ICANN Takes Domain Name Action

The initial board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has adopted a policy to accredit Internet domain name registrars and announced the requirements, and has created an ICANN Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) yesterday in Singapore in a
series of meetings held in conjunction with the APRICOT ’99 conference.

With the adoption of the registrar accreditation policy, competing
registrars will be accredited to process registrations in the .com, .org,
and .net generic top level domains (TLDs). Registrars can begin
applications by March 15.

“Five registrars [will go through] a test period from April through June,
and then a wider number of registrars will be put in place possibly in the
July time frame,” said Frank J. Fitzsimmons, senior vice president of
global marketing in The Dun & Bradstreet Corp., one of
the 10 board members of ICANN.

The policy approved yesterday reflects a number of public comments that
reduce the uncertainties for registrars and registrants, and contains
requirements that are clearer and less burdensome as opposed to when it was
first drafted. The guidelines also clarify the legal liabilities of
registrants that license names to anonymous third parties.

The ICANN board has also formed a DNSO to be a consensus-based policy
advisory body within ICANN. The DNSO includes a General Assembly open to
any individual or entity willing to participate in the work of the DNSO.

The initial DNSO should consist of the following constituencies: ccTLD
registries, commercial and business entities, gTLD registries, ISPs and
connectivity providers, non-commercial domain name holders, registrars, and
trademark and anti-counterfeiting interest parties.

Other actions include the adoption of a conflicts of interest policy and a
reconsideration policy as required by the ICANN bylaws.

“The US government was in the business of growing and maintaining the
Internet. Within the last two years they wanted to get out of that
business. They wanted to hand the administration over to a non-profit
global corporation. So they work with other parties to select the
corporation [ICANN],” said Fitzsimmons.

Between now and September 2000, ICANN is slated to gradually take over
responsibility for coordinating domain name system management, IP address
space allocation, protocol parameter assignment coordination, and root
server system management.

“This is meant to be a non-profit, non-governmental corporation. We
interface with governments, but governments are not members of ICANN,”
Fitzsimmons said. “Governments are playing the support role in government
TLDs (gTLDs)–.sg, .au, and .us. Governments are important constituents to
that process. In fact the Government Advisory Committee was kicked off here.”

Inaugurated three days ago at the same series of ICANN meetings in
Singapore, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) further endorsed the
principles of the private-sector model for the technical administration of
the Internet first put in motion by the United States government in July 1998.

“Today represented a significant milestone in the establishment of ICANN,”
said Paul Twomey, chairman of the GAC, three days ago at the inauguration.
“We saw a broad cross-section of the community of nations express strong
support for the idea that the Internet is best managed by the Internet
community itself.”

The GAC is not a decision-making intergovernmental organization, but a
forum for providing advice to ICANN.

“I believe 17 representatives from 17 countries came to Singapore as well
as governmental bodies such as OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development], WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization], WTO
[World Trade Organization], and the European Union,” Fitzsimmons said.

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