ICANN-DoC MoU is over; 10 principles replace it.

The NTIA has published this document. It puts an end to the ICANN – Department of Commerce Memorandum of Understanding.Just in case, if the above link doesn’t work, here’s the text of the new Joint Project Areement:



The U.S. Department of Commerce (Department) has an agreement (the Joint Project Agreement) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the purpose of the joint development of the mechanisms, methods, and procedures necessary to effect the transition of Internet domain name and addressing system (DNS) to the private sector. The Department continues to support private sector leadership in the innovation and investment that has characterized the development and expansion of the Internet around the globe. Furthermore, the Department continues to support the work of ICANN as the coordinator for the technical functions related to the management of the Internet DNS. Both Parties agree that preserving the security and stability of the Internet DNS is a priority, with ICANN’s focus on DNS security matters being critical to this effort.

Agreement Between the Parties

In recognition of the Parties’ desire to institutionalize the private sector technical coordination and management of the Internet DNS to the private sector, the Parties hereby agree as follows:

I. To strike Section V.B. from the Joint Project Agreement in its entirety and to substitute the following:

B. Department. The Department reaffirms its policy goal of transitioning the technical coordination of the DNS to the private sector in a manner that promotes stability and security, competition, bottom-up coordination, and representation. Consistent with this objective, the Department agrees to perform the following activities:

1. Transparency and Accountability: Continue to provide expertise and advice on methods and administrative procedures to encourage greater transparency, accountability, and openness in the consideration and adoption of policies related to the technical coordination of the Internet DNS;
2. Root Server Security: Continue to consult with the managers of root name servers operated by the U.S. Government and with other responsible U.S. Government agencies with respect to operational and security matters, both physical and network, of such root name servers and recommendations for improvements in those matters;
3. Governmental Advisory Committee: Participate in the Governmental Advisory Committee so as to facilitate effective consideration by ICANN of GAC advice on the public policy aspects of the technical coordination of the Internet DNS; and
4. Monitoring: Continue to monitor the performance of the activities conducted pursuant to this Agreement.

II. To strike Section V.C. from the Joint Project Agreement in its entirety and to substitute the following:

C. ICANN. ICANN reaffirms its commitment to maintaining security and stability in the coordination of the technical functions related to the management of the DNS and to perform as an organization founded on the principles of stability and security, competition, bottom-up coordination, and representation. In conformity with the ICANN Board-approved mission and core values, ICANN agrees to perform the following activities:

1. Accountability: To take action on the Responsibilities set out in the Affirmation of Responsibilities established by the ICANN Board in ICANN Board Resolution 06.71, dated September 25, 2006, (Responsibilities) and attached hereto as Annex A; and
2. Reporting: To publish, on or before December 31st of each year, an ICANN Annual Report that sets out ICANN’s progress against the following:
a. ICANN Bylaws;
b. ICANN’s Responsibilities; and
c. ICANN’s Strategic and Operating Plans.

III. Strike Section VII from the Joint Project Agreement in its entirety and to replace it with:

A. This Agreement will become effective upon signature of ICANN and the Department. This Agreement will terminate on September 30, 2009.
B. In furtherance of the objective of this Agreement, and to support the completion of the transition of DNS management to the private sector, the Department will hold regular meetings with ICANN senior management and leadership to assess progress. In addition, the Department will conduct a midterm review of progress achieved on each activity and Responsibility that will include consultation with interested stakeholders.
C. This Agreement may not be amended except upon the mutual written agreement of the Parties. Either Party may terminate this Agreement by providing one hundred twenty (120) days written notice to the other Party. If this Agreement is terminated, each Party shall be solely responsible for the payment of any expenses it has incurred. This Agreement is subject to the availability of funds.

IV. Except as specifically modified by this document, the terms and conditions of the Joint Project Agreement remain unchanged.

(signed by John Kneuer, acting A/S DoC, and Paul Twomey, President/CEO of ICANN)

Appendix A:

for ICANN’s Private Sector Management

Approved by the ICANN Board of Directors
25 September 2006

ICANN’s shall continue in its commitment to the private sector management of the Internet DNS, by promoting the security and stabilityof the global Internet, while maintaining, and promoting competition through its multi-stakeholder model.

ICANN hereby affirms and agrees to be guided by the following responsibilities:

1) Security and Stability: ICANN shall coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.

2) Transparency: ICANN shall continue to develop, test and improve processes and procedures to encourage improved transparency, accessibility, efficiency, and timeliness in the consideration and adoption of policies related to technical coordination of the Internet DNS, and funding for ICANN operations. ICANN will innovate and aspire to be a leader in the area of transparency for organizations involved in private sector management.

3) Accountability: ICANN shall continue to develop, test, maintain, and improve on accountability mechanisms to be responsive to global Internet stakeholders in the consideration and adoption of policies related to the technical coordination of the Internet DNS, including continuing to improve openness and accessibility for enhanced participation in ICANN’s bottom-up participatory policy development processes.

4) Root Server Security and Relationships: ICANN shall continue to coordinate with the operators of root name servers and other appropriate experts with respect to the operational and security matters, both physical and network, relating to the secure and stable coordination of the root zone; ensure appropriate contingency planning; maintain clear processes in root zone changes. ICANN will work to formalize relationships with root name server operators.

