Internet Governance

Testimony Before The US House About the IANA Stewardship Transition

Today, March 17, 2016, Sally Wentworth testified in a hearing on “Privatizing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority” before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. Sally’s oral testimony as prepared is included below. You can also view:

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for today’s opportunity to testify before you on the transition of oversight of IANA and the impact it will have on global Internet policy and the future of an open Internet.

My name is Sally Shipman Wentworth. I am the Vice President of Global Policy Development for the Internet Society. The Internet Society is a global organization with more than 80,000 members and 116 chapters worldwide. It is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force. In its March 2014 announcement,, the NTIA identified the Internet Society as a “directly affected party” to the IANA transition.

Two years ago, the NTIA announced its intent to transition the administration of the IANA functions. We now believe that we have reached a necessary and important step in ensuring the continued uninterrupted operation of the global Internet and in laying the best foundation for its future.

We strongly support and endorse the resulting IANA Stewardship Transition Plan and the Recommendations to Enhance ICANN Accountability that have been delivered to NTIA.

Taken together, this is a plan that:

First, Ensures the continued stability and security of key technical functions that are a core part of the smooth operation of the Internet,

Second, Provides a path forward for strengthening ICANN’s accountability to its community; and

Third, Meets the criteria set by the NTIA in its original announcement.

Through a global, multistakeholder process that engaged industry, civil society, the technical community, governments and many others, the community has reached consensus on a proposal that will provide operational stability, reliability, and continuity for the global Internet.

Mr. Chairman, The Internet is a transnational, borderless “network of networks” comprised of countless individual networks that connect around the globe. The basic architecture of the Internet that we all rely upon every day is global and distributed – no one entity, government or otherwise, controls it.

The governance of the Internet reflects this distributed approach. This model of governance is often referred to as the multistakeholder model. In essence, this is a way of getting things done that is bottom-up, inclusive, transparent and that ensures that the relevant expertise can be brought to the table to solve hard problems. Like the Internet architecture itself, multistakeholder Internet governance ensures that no one stakeholder captures or takes over the Internet at the expense of others.

The management of the IANA functions from the early days of the Internet through to the present embodies a multistakeholder model based on distributed coordination and transparent governance. The proposal before the United States government ensures that, the multistakeholder systems that have facilitated the security and stability of the IANA functions remain strong and in-tact.

Policy development for the IANA functions will remain distributed among three organizations – the IETF, the Regional Internet Registries and ICANN – will each continue to employ multistakeholder processes to develop and manage the Internet identifiers. The stewardship of the IANA functions will be carried out by ICANN, itself a multistakeholder entity.

Importantly for this Subcommittee, the transition proposal directly addresses concerns about capture or control of IANA by any one stakeholder. Any multistakeholder process must be vigilant about preventing capture. In the transition proposal, no single party has undue control, and there are protocols in place to prevent any individual, organization or government from seizing jurisdiction or excluding others from the stewardship process.

The proposal is also crafted so that IANA remains independent of any government or intergovernmental organization.

The Internet Society is confident that the current proposal creates adequate mechanisms to prevent capture by governments or other entities, ensuring the core IANA functions will continue to operate free of undue influence.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with one key message:

The Internet Society firmly believes that the transition plan that was sent to NTIA upholds the processes and principles that have served as a foundation for the Internet’s growth and development to date.

The communities have worked hard to ensure that the IANA functions will continue to operate in a predictable manner, consistent with the need to maintain the security, stability, resiliency and openness of the Internet.

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to thank this Subcommittee for its steadfast support for the multistakeholder model and for your continued engagement to ensure a smooth and stable transition of the IANA functions.

Events Internet Governance Public Policy To archive

Watch Live – Thursday, March 17 – Sally Wentworth Testifying at US Congressional Hearing on Privatizing IANA

On Thursday, March 17, 2016, our VP of Global Policy Development, Sally Shipman Wentworth, will be testifying before the U.S. Congress on the topic of “Privatizing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority” (IANA) starting at 10:15am US EDT (UTC-4).  You can learn about the hearing at:

and watch live at:

Sally’s written testimony is available in advance from our site at:

and also from our general IANA stewardship transition page.

The hearing is before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. The speakers as of now will be:

  • Dr. Alissa Cooper, Chair, IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group
  • Mr. Steve DelBianco, Executive Director, NetChoice
  • The Honorable David A. Gross, Former U.S. Coordinator, International Communications and Informational Policy, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Ms. Audrey Plonk, Director, Global Security and Internet Governance Policy, Intel Corporation
  • Mr. Matthew Shears, Representative and Director, Global Internet Policy and Human Rights Project, Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
  • Ms. Sally Shipman Wentworth, Vice President, Global Policy Development, Internet Society

Please see our IANA Stewardship Transition page for more background information. The video stream will be recorded if you are unable to watch the session live.

