Internationalization, globalization, moving beyond the USG

Topic factors (explanation)

Importance: High
Interest: High
Agreement: Low
Resolution: Low

ICANN remains the most discussed and analyzed Internet governance topic and institution - to the extent that posters frequently complain it is taking precedence over other equally important issues.

Related and linked to ICANN are the IANA functions; specifically the ability to add to and edit the root zone file.

There are many issues with ICANN: how it makes decisions, how different groups are represented, and how effective it is at following its rules and enforcing contracts. But the most significant aspect of ICANN and IANA that has been considered on the list is the influence of the US government.

ICANN is based in the United States and is subject to US law. Its main accountability mechanism is through an "Affirmation of Commitments" signed only with the US government. And much of ICANN's authority stems from running the IANA functions - which are a bundled contract awarded solely by the United States government.

Despite extensive discussions about the limited ability of the US government to have a real-world impact on either ICANN or IANA, even seasoned Internet governance observers argue that there needs to be a revision of the US government's role following the NSA/Snowden revelations.

The much-anticipated meeting in Brazil in April 2014 was set up in part to review US government influence on the Internet. Likewise, the Montevideo Statement by the I* organizations was clear in its desire to make both ICANN and IANA more global. The European Commission has been explicit for some years about its desire to change current arrangements.

There have been numerous efforts - many by ICANN and the US government - to review and update the situation. But in each case the status quo has been retained, leading to renewed calls for change.

It is possible that /1net as a neutral body and with its main driver being to maintain a single, interoperable Internet could help develop ways to evolve the existing arrangements to the general agreement and benefit of all.