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CFR Report: Reversing IANA Transition by Trump Administration Would Be a Grave Mistake

Council on Foreign Relations has released a brief today authored by Megan Stifel, former director for international cyber policy at the U.S. National Security Council in the Obama administration, urging Trump administration to not back away from the IANA transition and to instead invest in the multistakeholder process. In the report titled, "Maintaining U.S. Leadership on Internet Governance," Stifel writes: "Given President Trump’s campaign statements, the U.S. government might attempt to reverse the IANA transition, possibly through lawsuits or by unilaterally reimposing NTIA’s oversight function. Such a move would be a grave mistake."

"Given that the transition is effectively irreversible, the United States needs to respond to new institutional and political realities and find alternative ways to maintain its influence on internet governance."

"Reversal of the transition would also undermine ICANN’s critical operations beyond administering the IANA functions, such as managing domain names. The appearance that ICANN is susceptible to the whims of the U.S. government threatens the integrity of its decision-making processes, which may discourage businesses and civil society groups from continuing to voluntarily participate in them."

"Short of reversal, the Trump administration might choose to distance itself from internet governance matters to delegitimize a model it does not believe in. This too would be a mistake because it would reduce U.S. influence over internet policy and leave authoritarian regimes to fill the vacuum."

Also included in the brief are a set of recommendations for the U.S. government to reduce critical Internet vulnerabilities, build trust, and to empower newcomers to the Internet governance process. Read the full report here.

Related topics: Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation


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The CFR Report seems bogus Anthony Rutkowski  –  Feb 24, 2017 2:42 PM PDT

This analysis seems bogus for several reasons.

First, Trump and fellow White House occupiers have a lot more to be concerned about than ICANN - which disappears in the noise.  Second, Trump from present indicators could care less about the internet - whatever that is these days - except as a cyber threat. Third, there is not anything he could really do even if he did care.  Fourth, ICANN doesn't matter much anymore - it just helps market DARPA Internet domain names and runs one of many name and number secretariats and helps ramp up international travel a bit.  (ICANN could go away and everything would be just fine except for fewer airline passenger miles.)

Last but perhaps best, ICANN's disappearance would hasten the shift to other namespace mechanisms.  Google long ago made DNS unnecessary.  Even Bob Kahn who devised the tcp/ip protocol has stood up an alternative namespace resolver mechanism and global governance body - DONA.  All of these aged deterministic namespace schemes are outdated and likely to be replaced by far more effective and less resource intensive schemes like blockchain equivalents run as NFV instantiations.

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