Will the Internet Die On September 30?
Top Secret Nobody Knows
ICANN was always supposed to become an automonous body. When the US government created the organisation back in 1998, the stated intention was that when the contract expired in 2003, the US government would cut itself out of the internet.
But the Bush administration then decided it didn't like this arrangement and reneged on the deal. It looks certain to do the same again. And if there is any doubt that this is not the right course for the entire internet to follow, it is highlighted in the fact that not a soul will discuss it.
So that's the question for everyone at ICANN next week. Let's hope the people entrusted to oversee this revolutionary medium don't get distracted with the small battles and forget the bigger picture.
September 30 Expiration Date
The United States government's expiring contracts with ICANN,
both the Memorandum of Understanding and the IANA contract
The MoU by which ICANN draws all of its authority, and by which the US government asserts control over the internet, will expire on 30 September. IANA is the contract to run the database that specifies where everything is on the internet. It is the fundamental internet directory. The contract that ICANN has to run IANA - granted again by the US government - was extended almost arbitrarily to coincide with the MoU's 30 September expiration date.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
STATEMENT REGARDING EXTENSION OF
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH
THE INTERNET CORPORATION
FOR ASSIGNED NAMES AND NUMBERS
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No Public Discussion
What is incredible about these two contracts is that even though they will expire shortly, there has been absolutely no public discussion of them. I personally have asked US government officials and ICANN about what the plans and intentions are, and have yet to receive a single piece of useful information.
This is the last meeting of ICANN before that expiration date. The contract is of such fundamental importance that, if it were not renewed, ICANN would effectively cease to exist and all the planning that has gone into the December Brazil meeting would have all been for nought.
The US government refuses to state what everyone knows its intention is: to renew the MoU with itself in overall charge, because that will infuriate everyone that isn't the US government.
The US government has also made vague noises about accepting a different company to run the IANA contract, but with that contract expiring soon, it is more than likely just waving the IANA contract about as another way of fogging the issue so the hard questions aren't asked and it can award it back to ICANN.
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*Will the Internet Die In September?