Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues Page: 4 of 6
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authoritative root zone file." The NTIA statement also says that governments have
legitimate interests in the management of their country code top level domains, that
ICANN is the appropriate technical manager of the DNS, and that dialogue related to
Internet governance should continue in relevant multiple fora.2 On May 23, 2006, NTIA
announced an inquiry and public meeting seeking comment on the progress of the
transition of the technical coordination and management of the DNS to the private sector.
Congressional Committees (primarily the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science
and Transportation and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce) maintain
oversight on how the Department of Commerce manages and oversees ICANN's activities
and policies. Some issues of current concern are discussed below.
Governance. The United Nations (UN), at the December 2003 World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS), debated and agreed to study the issue of how to
achieve greater international involvement in the governance of the Internet and the
domain name system in particular. The study was conducted by the UN's Working Group
on Internet Governance (WGIG). On July 14, 2005, the WGIG released its report, stating
that no single government should have a preeminent role in relation to international
Internet governance, calling for further internationalization of Internet governance, and
proposing the creation of a new global forum for Internet stakeholders. Four possible
models were put forth, including two involving the creation of new Internet governance
bodies linked to the UN. Under three of the four models, ICANN would either be
supplanted or made accountable to a higher intergovernmental body. The report's
conclusions were scheduled to be considered during the second phase of the WSIS to be
held in Tunis in November 2005. U.S. officials stated their opposition to transferring
control and administration of the domain name system from ICANN to any international
body. Similarly, the 109th Congress expressed its support for maintaining U.S. control
over ICANN (H.Con.Res. 268 and S.Res. 323).
The European Union (EU) initially supported the U.S. position. However, during
September 2005 preparatory meetings, the EU seemingly shifted its support towards an
approach which favored an enhanced international role in governing the Internet. Conflict
at the WSIS Tunis Summit over control of the domain name system was averted by the
announcement, on November 15, 2005, of an Internet governance agreement between the
U.S., the EU, and over 100 other nations. Under this agreement, ICANN and the U.S.
will remain in control of the domain name system. A new international group under the
auspices of the UN will be formed - the Internet Governance Forum - which will
provide an ongoing forum for all stakeholders (both governments and nongovernmental
groups) to discuss and debate Internet policy issues. The Internet Governance Forum is
slated to run for five years and will not have binding authority. The group will hold its
first meeting on October 30-November 2, 2006 in Athens, Greece.
ICANN-Verisign Agreement and the .com registry. As part of a legal
settlement of a long-running dispute between ICANN and Verisign, on February 28, 2006,
the ICANN Board of Directors approved (by a vote of 9-5) a new .com registry agreement
2 See [http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/USDNSprinciples_06302005.pdf].
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Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues, report, July 14, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806264/m1/4/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.