JPA Midterm review

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The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System: Midterm Review of the Joint Project Agreement


A July 1, 1997 Executive Memorandum directed the Secretary of Commerce to privatize the domain name system (DNS) in a manner that increases competition and facilitates international participation in its management. In order to fulfill this Presidential directive, the Department of Commerce in June 1998, issued a statement of policy on the privatization of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS), known as the DNS White Paper. This document articulated four primary functions for global DNS coordination and management:

  1. To set policy for and direct the allocation of IP number blocks;
  2. To oversee the operation of the Internet root server system;
  3. To oversee policy for determining the circumstances under which new top level domains (TLDs) would be added to the root server system; and
  4. To coordinate the assignment of other technical protocol parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet.

In the DNS White Paper, the Department of Commerce concluded that these functions were relevant to the state of the DNS and should be primarily performed through private sector management. To this end, the Department of Commerce stated that it was prepared to enter into agreement with a new not-for-profit corporation formed by private sector Internet stakeholders. Private sector interests formed the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for this purpose.

In the fall of 1998, the Department of Commerce entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ICANN, a California non-profit corporation, to transition technical DNS coordination and management functions to the private sector.

On June 30, 2005 NTIA released the U.S. Principles on the Internet's Domain Name and Addressing System, which state: the United States Government intends to preserve the security and stability of the DNS by maintaining its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file; governments have legitimate interest in the management of their country code top level domains (ccTLD); ICANN is the appropriate technical manager of the Internet's DNS; and dialogue related to Internet governance should continue in relevant multiple fora.

On May 23, 2006, NTIA issued a Notice of Inquiry and announced a Public Meeting on The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System. The public consultation resulted in over 700 contributions from individuals, private corporations, trade associations, non-governmental entities and foreign governments. It showed broad support for continuing the transition of the coordination of the technical management of the DNS to the private sector and the continued involvement of the DOC in this transition. On September 29, 2006, NTIA and ICANN signed a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) extending the current Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and ICANN. The JPA called for a midpoint review of ICANN's progress towards becoming a more stable organization with greater transparency and accountability in its procedures and decision making.

In October 2007 the NTIA issued a Request For Comments for the purpose of a Midterm Review with a deadline of Feb 14 2008. On Feb 28 2008 a hearing was held in Washington DC.

ICANN submitted a comments stating that, in their view, they had satisfied all the conditions laid down in the JPA, and suggesting that it be terminated immediately in order that the transition process may move forward.

Submitted Comments

Submitted comments posted elsewhere

Other comments

Feb 28 hearing