Task 1: Provide expertise
and advice on private sector functions related to technical management
of the DNS such as the policy and direction of the allocation of IP
number blocks and coordination of the assignment of other Internet
technical parameters as needed to maintain universal connectivity
on the Internet.
Status of progress on task 1: Throughout the joint project,
ICANN has contributed its technical advice and expertise on various
aspects of private-sector management of the Internet domain-name system.
To assist in this regard, at the beginning of 1999 ICANN entered a
agreement with the University of Southern California's Information
Sciences Institute (ISI), under which ICANN secured the services of
the IANA team at ISI.
Additionally, ICANN has made good use of other
expertise in the Internet technical community to contribute to this
task. Reliable, timely, and fair allocation of IP addresses and protocol
parameters is a key requirement for the continued stable operation
of the Internet and for its growth and evolution to satisfy the ever-increasing
and ever-changing demands that its success is generating. At the time
the DOC-ICANN MOU was entered, these functions were performed by the
IANA (a set of functions undertaken
by personnel of the University of Southern California's Information
Sciences Institute) in coordination with the regional
Internet registries (RIRs) and Internet standards-development
organizations (SDOs). Thus, a key aspect of the DNS Project was to
devise and implement stable relationships with those existing organizations,
so that the organizations are integrated into ICANN's overall technical-policy-coordination
function. These organizations have extensive expertise in the address
and protocol policy arenas that is vital to effective functioning
of the ICANN policy-development process in these technical areas;
similarly, smooth implementation requires their cooperation in abiding
by the resulting policies.
In the last half of 1999, ICANN entered into memoranda
of understanding with the RIRs and SDOs. These agreements set forth
the ongoing roles of those organizations in the ICANN policy-development
process, so that the development and implementation of global addressing
and protocol-parameter assignment policies through the ICANN process
benefit from their full cooperation. Specifically, the ICANN "Protocol
Supporting Organization" (PSO) was formed on July 14, 1999,
through the entry of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives
of ICANN and four standards-development organizations: the Internet
Engineering Task Force (IETF), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), International
Telecommunications Union (ITU), and European Telecommunications Standards
Institute (ETSI). <http://www.icann.org/pso/pso-mou.htm>
On October 18, 1999, the ICANN "Address
Supporting Organization" (ASO) was formed through the entry
of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of ICANN
and the world's three current regional internet registries: APNIC,
ARIN, and RIPE NCC. <http://www.aso.icann.org/docs/aso-mou.html>
These memoranda of understanding establish the
ASO and PSO as the bodies primarily responsible for formulating address
and protocol policy recommendations within the ICANN process.
The ASO is managed by an Address
Council composed of members selected by the RIRs through open
and transparent processes. The Address Council has been in active
operation since October 1999 and the ASO's first general assembly
was held in May 2000. In October 1999, the Address Council selected
three directors by vote who have since served on ICANN's Board
of Directors. Since then, the Address Council has been working both
on its own procedures for developing global address policy recommendations
and on current address-policy issues, such as guidelines for creation
and recognition of new RIRs and the definition of the division between
global address-policy issues (handled directly by the ICANN process)
and regional address-policy issues (delegated to the RIRs).
The PSO also voted to select three directors to
ICANN's Board in October 1999. Since then, ICANN has been working
to strengthen its operational relationships with the SDOs that are
PSO members. On March 10, 2000, ICANN and the IETF entered a Memorandum
of Understanding Concerning the Technical Work of the Internet Assigned
Numbers Authority, under which the IETF has appointed ICANN to
perform the protocol-parameter assignment functions arising from the
technical Internet standards developed by the IETF. The ICANN-IETF
memorandum of understanding contemplates that ICANN may perform similar
services for other SDOs so that the technical development of the Internet
has a convenient, single repository for the assignment of parameters
under technical standards.
In sum, ICANN has achieved stable relationships
with the Internet SDOs and the RIRs. These relationships allow those
organizations to continue their technical work in their respective
areas of activity, while bringing them together within the ICANN process
to formulate policies that span the areas of activity of multiple
organizations. Significant collaborative work is ongoing between ICANN
(including its ASO) and the RIRs on issues such as the appropriate
allocation of responsibilities for address policy formulation and
implementation between regional and global forums. One area not yet
completed is the establishment of formal legal relationships under
which the RIRs will contribute to ICANN's costs of operation. The
RIRs have each agreed to a contribution for the current fiscal year
which, collectively among all three RIRs, comprises 10% of ICANN's
general costs, but contractual documents memorializing this commitment
have not yet been completed. With this exception, the design, implementation,
and successful testing of these sound interrelationships among the
Internet's key technical standards and IP-address-assignment bodies
fulfills the requirements of Task 1 of the DOC-ICANN joint project.
