Tomorrow (Sept. 30th) is a big day of the Internet. The Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the U.S Department of Commerce and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) expires.
ICANN has operated under a yearly JPA from the Department of Commerce since 1998. Will it be renewed again this year?
Here’s what I know at this point. ICANN will make some kind of formal announcement on September 30th about the JPA, beyond that, details are few and far between (and yes I’ll be speaking with ICANN first thing Wednesday morning..).
There are some people that think that ICANN, operating under contract from the U.S government. means that the U.S exerts unfair influence over ICANN and by extension, the Internet itself. Among those that don’t like the U.S influence is a top European Union commissioner.
Truth is, even today (before whatever announcement is made tomorrow), there is multi-national input into the governance and operations of ICANN.
Rob Beckstrom the recently anointed CEO of ICANN said in a June press conference that, ICANN already has
participation from over 80 countries by way of the Governmental
Advisory Committee (GAC), which is an ICANN advisory body.
The other side of the argument, is the simple fact that control (however menial) is in the best interests of the U.S as ICANN and the Internet represent a strategic U.S interest. How could the U.S ever give that up?