9.4 U.S. Government Policy Authority over the Root

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In a very important part of the three-way ICANN-Network Solutions- Commerce Department agreement, the Commerce Department quietly and without fanfare backed away from yielding ultimate authority over the root to ICANN or its successor. The agreement noted, 'The Department of Commerce expects to receive a technical proposal from ICANN for management of the authoritative root and this management responsibility may be transferred to ICANN at some point in the future. The Department of Commerce has no plans to transfer to any entity its policy authority to direct the authoritative root server.' [20 ]

Later, a report by the General Accounting Office raised doubts about whether under U.S. law the Commerce Department has the authority to transfer control of the root server to ICANN (GAO 2000, 25-26). The report noted that it is 'unclear whether such a transition will involve a transfer of government property to a private entity.' If so, such a transfer would require specific legislation. Thus, the new regime emerged as one with a special place for U.S. government authority-ironic, in view of the fact that the Green Paper, reviled as a U.S. 'coup,' had explicitly stated that authority would be turned over in two years. The Green Paper was also opposed because it would create new, for-profit registries. Yet now the ICANN regime had exactly one (regulated) for-profit registry with more than two-thirds of the market.

[20 ]NTIA, 'Domain Name Agreements between the U.S. Department of Commerce, Network Solutions, Inc., and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),' fact sheet, September 28, 1999, <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/agreements/summary-factsheet.htm >.



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Ruling the Root(c) Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace
ISBN: 0262134128
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 110

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