Task 2: Collaborate on the
design, development and testing of procedures by which members of
the Internet community adversely affected by decisions that are in
conflict with the bylaws of the organization can seek external review
of such decisions by a neutral third party.
Status of progress on task 2: In the joint project, three
principal mechanisms have been designed and developed for addressing
claims by members of the Internet community that they have been adversely
affected by decisions in conflict with ICANN's bylaws:
a. Reconsideration process. On March
4, 1999, ICANN adopted a reconsideration
policy under which members of the Internet community affected
by actions of the ICANN staff or Board can seek reconsideration
of those actions by the Board. Requests for reconsideration are
addressed first by a reconsideration committee consisting of three
ICANN directors, which investigates as appropriate and makes recommendations
to the ICANN board. Approximately ten such requests have been received
and acted on; while most did not involve allegations that ICANN's
bylaws had been violated, the process has on occasion been used
to raise such complaints.
b. Independent review process. On March
10, 2000, ICANN adopted an independent
review policy. Under the policy, a panel consisting of legally
trained persons (e.g., current and former judges) not holding any
office or position within the ICANN structure will consider complaints
that the ICANN Board has acted or failed to act in a manner contrary
to ICANN's Articles of Incorporation and/or Bylaws. The formation
of a committee to nominate members of the independent review panel
is currently underway by the various ICANN Supporting Organizations.
c. Arbitration process. In the domain-name
arena, ICANN policies are mainly implemented through ICANN's entry
of agreements with domain-name registries and registrars. Many of
these agreements include provisions paralleling protections in ICANN's
bylaws concerning open and transparent policymaking, fostering of
competition, and prohibitions of arbitrary or unjustifiable action.
They also include arbitration provisions, which give the parties
contracting with ICANN access to a neutral decisionmaker to resolve
questions under these provisions.
In sum, the design of multiple mechanisms for
neutral review of ICANN's compliance with its bylaws is complete.
Although one of the mechanisms is in the implementation phase, the
others are in place and, in the case of the reconsideration process,
extensively tested. Task 2 is thus well underway and should be completed
within the next few months.
Task 3: Collaborate on the
design, development, and testing of a plan for introduction of competition
in domain name registration services, including:
a. Development of procedures to designate
third parties to participate in tests conducted pursuant to this
b. Development of an accreditation procedure
for registrars and procedures that subject registrars to consistent
requirements designed to promote a stable and robustly competitive
DNS, as set forth in the Statement of Policy.
c. Identification of the software, databases,
know-how, intellectual property, and other equipment necessary to
implement the plan for competition.
Status of progress on task 3: A significant part of ICANN's
work under the joint project during the first three quarters of 1999
was devoted to this task, which is now complete. In January-March
1999, in consultation with DOC (which had laid the groundwork by entering
11 to the U.S. Government's cooperative agreement with Network
Solutions, Inc.), ICANN developed and adopted a registrar
accreditation policy for the .com, .net, and .org top-level domains.
That initial policy, which incorporated various
requirements for accredited registrars to permit robust competition
at the registrar level while preserving stable operation of these
top-level domains, led to the April
1999 designation of five registrars to participate in a testbed.
Actual live operations under the testbed began in June 1999. After
initial operation of the testbed with the five registrars, it was
extended to other registrars. At the end of November 1999, the testbed
The registrar accreditation policy has been subject
to refinement through subsequent discussions within the Internet community,
which resulted in a revised
set of agreements approved by the ICANN Board at its annual meeting
on November 4, 1999 and in further revisions by the adoption of an
service level agreement in April 2000. Ongoing competitive operations
by approximately fifty registrars are now underway, with an additional
sixty accredited registrars in the process of developing their business
systems to enter the market. In less than one year since testbed operations
began, the share of net new registrations attributable to Network
Solutions (the sole registrar since 1993) has dropped from 100% to
under 50%. Over the same period, retail registration pricing has dropped
from $35 per year to as little as $10 per year, with some registrars
even offering domain-name registration "free" as part of
larger service packages.
Thus, while the constantly changing character
of the Internet merits periodic review of the accreditation program,
a plan for introduction of competition has been designed, developed,
and tested in fulfillment of this task.
