Thursday, March 30, 2006

Midwives for new ICANN

By Rebecca Wanjiku

The Internet Corporation for assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has appointed a 10-man committee to discuss and give recommendations on its new role after the memorandum with the US government expires this year.

The committee is composed of big names in the Information Society and is expected to help identify characteristics of a model that will satisfy the internet community as well as governments.

“The committee will be mandated to study the environment surrounding conclusion of the MoU and advise on how issues of government and non-governmental entities can be addressed,” said Paul Twomey, ICANN president.

The strategic committee appointed under the president, has three co-chairs- ICANN board member Peter Dengate Thrush, former Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, and Twomey. ICANN board chairman Vint Cerf is an ex officio member.

Other members include; former chair of the first preparatory committee for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Adama Samassekou, Janis Karklins, who was the chair of the second preparatory committee, Thomas Niles, and Marilyn Cade.
Twomey informer the public gathering in Wellington that two senior business figures in the United States have verbally agreed to be a members but he did not have written confirmation from their offices and he could not give their names.

But participants raised questions regarding composition of the group and what its main objective was. There were questions whether it was supposed to merely represent regions or was a diplomatic exercise actuated by the need to present ICANN as an international body.

ICANN board member Raimundo Beca questioned the composition noting that South America was not represented in the arrangement.

Cerf said the members were selected to reflect the international nature of the committee and to solicit opinions from outsiders regarding how the internet oversight body should be ran.

“The committee is expected to form additional source of information from people who don’t come to ICANN meetings. It is a multi-stakeholder structure and we tried to be as inclusive as possible,” said Twomey.

Before ICANN disengages from the US department of commerce, it is expected to fulfill requirements by ensuring that it has implemented a consensus policy regarding new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and establish accountability frameworks with country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) e.g.,, and many others.
ICANN is also expected to execute addition MoUs with Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) describing duties of all parties. RIRs include; AFriNIC for Africa, RIPE NCC for Europe and the Middle East, ARIN for North America, LACNIC for Latin America including the Caribbean and APNIC for Asia-Pacific region.


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