN. So could the RIRs, who have a MoU designating ICANN to perform certain coordination functions. (The MoU appears to be under revision as to its substance, but not as to its designation of ICANN.) The root server operators' acceptance of the ICANN-approved root zone as authoritative could also fall away.

    A difference or dispute among the designators as to whether ICANN should continue to have its authority would undoubtedly inject uncertainty into matters for which it is best to have commonly recognized authority. For that reason, the designators would not lightly choose to make differing designations. Having many different entities designating ICANN, however, helps ensure that ICANN is responsive to the various segments of the community while avoiding centralizing authority in any one of the designators. In my view, this dispersion of designation authority is preferable to having a single entity designating who performs the IANA coordination function, whether the designation is of a single entity or responsibility for the IANA function is fractured among many entities, as you have proposed to the ITU.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:ICANN's Authority Comes from More than One Plac by George Matrox
    Re:ICANN's Authority Comes from More than One Plac
    by KarlAuerbach on Friday February 20 2004, @01:26PM (#13009)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    You are mirroring something I wrote in my talk "Why Louix XIV Would Have Loved The Internet" [cavebear.com], which is that institutions gain legitimacy through group acceptance by doing things well over an extended period of time. (The Red Cross is a good example of this kind of evolution.)

    The first tangent got onto is on the issue of "parnership", which is a rather different matter than the growth of legitmacy. My point is that advisors are not partners - the former is a position of subservience while the latter represents truely shared authority.

    This tangent is where ICANN's role to "do IANA" comes from. As you pointed out there are many who are telling ICANN to "do it" (although if you look at the "MoU"s you might find that not only do they have questionable status regarding the creation of legally binding obligations but they are also written in extremely indirect and vague terms).

    But those who are telling ICANN to "do it" themselves have little of no claim on "doing IANA". Certainly the US National Atmospheric and Oceanic Adminstration has no such position to delegate, nor has the US Department of Commerce.

    The IAB/IETF has the best claim to "owning" IANA, at least with regard to the assignment of "protocol parameters". But that is a clerical function that could be done by pretty much the kind of person who would be a good bookeeper.

    The big IANA functions are the allocation of big address blocks to the RIRs - and the public interest aspects of that are unexplored territory. I do not accept that the acquiescence of the RIRs confers anything more than exactly that, the acquiescence of the RIRs. The RIRs never had the role of handing out primary allocations to themselves anyway, so they had nothing to delegate to IANA in that regard.

    The ccTLD recognition issue is the big one - This gets into the whole question of what is a ccTLD: Is it an entry in a database that just happens to coincindently resemble the fact of national existance, or is it an actual attribute of a nation's existance? My own sense is that ICANN, many ccTLD operators, and the IETF have argued for the former but that reality is drifting towards the latter. If the latter obtains, then the IETF, the IAB, the RIRs have no power to delegate.

    Yes, this big issue in ICANN is how to bootstrap legitimacy. My point is that we don't do that by saying that authority was derived from those who didn't have authority in the first place.

    ICANN's grasp on IANA is tenuous as long as it is based on the vague relationships. My answer, as I discuss in my ITU submissions, is that the whole ICANN/IANA combination needs to be split into component parts, each part having a precise and limited role and with an explicit operational/governance model and explicit statement of why and how it is legitimate.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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