Memorandum of Understanding Between
the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers
WHEREAS, the U.S. Government supports the
policy of privatizing the technical management of the Internet domain
name and addressing system (DNS) now performed by or on behalf of the
U.S. Government or by third parties under arrangements or agreements with
the U.S. Government;
WHEREAS, the U.S. Government will effect
such privatization by entering into agreement with and seeking international
support for a not-for-profit corporation formed by private sector Internet
stakeholders to administer DNS policy;
WHEREAS, on November 25, 1998, the U.S.
Department of Commerce (Department) on behalf of the U.S. Government entered
into a Memorandum of Understanding (Agreement) with the Internet Corporation
for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private sector, not-for-profit
corporation, for the purpose of the joint development of the mechanisms,
methods, and procedures necessary to effect the transition of DNS management
to the private sector;
WHEREAS, the Agreement contemplated that
the Parties would collaborate on the DNS Project, in which the Parties
would jointly design, develop, and test the mechanisms, methods, and procedures
to carry out the following DNS management functions:
a. Establishment of policy for and direction of the allocation of IP
b. Oversight of the operation of the authoritative root server system;
c. Oversight of the policy for determining the circumstances under
which new top level domains would be added to the root system;
d. Coordination of the assignment of other Internet technical parameters
as needed to maintain universal connectivity on the Internet; and
e. Other activities necessary to coordinate the specified DNS management
functions, as agreed by the Parties;
WHEREAS, work to be performed under the
Agreement was intended to demonstrate that management responsibility for
the DNS could be performed by ICANN;
WHEREAS, the Agreement has been amended
four times to refine the work to be performed and to extend the term of
the Agreement, such term currently to expire on September 30, 2002;
WHEREAS, ICANN has achieved significant
successes over the past three and one-half years, but has identified limitations
that hamper its ability to complete the tasks required under the Agreement
WHEREAS, ICANN President Stuart Lynn in
February 2002 initiated a discussion of organizational restructuring and
overall reforms to improve ICANN’s internal corporate governance and processes
related to DNS management;
WHEREAS, in March 2002, ICANN’s Board of
Directors (ICANN’s Board) charged the Committee on Evolution and Reform
(ERC) to evaluate proposals and to make recommendations to ICANN’s Board
concerning, among other things, ICANN’s structure, mission, and essential
WHEREAS, on June 28, 2002, ICANN’s Board
adopted the ERC’s Blueprint for Reform and charged the ERC with further
developing an implementation and transition plan, such recommendations
to be considered by the Board at its meeting currently scheduled to occur
in October 2002;
WHEREAS, the Department supports ICANN’s
efforts to reexamine its mission, structure, and processes for their efficacy
and appropriateness in light of the needs of today’s Internet and to improve
its future ability to carry out its DNS Project management responsibilities
pursuant to the Agreement, effectively and in a stable manner;
NOW THEREFORE, in recognition of ICANN’s progress in achieving
the tasks and goals set forth in the Agreement and of its on-going work
on reforming its structure and operations, as described in the Fourth
Status Report to the Department, dated August 15, 2002, the Parties
hereby agree as follows:
I. The Department reaffirms its policy goal of privatizing
the technical management of the DNS in a manner that promotes stability
and security, competition, coordination, and representation. Consistent
with this objective and in furtherance of the DNS Project, the Parties
agree to strike V.B. in its entirety and to substitute the following:
B. Department. The Department agrees to perform the
following activities and provide the following resources in support
of the DNS Project:
1. Provide expertise and advice on DNS management
2. Provide expertise and advice on methods and
administrative procedures for conducting open, public proceedings
concerning policies and procedures that address the technical management
of the DNS.
3. Identify with ICANN the necessary software,
databases, know-how, other equipment, and intellectual property necessary
to design, to develop, and to test methods and procedures of the DNS
4. Participate, as necessary, in the design, development,
and testing of the methods and procedures of the DNS Project to ensure
continuity, including coordination between ICANN and VeriSign, Inc.
5. Collaborate on a study on the design, development,
and testing of a process for making the management of the root server
system more robust and secure. This aspect of the DNS Project will
a. The current status of the root server system;
b. Operational requirements of root name servers,
including host hardware capacities, operating system and name server
software versions, network connectivity, and physical environment;
c. Security aspects of the root name server system
and review of the number, location, and distribution of root name
servers, considering the total system performance, robustness, and
d. Operational procedures for the root name server
system, including formalization of contractual relationships under
which root name servers throughout the world are operated.
6. Consult with the managers of root name servers
operated by the U.S. Government with respect to operational and security
matters of such root name servers and recommendations for improvements
in those matters.
7. Work collaboratively within ICANN’s Governmental
Advisory Committee (GAC) to encourage the creation of stable agreements
between ICANN and the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).
8. Consult with the international community on
aspects of the DNS Project.
9. Provide general oversight of activities conducted
pursuant to this Agreement.
