ICANN kicks off discussion on boosting accountability


ICANN kicks off discussion on boosting accountability

Photo: Steve Crocker speaking at a press conference / ICANN

Domain name system overseer ICANN is seeking public comments on how it might enhance its accountability.

In the wake of the US government’s decision to walk away from its contract with ICANN, the organisation wants to assess its accountability internally.

To do this, ICANN has first opened a comment period, running from May 6 to 27, during which members of the public can submit their thoughts.

While this process will run in parallel with ICANN’s attempt to replace the US on the so-called IANA contract, which allows the government to oversee ICANN, it is separate.

In a blog post, Steve Crocker, who chairs the ICANN board, said both processes are “top priorities for the board and me”.

Explaining more about the internal accountability drive, Crocker said ICANN will “take an inventory” of its existing accountability mechanisms, such as the Affirmation of Commitments, examine if and how they should be strengthened, and explore the needs for new mechanisms.

“More generally, the process will examine what new or enhanced accountability mechanisms will be necessary in the absence of ICANN’s historical contractual relationship to the US government,” he said.

The US government has asked ICANN to find a replacement for it, but has stated that it will not allow governments or inter-governmental organisations to take over.

Croker continued: “Though open to all, the accountability process will take place mainly within the ICANN community, whereas the process on the transition of the IANA functions stewardship will occur across multiple fora.

“These developments come at a critical juncture as the discussion on the evolution of the internet governance ecosystem has gained considerable momentum. More importantly, the global multistakeholder community has signalled its readiness to engage in inclusive, collaborative decision-making processes to achieve tangible results.”


icann, accountability, iana, steve crocker, public comments

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