The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has put the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on notice, hinting that it is no longer fit to deliver the new Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions proposed by the global community.
IANA, is an entity that oversees the functions — management of the Domain Name System (DNS), allocation of IP addresses, and other technical functions of the Internet. Shortly after ICANN was created, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) signed a contract with the new organization to administer IANA and its functions. They called it the IANA contract. Currently, IANA is operated by ICANN.
The NTIA issued a request last year for proposals to manage the functions of the IANA, but on Saturday it cancelled the request because none of the bids met its requirements.
ICANN had bid to continue operating the functions, but its proposal, like those of three other companies, was rejected. The NTIA plans to reissue the request for proposals (RFP) at a date yet to be determined. In the meantime, ICANN has been granted a six-month stay of execution to continue to manage IANA until the end of September this year as none of the bidders for the role met its requirements. The new contract was up for renewal in March.
During the renewal process, the NTIA added new requirements to the IANA RFP, including the need for structural separation of policy making and implementation, and a robust company-wide conflict-of-interest policy. Also, provisions were made reflecting more respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting requirements were added to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.
ICANN has a history of controversy with the US Government, notably over the implementation of .xxx domains, and its unwillingness to allow generic top level domains to be vetoed by any government.