The Cross Community Working Group (CWG) tasked with developing to produce a consolidated transition proposal for the elements of the IANA Functions relating to the Domain Name System (DNS) has now published its draft transition proposal for public comment. While emphasizing that the proposal is “interrelated and interdependent ” on results of the Cross Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability (“CCWG-Accountability”), the group proposes the following elements for the transition:
- The current operational performance of the IANA Naming Functions is generally satisfactory to its direct customers, and the community generally believes that the current NTIA oversight arrangement has been successful in ensuring the accountability of the IANA Functions Operator in that role. As such, the objective of the CWG is largely to replicate the roles played by the NTIA in the execution and oversight of the IANA Naming Functions as faithfully as possible, while acknowledging that certain changes will be required to contractual terms and arrangements that are particular to contracts entered into with the U.S. government.
- The CWG does not believe that there is a reason to transition the IANA Naming Functions outside of ICANN concurrent with the IANA Stewardship Transition. Maintaining this part of the status quo implies that the new arrangements post-transition should provide the possibility of replacing ICANN as the IANA Functions Operator at a later date, including by means of a Request for Proposal (RFP) or other tender process.
- The proposed replacement solution should not seek to create another ICANN-like structure with associated costs and complexities.
- The proposal should not seek to replace the role of the ICANN multi-stakeholder community with respect to policy development for the Names Community, nor to affect existing TLD policies or how they are currently applied by the IANA Functions Operator.
- The existing separation between ICANN as a policy body and ICANN as the IANA Functions Operator needs to be reinforced and strengthened.
The group outlines a 4 part structure:
- Contract Co. – This primary function of this entity (likely a non-profit corporation) is to be signatory to the contract with the IANA Functions Operator. This entity should be lightweight and have little or no staff.
- Multistakeholder Review Team (MRT) – The MRT would be a multi-stakeholder body with formally selected representatives from all of the relevant communities (exact composition TBD). The operation of the MRT would be based on the concept of maximum public transparency. The responsibilities of the MRT will include:
- Developing the detailed contract terms for the agreement between Contract Co. and the IANA Functions Operator, based on the key contract terms proposed as part of this proposal and set forth as Annex 3
- Making key decisions for Contract Co. (e.g., whether or not to enter into a rebidding (RFP) process for the operation of the IANA Naming Functions)
- Conducting the IANA Functions Operator Budget Review
- Addressing any escalation issues raised by the Customer Standing Committee (CSC) including the possibility of engaging in enforcement
- Performing certain elements of administration (including periodic performance reviews) currently set forth in the IANA Functions Contract and currently being carried out by the NTIA
- Managing a re-contracting or rebidding (RFP) process for the operation of the IANA Functions, both as an enforcement option and as part of a regular rebidding procedure
The CWG is in the process of discussing whether there is an additional enforcement role for the MRT related to policy implementation by the IANA Functions Operator; specifically, whether the MRT should be able to commence a proceeding before the Independent Appeals Panel.
- Customer Standing Committee (CSC) – While the exact composition is still to be determined, the CSC would primarily be made up of a number of representatives of registry operators, including ccTLD and gTLD registries. Input from the CSC would feed into and inform the work of the MRT. It is possible that the CSC would also include additional individuals with relevant expertise and/or liaisons (or representatives) from otherSO/ACs. The CSC would:
- Work with the MRT to establish Service Levels and Performance Indicators for the performance of the IANA Naming Functions
- Receive reports from the IANA Functions Operator including regular performance reports.
- Review these reports against established service levels and escalate any significant issues to the MRT
- Independent Appeals Panel (IAP) – The CWG recommends that all IANA actions which affect the Root Zone or Root Zone WHOIS database be subject to an independent and binding appeals panel. The Appeals Mechanism should also cover any policy implementation actions that affect the execution of changes to the Root Zone File or Root Zone WHOIS and how relevant policies are applied. This need not be a permanent body, but rather could be handled the same way as commercial disputes are often resolved, through the use of a binding arbitration process using an independent arbitration organization (e.g., ICDR, ICC, AAA) or a standing list of qualified people under rules promulgated by such an organization.
The CWG requests public comments on on some specific aspects of future root management process, including NTIA involvement, as well as an “alternative” proposal for ICANN itself to take over the IANA functions. Deadline for comments is December 22 2014