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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the technical coordination of the Internet's domain name system (DNS). On September 30, 2009, NTIA, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, reached agreement with ICANN on an Affirmation of Commitments that completed the transition of the technical coordination of the DNS to a multi-stakeholder, private-sector led model and contains provisions to ensure accountability and transparency in ICANN's decision-making with the goal of protecting the interests of global Internet users, as well as mechanisms to address the security stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS.

NTIA represents the U.S. government in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is structured to provide advice to the ICANN Board on the public policy aspects of the broad range of issues pending before ICANN.

Related content

Reviewing the IANA Transition Proposal

March 11, 2016

Over the past two decades, the Internet has touched the lives of billions of people around the globe in profound ways.  It has fueled economic growth, giving even the most remote villages the opportunity to sell their products in faraway lands.  It has fueled innovation, connecting mobile gadgets and household appliances.  And it has torn down barriers to speech, enabling diverse viewpoints to be heard across the political spectrum.

The Obama Administration is committed to doing everything within our power to preserve and protect the open, free-flowing global Internet, which has revolutionized the world.  That’s why two years ago, we announced our intention to transition the U.S. government’s stewardship role of the Internet Domain Name System to the global multistakeholder community.

Since our announcement, the Internet community – made up of businesses, technical experts, academics and civil society – has risen to the challenge by developing a transition plan that has achieved broad community support.  The community delivered that proposal to NTIA yesterday, marking the culmination of the largest multistakeholder process ever undertaken.  Stakeholders spent more than 26,000 working hours on the proposal, exchanged more than 33,000 messages on mailing lists, and held more than 600 meetings and calls.  

Reflections on the IANA Stewardship Transition Process

September 23, 2015

With the closing of the public comment period, we at NTIA continue to be impressed by the dedication and hard work of the many stakeholders involved in planning the transition of NTIA’s stewardship of the Internet’s domain name system. We are pleased to see so many stakeholders participate in the crafting of the plan to transition NTIA’s role related to the DNS technical functions, known as the IANA functions.  Everyone that benefits from the Internet has a stake in the success of the multistakeholder model and a voice in this process.

Today it is clear that there is a substantial amount of consensus support for the goals and principles established by the two working groups that have led the planning efforts since last year. It is equally apparent that there is consensus on many of the specific elements of the plans that were presented for comment to the global Internet multistakeholder community.

However, the comments also reveal that stakeholders have not reached consensus on all the specific tools that have been proposed to enhance the accountability of ICANN, the IANA functions operator, and that there are many questions still to be answered, both about the substance of the overall plan as well as its implementation, before the community will be ready to submit a final proposal to NTIA.

This week the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) is meeting in Santa Monica, Calif., to continue work on how to enhance the accountability of ICANN in the absence of its contractual relationship with NTIA.

Notice of Comment Periods on Transitioning NTIA’s IANA Stewardship Role

August 11, 2015

This notice announces the dates of a comment period during which the public is invited to provide input on two interrelated multistakeholder community proposals. Together, the proposals set forth a plan for transitioning NTIA’s stewardship role over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. The purpose of this notice is to encourage interested parties to comment on the two connected proposals—the IANA Stewardship Transition Plan and the Enhancements to Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Accountability Related to the IANA Stewardship Transition.

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