Task 4: Collaborate on written
technical procedures for operation of the primary root server including
procedures that permit modifications, additions or deletions to the
root zone file.
Status of progress on task 4: Soon after ICANN was formed,
the DNS Root Server
System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) was formed. That committee includes
the operators of all thirteen DNS root servers as well as DNS and
network-topology technical experts. As part of the joint project,
a DOC official (Mark Bohannon, Chief Counsel, Technology Administration)
has participated in the RSSAC's activities.
The RSSAC has been working to define technical
procedures for operation of the root nameservers. These include a
for operation and monitoring of the root nameservers during the Y2K
event. This plan achieved the flawless operation of the root nameserver
system during the Y2K rollover. The RSSAC is also currently developing
a plan for architectural modifications to the root-server system designed
to enhance its security and operation, along with a detailed plan
for shifting the primary nameserver as a means to migrate to this
enhanced architecture. The committee expects to present its architectural
consensus at the ICANN meeting in Yokohama on July 15, 2000. Once
this architecture and the related implementation plans are adopted
and executed, the work needed to accomplish this task will be completed.
Task 5: Collaborate on a
study and process for making the management of the root server system
more robust and secure. This aspect of the Project will address:
a. Operational requirements of root name
servers, including host hardware capacities, operating system and
name server software versions, network connectivity, and physical
b. Examination of the 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 reliability.
c. Development of operational procedures
for the root system, including formalization of contractual relationships
under which root servers throughout the world are operated.
Status of progress on task 5: As noted under task 4, the
ICANN RSSAC, which includes the operators of all thirteen root nameservers,
has been formulating procedures that will increase the security and
robustness of the root server system. In addition to the Y2K initiative
and the plans for migrating to an enhanced architecture mentioned
under task 4, the members of the RSSAC have worked within the Domain
Name Server Operations (dnsop) working group of the IETF to define
best practices for the operation of the root nameservers. The RSSAC
also has an ongoing project to review and, as necessary, revise the
placement of the root nameservers to better align with DNS usage patterns.
The RSSAC, ICANN staff, and DOC officials have
also been discussing appropriate, formal contractual arrangements
between ICANN and the organizations operating the root servers. The
goal is to complete this work by August 2000.
In short, although much of the work to accomplish
task 5 has been done, some additional work is needed to complete the
study and process envisioned in the MOU. This work should be completed
within the next few months.
Task 6: Collaborate on the
design, development and testing of a process for affected parties
to participate in the formulation of policies and procedures that
address the technical management of the Internet. This process will
include methods for soliciting, evaluating and responding to comments
in the adoption of policies and procedures.
Status of progress on task 6: In view of ICANN's fundamental
character as a consensus-based technical-coordination body, the design
of mechanisms for affected parties to participate in the formulation
of policies concerning the Internet's technical management has been
a central and continuing focus of the joint project since its inception.
Many different mechanisms have been designed, developed, and tested.
The different mechanisms tested have, in practice, shown different
strengths and weaknesses; the refinement of participatory mechanisms
likely will be a ongoing feature of ICANN's design.
One of the challenges in the design of participatory
mechanisms is that, in view of ICANN's non-governmental character,
many of the mechanisms used in governmental policy-making are too
cumbersome to meet the needs of the ICANN process. Moreover, ICANN
lacks any governmental power to compel compliance with its policies.
ICANN's policies instead will be implemented only to the extent that
those in a position to do so (registrars, ISPs, etc.) in fact implement
them, either by previous agreement or otherwise. Given this circumstance,
bottom-up participation by the implementing parties in policy formulation,
in circumstances where it is practical, has an advantage over mechanisms
traditionally used by governments because bottom-up mechanisms tend
to ensure that resulting policies are widely embraced by the implementers.
On the other hand, experience to date under the joint project has
indicated that fully bottom-up mechanisms can require extended periods
to reach resolution.
Some of the major mechanisms already evaluated,
currently being evaluated, or under design for evaluation, in the
joint project are:
a. Notice-and-comment mechanisms. ICANN's
bylaws provide for notice
and public comment (both in writing and at a public forum) on
any policies that substantially affect the operation of the Internet
or third parties. During the joint project ICANN has developed and
implemented various methods for electronic publication of policy
proposals and for electronic collection of comments from affected
parties and the public generally. In addition to e-mail based mechanisms
(mailing lists and mail-in bulletin boards), ICANN has developed
software to support web-based comment mechanisms that are in active
b. Address and Protocol Supporting Organizations.
