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IANA Stewardship Transition to ICANN : Are we heading for a decentralized Internet?

Topic: IANA Stewardship Transition to ICANN : Are we heading for a decentralized Internet ?
Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016
Time: 15:00 CET – 16:00 CET
Platform: Google Hangouts                                          
Speakers :
  • Mr.Fahd Batyana, Stakeholder Engagement Manager ICANN, Jordan  
  • Mrs. Wafa Dahmani, Senior Engineer & Head of Internet Resources Department, Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI), Tunisia
  • Mr. Tijani Ben Jemaa, Retired Telecommunication engineer, Executive Director of the Mediterranean Federation of Internet Associations, Tunisia

On March 14, 2014, NTIA announced its desire to transition its stewardship of the IANA functions to ICANN global multi-stakeholder community representatives from government, large and small businesses, technical experts, civil society, researchers, academics, and end users. The last remaining legal vestige of American control of the network will vanish next year. IANA stewardship of the network will transition to an international nonprofit (ICANN) that may, or may not, have the capabilities required. That is a big deal. 

For roughly the past 15 years, ICANN has entered into a contract with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a component of the Department of Commerce, to manage the IANA function. We must be confident that any changes made will not disrupt the existing status quo adversely. To be sure, the IANA function is a small portion of the broader international internet governance question but the answer we choose in this transition may well be a model for other aspects of network governance. 

The Internet is a public space, where we think we have certain rights and freedoms for the benefit of the global community to ensure that local, regional, and international stakeholders strengthen the Internet. In the same vein, Internet Policy analysts and legal experts are cautious not to rush to change the current structure. Is the pronounced transition of IANA to ICANN successful in creating the opportunity for economic growth and intellectual freedom especially in the Mena region ?

How can ICANN support and enhance the multistakeholder model ? Maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet DNS ? Meet the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services ? What is the « decentralized » Internet model of Internet governance that can be able to maintain the openness of the Internet ? 
IANA transition to ICANN brings up some more controversial topics that are attracting a wider set of stakeholders, for example the unresolved issues of privacy, free flow of data, surveillance, and encryption, as well as the security or rather insecurity of a space of networked machines for end-users remain open questions to be answered to guarantee online freedoms and the grassroots communities’ representation in the global Internet governance ecosystem. 
The IANA transition to ICANN has not to replace NTIA’s role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution. What is remarkable is the enduring appeal of these principles and their resonance internationally, regionally and locally with virtually all Internet stakeholders. We should be reassured by this fact. We should also be confident that if the IANA stewardship transition plan and its implementation live up to these questions. The Internet will continue to rest on a foundation that serves its continuity as the extraordinary medium that we have come to expect and upon which we rely.
Questions :                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • What is the IANA function and why it has to transit from the US gov oversight to ICANN?
  • How the IANA  transition to ICANN is a central driver of economic, social and political freedoms.  What are the significant potential risks and also potential gains ?
  • Can you elaborate more on the  CCWG-Accountability Proposal Approval of IANA stewardship transition to ICANN ? 
  • What are the concerns that the transition to ICANN raises on the Technical, Political and Financial assessment of future of ICANN Policy Choices ?
  • How will ICANN manage the Internet ecosystem to ensure its continued openness and independence from government oversight?
  • When it comes to Competence, can ICANN do the job? Is ICANN sufficiently transparent and accountable? Do the mechanisms ICANN puts in place support its independence from authoritarian control?
  • How does ICANN handle human rights considerations in its policy process?  What is ICANN's responsibility to human rights, or as a private California corporation does ICANN have no duty to protect human rights?  
IGMENA organizes monthly online debates on Internet Governance (IG), addressing topics covering local, regional, and global issues.

The main objective of these debates is to facilitate the discussion on IG issues specific to the MENA region. It encourages more interaction among IG and policy stakeholders to share their contribution on the current developments in the field. The debates aim to meet the specific needs of Arab netizens and to put forward timely and relevant topics that will encourage participants to exchange points of views, articulate challenges and concerns, and define shared concepts. This series of live debates will also serve as a tool to keep the IGMENA community growing, connected, and active about current IG issues.

Each session has a main speaker who presents the debate topic, accompanied by several other contributors. The discussion is moderated and facilitated by IGMENA, providing space for viewers to share their comments, post their contributions, and raise their questions to the speakers to feed the debate.  

The language used during the online debates is either Arabic or English. The debates are open to the general public. The audience includes the IGMENA community, networks and organisations active in the IG field from the Arab region, and anyone from the international audience who would like to participate and contribute.

One week before each live debate, an update with information about the forthcoming debate on Google Hangouts is published on the IGMENA website and shared with the IGMENA network. Those who are interested will be able to join the debate and share their comments until the end of the live session. The video is available on the IGMENA website after the live broadcast (via the IGMENA Youtube channel), open for new comments as well as suggestions on new topics. In addition, a summary of the main points addressed during the online debate is published on the IGMENA website.

This series of debates is part of IGMENA’s advocacy for freedom of expression and freedom of information in the Arab region through raising awareness among various stakeholders and engaging them in the Internet Governance process.