ICANN POLICIES AND REFORMS
By Simran Nangia:-
ICANN Stands for “Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers.” The ICANN is an non-profit corporation that is responsible for allocating IP addresses and managing the domain name system. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer – a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn’t have one global Internet. Let us know about ICANN’S few policies and reforms.
There are multiple kinds of policy within the ICANN world: formal policies related to the global internet’s system of unique identifiers (DNS), operational policies, and general practices
- DNS Policy
DNS Policies are developed through formal policy development processes (PDPs), as set forth by the Bylaws.
- Operational Policy
Operational policies define how ICANN operates as an organisation. These policies are not subject to a policy development process (PDP), but community input is generally sought via public comment or other means.
- General Practices
ICANN relies on many established practices that have not necessarily gone through a formalised Board approval process. Examples include the 30-day public comment requirement for Bylaw changes as well as the rules relating to public comment forums.
A key step in this maturation has been thecompleted reform process transforming “ICANN 1.0” into “ICANN 2.0”. These reforms were launched in February 2002, with paper presented to the community by its president: “ICANN: The Case for Reform” and carried forward by the Committee on Evolution and Reform (the ERC) appointed by the ICANN Board of Directors. He noted that three key problem areas needed to be addressed if ICANN were to continue to succeed in the future:
- Too Little Participation by Critical Entities
- Too Much Process.
- Too Little Funding.
This has culminated in a new set of Bylaws for
ICANN, now in place, that significantly transform the organization, and address many of the key problems identified in the initial report. These new Bylaws make over the entire structure of ICANN, particularly of the ICANN Board of Directors, and of the Supporting Organizations that bring together the work of ICANN’s various constituencies. The composition, the means of selection, and the policy development processes have changed to where the focus will be on effectiveness supported by efficient processes. The means of working with the critical Governmental Advisory Committee have been redefined to ensure that government advice is properly integrated into these processes where matters of public policy are involved. Communication channels have been strengthened to ensure that important advice is heard, including the addition of governmental and other liaisons to the Board. New avenues for meaningful participation by informed users have been integrated into the reformed structure, and new modes for streamlining accountability and transparency have been initiated to replace the initial experiments that have not worked as well as they might. At the same time, increased funding will improve ICANN’s operational responsiveness in providing IANA and contracting services to the various communities served by ICANN. Work remains to be done in filling in some of the important details, particularly those targeted towards the first problem identified in the report, but good progress is being made.
One area of significant progress, is ICANN’s relationship with the country top-level domains (ccTLDs). Under the reformed structure, it is envisaged that the ccTLDs will participate in a supporting organization devoted exclusively the global policy issues that affect ccTLDs. Work towards the structure of this supporting organization is progressing well, and it is anticipated that it will be finalized by the next ICANN Board meeting in March 2003. The ccNSO will play an important role in the ICANN structure, providing advice on global policy issues, as well as addressing issues unique to ccTLDs and their operations.
One issue that requires much work relating to ccTLDs, is the challenges relating to ccTLD redelegations. No redelegation of a ccTLD manager is the same; each case is unique and each set of circumstances requires the appropriate level of attention. In general, there are about fifteen categories of redelegations that ICANN must address, and even within these categories, of course each situation is again unique. Each situation requires careful cooperation with the local Internet community, including governments.
The role of governments in ICANN is of utmost importance. Governments and distinct economies participate in ICANN through the GAC. Membership in the GAC currently represents over 90 percent of the worlds Internet users and domain name registrants, and is open to all national governments and distinct economies. Additionally, governmental organizations and treaty organizations, on invitation of the GAC through its Chair, or on invitation of the ICANN Board participate through the GAC. The GAC played an important role in the ICANN reform discussion, advising on structures and processes to ensure an appropriate vehicle for governments’ participation in ICANN. Among its work, the GAC also plays an important role in discussions with ccTLDs on ICANN-related issues of mutual importance. As noted above, under the reformed ICANN, the means of working with the GAC have been redefined to ensure that government advice is properly integrated into the reformed processes on matters of public policy.
While ICANN doesn’t control what content goes on the Internet, meaning it cannot regulate Internet access or help to stop spam from occurring, it does help keep the web safe by developing and enforcing policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. These unique identifiers are the name and number that you type into the address bar when conducting a search for a given site. The address for that site has to be unique so computers know where to find each other.
By helping to coordinate these unique identifiers all over the world, ICANN allows us to have a global Internet. In doing so, ICANN also helps promote competition on the web and plays a vital role in the expansion and evolution of the Internet.
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