State of the Net for the Week of September 29

Yvette Miller ⬥ 29 September

This past Saturday, ICANN closed the comment period on enhancing its accountability process, a topic that will continue to be a big discussion point when the organization convenes its next public meeting in Los Angeles in mid-October.

One expressed purpose of this process is to ensure that ICANN remains “accountable in the absence of its contractual relationship with the U.S. government”. Many have noted that while ICANN’s current relationship with the U.S. government may be contractual, there is also a symbolic, stewardship aspect to the U.S.’s role that must be addressed. ICANN leadership continues to assert that while the Internet community might have its work cut out for it, it can address all key issues and challenges directly.

This accountability process began in March 2014 following the NTIA’s announcement that the U.S. government would not be renewing its oversight contract with ICANN. Earlier this month at the IGF meeting, the leaders of ICANN’s stakeholder community – the Supporting Organizations, Advisory Committees, Stakeholder Groups, and Constituencies – banded together to seek additional clarity and transparency on how ICANN is conducting this review of its own accountability. The community groups unanimously requested a 21-day comment period to more thoroughly review the process and submitted questions and suggestions for improving the ICANN accountability document to the ICANN Board of Directors.

Essentially, the debate that has been opened by examining ICANN’s accountability process really goes much deeper, exploring just what ICANN is and to what or to whom it must be accountable.

At the close of the comment period, there are 17 comments for ICANN to review. As a follow up to their earlier actions, leaders from key ICANN stakeholder groups came together once again to submit a joint comment to ICANN. The Chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) asserted that the GAC will be discussing the issue of ICANN accountability during the next ICANN Public Meeting in Los Angeles, drawing specifically on that joint statement. According to the recently released schedule for ICANN 51, discussions on accountability will hit the ground running as soon as the meeting opens on October 11.

For Your Radar

October 12 – 16: ICANN 51 in Los Angeles

October 29: Nine-Month Contracting Deadline for applicants with CIRs

July 29, 2015: 18-Month Contracting Deadline for applicants with CIRs that request and are granted the 9-month extension

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