In the areas of IP-addressing and protocol policy, organizations
(RIRs and SDOs) existing prior to ICANN employed their own processes
for policy formulation. The ASO and PSO make good use of their member
organizations' processes by referring most address- and protocol-policy
issues, at least in the first instance, to those organizations.
To the extent particular policy issues are not appropriately resolved
at the member-organization level, the ASO and PSO offer additional
forums for participation by other member organizations and by the
Internet community generally.
c. Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO).
In the case of domain-name policy, community sentiment at the beginning
of the joint project indicated that the supporting organization
for domain-name issues should be formed anew, rather than seeking
to incorporate existing policy-development organizations. In March
1999, at the ICANN meeting in Singapore, the Internet community
presented a consensus proposal, based on which the ICANN Board adopted
of Domain Name Supporting Organization Formation Concepts."
Under this statement of concepts, seven constituencies of Internet
stakeholders were self-organized. Later in 1999, they were provisionally
recognized by the ICANN Board and the DNSO
began operating. After five months of operation, the DNSO and its
constituencies were accorded final recognition.
Within its design, the DNSO has many opportunities
for bottom-up participation in the policy-formulation process. As
noted, a principal feature of the DNSO's structure is the seven
interest-based constituency organizations. In addition to choosing
representatives to the DNSO Names Council (which has overall responsibility
for managing the policy-development process within the DNSO), each
constituency organization serves as a forum for its members to raise
and debate issues of mutual interest, whether initially raised within
the constituency or developed by another DNSO body. The Names Council
has also chartered several working groups, which are charged to
do preliminary evaluations of issues or proposals in focused policy
areas. Working groups conduct their business primarily by e-mail.
Finally, the DNSO embraces a general assembly as a forum for discussion
and participation in the work of the DNSO open to all who are willing
to contribute effort to the work of the DNSO. In support of this
forum, the DNSO hosts a mailing list and periodically holds meetings
of DNSO participants.
d. Contractual consensus requirements.
Because policies developed through the ICANN process can only be
implemented by agreement of businesses in a position to do so (registry
operators, registrars, etc.), ICANN has entered into agreements
with those businesses under which they agree to implement various
present or future policies. In many aspects, these agreements establish
that the businesses will follow future policies created through
the ICANN consensus-development process. These provisions have prompted
consensus-based policy development efforts within particular constituencies,
such as the registrar constituency.
e. Working groups, task forces, drafting
committees, etc. As noted above, the DNSO has made active use
of working groups as participatory mechanisms for preliminary evaluations
of policy issues or proposals in the domain-name area. In addition,
ICANN has adopted the practice in its budgeting process of convening
a task force consisting of representatives of organizations that
provide the funds for defraying ICANN's operating costs. At times,
ICANN has also convened small groups drawn from various segments
of the Internet community to advise ICANN's staff on the implementation
of various policies.
f. Delegation of policy formulation to specialized
consensus-based groups, such as top-level domain sponsors. A
longstanding feature of Internet coordination is the delegation
of most aspects of policy formulation to local, regional, or other
bodies that themselves have participatory mechanisms. For example,
most aspects of IP addressing policy are established by the RIRs,
which each have policy forums in which affected members of the Internet
communities in their regions can participate. In the domain-name
arena, the hierarchical structure of the domain-name system lends
itself well to a similar delegation of policy responsibilities.
For example, the local aspects of policy within country-code top-level
domains are established by the organizations to which management
of those domains are delegated. Increasingly, those delegations
are held by organizations broadly representative of the Internet
communities in their respective countries or territories. These
delegation arrangements work well to afford the most affected stakeholders
focused participation in development of specialized or local policies.
With respect to the design of appropriate mechanisms
for affected segments of the Internet community to participate in
the issues concerning the management and delegation of ccTLDs, significant
work remains to be completed. Various segments of the community, including
the Governmental Advisory
Committee, various groups of ccTLD managers, and others have submitted
for discussion within the ICANN process. It is anticipated that the
ensuing discussion will result in agreements or other documents that
will better define the relationships of the ccTLD managers, relevant
governments and other public authorities, and ICANN. Completion of
this design should be a high priority under the joint project.
In sum, many different participatory mechanisms
have been designed, developed, and tested under task 6. In the context
of private-sector technical management of the Internet, the goal of
achieving timely resolution of policy issues with the participation
of affected parties is and will continue to be challenging. Based
on the work to date under the joint project, it appears that the goal
is best addressed by use of a varied and evolving array of participatory
mechanisms. Although the mechanisms designed, developed, and tested
to date each have strengths and weaknesses, and will no doubt continue
to evolve over time, in combination they now provide a range of channels
that can suit most policy development needs. Accordingly, although
there will likely always be room for enhancement of participatory
mechanisms, as contemplated in task 6 a robust initial set of mechanisms
has been developed and tested with respect to issues other than the
management and delegation of ccTLDs.