5) TLD Management: ICANN shall maintain and build on processes to ensure that competition, consumer interests, and Internet DNS stability and security issues are identified and considered in TLD management decisions, including the consideration and implementation of new TLDs and the introduction of IDNs. ICANN will continue to develop its policy development processes, and will further develop processes for taking into account recommendations from ICANN’s advisory committees and supporting organizations and other relevant expert advisory panels and organizations. ICANN shall continue to enforce existing policy relating to WHOIS, such existing policy requires that ICANN implement measures to maintain timely, unrestricted and public access to accurate and complete WHOIS information, including registrant, technical, billing and administrative contact information. ICANN shall continue its efforts to achieve stable agreements with country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) operators.

6) Multi-stakeholder Model: ICANN shall maintain and improve multi-stakeholder model and the global participation of all stakeholders, including conducting reviews of its existing advisory committees and supporting organizations, and will continue to further the effectiveness of the bottom-up policy development processes. ICANN will strive to increase engagement with the Private Sector by developing additional mechanisms for involvement of those affected by the ICANN policies.

7) Role of Governments: ICANN shall work with the Government Advisory Committee Members to review the GAC’s role within ICANN so as to facilitate effective consideration of GAC advice on the public policy aspects of the technical coordination of the Internet.

8) IP Addressing: ICANN shall continue to work collaboratively on a global and regional level so as to incorporate Regional Internet Registries’ policy-making activities into the ICANN processes while allowing them to continue their technical work. ICANN shall continue to maintain legal agreements with the RIRs (and such other appropriate organizations) reflecting this work.

9) Corporate Responsibility: ICANN shall maintain excellence and efficiency in operations, including good governance, organizational measures to maintain stable, international private sector organization, and shall maintain relevant technical and business experience for members of the Board of Directors, executive management, and staff. ICANN will implement appropriate mechanisms that foster participation in ICANN by global Internet stakeholders, such as providing educational services and fostering information sharing for constituents and promoting best practices among industry segments.

10) Corporate Administrative Structure: ICANN shall conduct a review of, and shall make necessary changes in, corporate administrative structure to ensure stability, including devoting adequate resources to contract enforcement, taking into account organizational and corporate governance “best practices.”

== end of quote

For me that’s a really historic moment for ICANN, and the ICANN community. The Internet may not notice that – as it usually doesn’t notice what ICANN does, when things are moving properly. I am happy to be part of the Board of ICANN, which moves the organization into the next level – more responsible to the needs of the domain name holders, more pro-active in the time of the Internet Governance. Long time ago I talked with Bob Shaw from the ITU, and I told him that the MoU is not the solution to the future problems. It was good for the time being, but it must be replaced with something new, something that will make ICANN better. And I truly believe ICANN will be better. It must be better.

My term as a director expires in a couple of months, but I feel confident that ICANN will continue with improving its work, and I hope that all interested parties will feel that positive change. If I can be of help in the future, I am sure I will contribute again to ICANN. I am also sure that the GAC will have a better role, and I am also sure that ICANN will outreach to countries and nations, which so far have not been very active in the ICANN field. Now we can focus on substential issues, like IDNs (internationalized domain names), IPv6, improving the ccTLD work (check out the coming on Oct. 24-26 ccTLD workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria), and bringing more experts in helping change the legal framework world-wide, so to make it Internet-friendly.

The Joint Project Agreement was made possible through serious discussion on the MoU, including vas email contributions from many people, organizations and governments.


P.S. This was just published on the ICANN’s site:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today signed a new agreement with the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) that is a dramatic step forward for full management of the Internet’s system of centrally coordinated identifiers through the multi-stakeholder model of consultation that ICANN represents.
“ICANN has secured an agreement that recognizes it as being responsible for the management of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers on an ongoing basis. It means ICANN is more autonomous,” Dr Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN said.

Previous to this agreement there was a Memorandum of Understanding between the DOC and ICANN that was highly prescriptive. The MOU expires on 30 September 2006.

“The United States Department of Commerce has clearly signaled that multi-stakeholder management of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers is the way ahead and ICANN is the obvious organization to take that responsibility,” Dr Twomey stated.

The major gains in this new agreement are:

– ICANN will no longer have its work prescribed for it. How it works and what it works on is up to ICANN and its community to devise;
– ICANN is not required to report every 6 months as it has been under the MOU. It will now provide an annual report that will be targeted to the whole Internet community;
– There is no requirement to report regularly to the DOC. The DOC will simply meet with senior ICANN staff from time to time.

“The ICANN model of multi-stakeholder consultation is working and this agreement endorses it. Our community makes it work and we are constantly evolving and improving through their advice and support,” Dr Twomey said. “This is a great achievement for the ICANN community. Our community is made up of very committed, highly skilled individuals most of whom are volunteers and take their responsibilities very seriously. This result is a tribute to their efforts,” he added.

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One Response to ICANN-DoC MoU is over; 10 principles replace it.

  1. Veni,

    OK, this document signed by both parties, ICANN and DoC, is not called a “memorandum of understanding”. This allows you to state the MoU is over. Whatever name this document bears is irrelevant, it is the substance that matters.

    It seems that ICANN will have less paperwork to fill but on the other hand “The DOC will simply meet with senior ICANN staff from time to time”. This is a clear indication that the new agreement keeps the spirit of the previous one. The USG keeps control and rather than doing openly though formal, documented, contacts with the board, they will do it undercover with the staff.

    In this agreement, I see there is no commitment from the USG that it will be the very last one. Neither do I read in this agreement a commitment to enforce the WSIS decisions that no single country should have control over another country’s TLD.

    Frankly, I was not expecting anything else from the Bush administration. It has repeatedly demonstrated a very high degree of deafness to the expectations of the rest of the world.

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