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Stewardship of IANA Functions Transitions to Global Internet Community as Contract with U.S. Government Ends

Today, 1 October 2016, the contract between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the United States Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to perform the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, has officially expired. This historic moment marks the transition of the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers to the private-sector, a process that has been committed to and underway since 1998.

“This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global Internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” said ICANN Board Chair Stephen D. Crocker. “This community validated the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today.”

Internet users will see no change or difference in their experience online as a result of the stewardship transition.

In managing the coordination of the Internet’s unique identifiers, ICANN plays a small but significant role in the Internet’s ecosystem. For more than 15 years, ICANN has worked in concert with other technical bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Regional Internet Registries, top-level domain registries and registrars, and many others.

The final chapter of the privatization process began in 2014, when NTIA asked ICANN to convene the global multistakeholder community, which is made up of private-sector representatives, technical experts, academics, civil society, governments and individual Internet end users, to come together and formulate proposals to both replace NTIA’s historic stewardship role and enhance ICANN’s accountability mechanisms.

The package of proposals developed by the global community met the strict criteria established by NTIA in its March 2014 announcement. Since their submission to NTIA, ICANN and its various stakeholder groups have worked tirelessly to ensure that all the necessary implementation tasks have been completed, so the IANA functions contract could expire on 30 September 2016.

The proposals reinforce ICANN’s existing multistakeholder model and are also aimed at enhancing ICANN’s accountability. The improvements include empowering the global Internet community to have direct recourse if they disagree with decisions made by ICANN the organization or the Board.

The IANA stewardship transition is a testament to the tireless work of the global community, and a validation of the multistakeholder model that frames that community.

To learn more about the IANA Stewardship Transition, go here: https://www.icann.org/stewardship-accountability

Akram Atallah’s blog: “Final Implementation Update

Stephen D. Crocker’s blog: “Cheers to the Multistakeholder Community


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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."