Task 7: Collaborate on the
development of additional policies and procedures designed to provide
information to the public.
Status of progress on task 7: During the joint project
so far, ICANN has developed and evaluated a variety of policies and
procedures for providing the public with information about ICANN's
activities and the issues it is addressing. These include extensive
use of the ICANN websites (including the main ICANN site and subsidiary sites
for the ASO, DNSO, PSO,
and At-Large Membership);
use of e-mail announcement
lists; press releases and advisories; the use of many dispersed
venues for ICANN meetings; web-casting
and preparation of online scribe's notes for various ICANN meetings;
real-time audio access for public observers of DNSO Names Council
meetings; and attendance by ICANN and DOC personnel at meetings of
groups interested in Internet matters. ICANN has adopted a variety
of policies and procedures concerning these dissemination mechanisms,
including bylaw requirements and operational practices for postings
on its website as well as for the other mechanisms. Given the wide-spread
and growing participation in the various ICANN activities, although
there is (and likely always will be) room for their enhancement, effective
mechanisms for provision of information to the public have been developed
and proven under the joint project.
Task 8: Collaborate on the
design, development, and testing of appropriate membership mechanisms
that foster accountability to and representation of the global and
functional diversity of the Internet and its users, within the structure
of private- sector DNS management organization.
Status of progress on task 8: After extensive discussion
within the Internet community, ICANN has adopted an at-large
membership program in which members of the Internet community
throughout the world can participate in the selection of at-large
members of ICANN's Board of Directors, as well as learn about and
contribute to ICANN's policy development activities through the mechanisms
described above. This program includes significant international outreach
efforts, including the translation into multiple languages of key
materials describing ICANN and its role. These mechanisms will result
in the selection and seating later this year of five directors based
on a vote of members of the Internet community that have registered
for that purpose. Currently, over 28,000 members have applied to become
registered. An initial group of at-large directors selected by these
members of the Internet community will be seated in November 2000.
Thanks to a significant foundation grant, there is no charge to participate
in this year's vote. After completion of the selection process, there
will be a comprehensive study of the concept, structure, and processes
relating to the at-large membership in view of ICANN's mission and
structure. The study will be completed in time for subsequent adoption,
based on extensive public discussion and comment, of a selection mechanism
that would allow the next group of at-large directors to be seated
by ICANN's annual meeting in 2002.
While future study may well provide a rationale
for evolution and refinement of the current membership mechanisms,
the process in place will "foster accountability to and representation
of the global and functional diversity of the Internet and its users,"
in accordance with the requirements of Task 8.
Task 9: Collaborate on the
design, development and testing of a plan for creating a process that
will consider the possible expansion of the number of gTLDs. The designed
process should consider and take into account the following:
a. The potential impact of new gTLDs on the
Internet root server system and Internet stability.
b. The creation and implementation of minimum
criteria for new and existing gTLD registries.
c. Potential consumer benefits/costs associated
with establishing a competitive environment for gTLD registries.
d. Recommendations regarding trademark/domain
name policies set forth in the Statement of Policy; recommendations
made by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concerning:
(i) the development of a uniform approach to resolving trademark/domain
name disputes involving cyberpiracy; (ii) a process for protecting
famous trademarks in the generic top level domains; (iii) the effects
of adding new gTLDs and related dispute resolution procedures on
trademark and intellectual property holders; and recommendations
made by other independent organizations concerning trademark/domain
Status of progress on task 9: Soon after it was formed
under the joint project, the DNSO began a highly open and participatory
process for considering expansion of the number of gTLDs. That process
has led to the DNSO Names Council adopting recommendations,
based on the consensus of the affected Internet community, that new
gTLDs should be introduced in a measured and responsible manner and
that there should be varying degrees of protection for intellectual
property during the startup phase of new top-level domains. Among
the intellectual-property recommendations (see task 9(d)) of the Names
Council has been that the Uniform
Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy adopted in August 1999 through
the participatory mechanisms of the DNSO should be applied to new
TLDs. It is anticipated that ICANN's Board will act on the DNSO recommendations
concerning the introduction of new gTLDs at its July 2000 meeting
in Yokohama, and that any resulting policies will be implemented later