10. Maintain oversight of the technical management
of DNS functions currently performed either directly by, or subject
to agreements with, the U.S. Government, until such time as further
agreement(s) are arranged as necessary for the private sector to undertake
management of specific DNS technical management functions.
11. Consult with foreign governments to promote
increased and more effective governmental participation in the GAC.
Such activities shall include working with the GAC on steps governments
should take to advance ICANN’s efforts to achieve stable agreements
with organizations operating country code top level domains (ccTLDs).
II. ICANN reaffirms its commitment to maintaining security
and stability in the technical management of the DNS, and to performance
as an organization founded on the principles of competition, bottom up
coordination, and representation. Consistent with these objectives and
in furtherance of the DNS Project, the Parties agree to strike V.C. in
its entirety and to substitute the following:
C. ICANN. ICANN agrees to perform the following activities
and provide the following resources in support of the DNS Project, in
conformity with the ICANN Board-approved mission and core values and
in furtherance of its ongoing reform efforts:
1. Continue to provide expertise and advice on private
sector functions related to technical management of the DNS.
2. Work collaboratively on a global and local level
to pursue formal legal agreements with the RIRs, and to achieve stable
relationships that allow them to continue their technical work, while
incorporating their policy-making activities into the ICANN process.
3. Continue to develop, to test, and to implement
processes and procedures to improve transparency in the consideration
and adoption of policies related to technical management of the DNS.
4. Continue to develop, to test, and to implement
accountability mechanisms to address claims by members of the Internet
community that they have been adversely affected by decisions in conflict
with ICANN's by-laws, contractual obligations, or otherwise treated
unfairly in the context of ICANN processes.
5. Collaborate with the Department to complete development
of a proposal for enhanced architecture for root server security together
with the development of the following documentation to be used in
connection with testing and implementation of the enhanced root-server
a. A written description of the enhanced architecture
incorporating a dedicated primary root server and standards for
b. A procedural plan for transition to the enhanced
c. An implementation schedule for transition
to the enhanced architecture;
d. The documentation of IANA procedures for root
zone editing, root zone generation, and root zone WHOIS service;
e. An agreement between ICANN and root-server
operators that formalizes stable, secure, and professional operation
of the root-servers in accordance with the enhanced architecture.
ICANN shall submit a report to the Department no later than November
30, 2002, providing a description of the current status of the root
server system. ICANN shall submit a report to the Department no later
than December 31, 2002, providing a description of the proposal for
enhanced architecture for root server security as set forth above,
a procedural plan for the transition to such enhanced architecture,
and an implementation schedule for such transition.
6. Following Departmental review and approval of
the documentation listed in paragraph 5 above, test and implement
the enhanced root-server system architecture, including ICANN's operation
of the authoritative root, under appropriate terms and conditions.
7. Continue its efforts to achieve stable agreements
with ccTLD operators that address, among other things, issues affecting
the stable and secure operation of the DNS, including: delegation
and redelegation of ccTLDs; allocation of global and local policy-formulation
responsibility; and the relationship between a ccTLD operator and
its relevant government or public authority. Such efforts shall include
activities to foster greater dialogue between ccTLD operators and
8. Continue the process of implementing new top
level domains (TLDs), which process shall include consideration and
a. The potential impact of new TLDs on the Internet
root server system and Internet stability.
b. The creation and implementation of selection
criteria for new and existing TLD registries, including public explanation
of the process, selection criteria, and the rationale for selection
c. Potential consumer benefits/costs associated
with establishing a competitive environment for TLD registries.
d. Recommendations from expert advisory panels,
bodies, agencies, or organizations regarding economic, competition,
trademark, and intellectual property issues.
9. Continue to develop, to test, and to implement
appropriate mechanisms that foster informed participation in ICANN
by the global Internet community.
10. Collaborate on other activities as appropriate
to fulfill the purpose of this Agreement, as agreed by the Parties.
11. Provide a status report on its progress towards
the completion of its tasks under this Agreement on or before December
31, 2002, and at the end of each quarter thereafter for the term of
this Agreement. Such report shall also describe the status of the
implementation of ICANN’s reform efforts.
III. Strike Section VII of the Agreement and replace
it, in its entirety, with:
This Agreement will become effective upon signature of ICANN and the
Department. This Agreement will terminate on September 30, 2003. This
Agreement may not be amended except upon the mutual written agreement
of the Parties. Either Party may terminate this Agreement by providing
one hundred twenty (120) days written notice to the other Party. If
this Agreement is terminated, each Party shall be solely responsible
for the payment of any expenses it has incurred. This Agreement is subject
to the availability of funds.
IV. Except as specifically modified by this Amendment
5, the terms and conditions of the Agreement, as previously amended, remain
|FOR THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND
||FOR INTERNET CORPORATION FOR ASSIGNED NAMES
Name: Nancy J. Victory
Title: Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information
Date: September 19, 2002
Name: M. Stuart Lynn
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
Date: September 18, 2002
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