Monday, February 21, 2005

The U.S. & Internet Governance Discussions

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Bruno Oudet, blogging from the WSIS, writes that discussions have focused on the role of the American government with respect to the governance of the Internet (with everyone asking what will happen after the expiry of ICANN's MOU with the U.S. Department of Commerce):

Au centre de la discussion a été le rôle du gouvernement américain dans la gouvernance. Il semble que le fonctionnement interne de l’ICANN ne soit pas si mauvais. La question principale est donc: que va-t-il se passer après mars 2006, terme de l’accord entre l’ICANN et le gouvernement américain.

Participants in ICANN have likewise been asking for a clarification which hopefully will be forthcoming within the context of anticipated revisions to ICANN's 3-year Strategic Plan.

A clue to what may happen in 2006 -- nothing -- may be found in the remarks of John Kneuer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US DOC:

"First, it has been suggested that the responsibility for DNS technical management may shift to a UN agency as a result of WSIS. Let me take this opportunity to clarify that neither the WSIS nor the subsidiary discussions regarding Internet governance are chartered to take action or to yield an international treaty with binding obligations."

A post-MOU ICANN that is not bound by treaty obligations has no compelling reason to change.

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