Purpose: This Public Comment proceeding seeks feedback for evolving the governance of the Root Server System (RSS), including a proposed community-driven process.
Current Status: On 3 May 2019, the ICANN Board approved a resolution to begin Public Comment on this topic.
Next Steps: ICANN org will prepare a summary report of the Public Comment proceeding for the consideration of the ICANN Board as it determines next steps.
Section I: Description and Explanation
Following the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship transition, the Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) developed an initial framework to evolve the governance of the RSS. After three years of extensive work, the RSSAC published "RSSAC037: A Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System" (RSSAC037) in June 2018. RSSAC037 proposes five functions to provide governance, accountability, and transparency for the RSS and its Root Server Operators (RSOs). The RSSAC concurrently published "RSSAC038: RSSAC Advisory on a Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System" (RSSAC038). In RSSAC038, the RSSAC makes three recommendations for next steps to the ICANN Board.
As part of the ICANN Board's consideration of RSSAC037 and RSSAC038, ICANN org prepared a "Concept Paper on a Community-Driven Process to Develop a Final Model Based on RSSAC037" (Concept Paper). The Concept Paper proposes a governance model (Concept Model) based on RSSAC037. The Concept Model establishes three new groups: The Root Server System Governance Board, the Root Server System Standing Committee, and the Root Server Operator Review Panel. In addition to these groups, ICANN org would manage the Financial Function and Secretariat Function.
The Concept Paper also outlines a community-driven process to develop a final governance model for the RSS. This is in response to recommendation one from RSSAC038, which calls on the ICANN Board to "initiate a process to produce a final version of the Model for implementation based on RSSAC037." There are three phases in the community-driven process: Design, Consultation, and Implementation. During the implementation phase, there are two tracks. The Root Server System Governance Working Group (GWG) would lead the Structural Track to develop a final governance model, and ICANN org would lead the Administrative Track to plan for implementation of a final governance model. To launch this work, ICANN org has developed a draft charter and operating procedures for the GWG and a draft work plan for the GWG.
Section II: Background
Supporting the evolution of RSS governance contributes to the commitment of ICANN to strengthen the security, stability, and resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS). It also enables direct interaction between the ICANN community and the RSOs. Furthermore, it ensures that global root service remains accountable and sustainable into the future.
Evolving the governance of the RSS will result in significant changes to the ICANN community and ICANN org. The community-driven process to develop a final governance model envisions considerable work and commitment of resources. Any budgetary and financial implications will be handled through ICANN processes that ensure accountability and transparency. Furthermore, the ICANN Board continues its evaluation and consideration of recommendations two and three from RSSAC038.
Section III: Relevant Resources
This Public Comment proceeding seeks feedback on RSSAC037, the Concept Paper, the draft charter and operating procedures for the GWG, and the draft work plan for the GWG. These documents provide a starting point for community discussions about evolving the governance of the RSS.
- RSSAC037: A Proposed Governance Model for the DNS Root Server System
- Concept Paper on a Community-Driven Process to Develop a Final Model Based on RSSAC037
- Root Server System Governance Working Group: Draft Charter and Operating Procedures
- Root Server System Governance Working Group: Draft Work Plan
Section IV: Additional Information
Several other RSSAC publications provide background about the RSS, RSOs, and global root service as context for the work of evolving the governance of the RSS.
- RSSAC042: RSSAC Statement on Root Server Operator Independence
- RSSAC030: RSSAC Statement on Entries in DNS Root Sources
- RSSAC024: Key Technical Elements of Potential Root Operators
- RSSAC023: History of the Root Server System
- RSSAC021: RSSAC Statement Concerning the Impact of the Unavailability of a Single Root Server
- RSSAC020: RSSAC Statement on Client Side Reliability of Root DNS Data
- RSSAC002v3: Advisory on Measurements of the Root Server System
- RSSAC001: Advisory on Service Expectations of Root Servers
Additionally, the RSSAC published reports from the six workshops where it developed RSSAC037 and RSSAC038.
- RSSAC034: Report from the RSSAC May 2018 Workshop
- RSSAC029: Report from the RSSAC October 2017 Workshop
- RSSAC027: Report from the RSSAC May 2017 Workshop
- RSSAC025: Report from the RSSAC October 2016 Workshop
- RSSAC019: Report from the RSSAC May 2016 Workshop
- RSSAC016: Report from the RSSAC September 2015 Workshop
The RSSAC also regularly provides informational sessions about its mission, structure, and work and tutorial sessions about root server operations.