Internet Governance

A note to the ISOC Community: Marking our success, building on IANA momentum to keep Internet on track

I have just returned from Marrakech where we marked a historic milestone for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. Following the original request from the U.S. Government, the ICANN Board transmitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) the plan to transition stewardship of the IANA functions to the Internet Community. The Plan was developed through the engagement, energy, dedication, and diligence of many, diverse people around the world. Many of you participated in important ways to reach the consensus recommendations that form the basis of a new era for the Internet Community. I applaud your work, dedication and persistence. I especially want to thank Narelle Clark and Demi Getschko, who served as the ISOC’s representatives on the ICG.

The Internet Society strongly supports the plan as an important step in ensuring the continued uninterrupted operation of the global Internet.

What the community has delivered is quite remarkable. Together, we validated the process that has been at the core of the Internet’s success through the persistent commitment of the community. We produced consensus-based recommendations to ensure the continued coordination of key technical functions of the Internet. We strengthened our community’s foundation for working together in the future. We have reason to feel the pride of accomplishment.

But we are not yet done. Hard work remains ahead of us to turn the promise of the plan into reality. Service Level Agreements must be signed. Intellectual Property arrangements have to be finalized. ICANN must be responsive to its own community to ensure it continues to be a strong steward of IANA. And, of course, the proposal must successfully make its way through review by the U.S. government.

As part of that review, later this week the House of Representative’s Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the IANA stewardship transition. People representing diverse stakeholders that participated in developing the plan have been asked to testify, including the Internet Society’s Sally Wentworth. At the same time, the NTIA is beginning its review.

In fact the plan will soon be examined by individuals in many organizations around the world. We feel confident it meets the criteria set forth by the NTIA and that it is good for the Internet and its billions of users, today and in the future. We know that the plan is stronger because of the processes through which it was developed. And, after the final acclimation in Marrakech, we trust it has broad support from the Internet community. These aspects will be extremely important in the face of the scrutiny it will—and should—receive over the next several months. Most importantly, through all of this, we must keep an eye towards completing review and implementation by the time the contract expires in September of this year.

So, while we have reached a significant milestone, we need to finish the job. We already know some of what must be done. Along the way we will discover other things we need to do. The Internet Society is committed to seeing this most important transition through to its finish. Together, with the dedication and persistence that is our hallmark, I am confident we will get there together.

Image credit: ICANN Photos on Flickr CC BY NC

Growing the Internet

Internet Society expresses support for IANA Stewardship Transition Plan

Kathy Brown, President & CEO, provided the following statement to the ICANN Board of Trustees on Thursday, March 10, 2016 during the Public Forum session at ICANN 55 in Marrakech. Read more about ISOC’s view on our IANA Stewardship Transition page.

The Internet Society believes that the IANA Stewardship Transition package has the broad community backing it deserves. We strongly support it.

Importantly, we believe it does two things:

  1. It ensures the continued stability of key technical functions that are a core part of the smooth operation of the Internet, and
  2. It provides the path forward for strengthening the stewardship role of the ICANN community.

What the community has delivered is quite remarkable.

It has taken courage to persist in the face of our differences and diverse interests – courage to do what is necessary to achieve our common goal together and courage to stay with the process.

Today’s outcome confirms the strength of the multistakeholder process in tackling issues important to the continued growth and evolution of the Internet. The Internet way we call it. Indeed, it is the ONLY way in our complex ecosystem.

But, we are not done. Hard work still remains ahead of us to turn the promise of the plan into reality. The community now has a responsibility to ensure the plan is faithfully implemented in a timely way.

Again, I would like to congratulate the Internet community for reaching this critical milestone. The Internet Society remains fully engaged in seeing this most important transition to its finish.

You can watch Kathy’s remarks below:

Internet Governance

Globalizing IANA: The Internet Society Submits Comments to the ICG

Today the Internet Society submitted its comments on the proposal to transition the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions from the United States Government to the global multistakeholder community.

The Internet Society has consistently advocated for the globalization of the IANA functions. We firmly believe that the global community is ready now to assume this important stewardship role and that a successful completion of this process is a critical step in providing additional confidence in the collaborative and multistakeholder Internet governance model.

In our comments we highlight how the proposal of the IANA Coordination Group (ICG) meets the principles set forth by NTIA. The proposal represents the outcome of discussions conducted under the unique multistakeholder processes of the relevant communities and have been open and transparent. We believe that the communities have worked hard to ensure that, after the transition takes place, the IANA functions will continue to operate in a predictable manner, consistent with the need to maintain the security, stability, resiliency and openness of the Internet. On the whole, the ICG has presented a workable proposal for the continued stability of the IANA functions.

We have, however, raised a number of concerns which we recommend for consideration by the ICG. Specifically, we comment on the complexity of the proposal, its implementation and its dependency on the ICANN accountability proposal that is being discussed in a parallel proceeding. We encourage the communities to continue deliberating how these implementation details can be addressed in a timely manner and how, in addressing them, all the communities can remain equally involved. The real test of the NTIA principles is not in the proposal but rather in the “running code” – it is important that we achieve the desired result once the implementation is complete.

We do not see these outstanding issues as unresolvable. Recently, Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling announced the extension of the IANA contract until September 2016. We welcome this extension because it will allow the global Internet community to continue its hard work on addressing these outstanding issues.

The work undertaken by the stakeholders to this process has been a testament to the dedication, persistence and expertise of the dedicated Internet community. In the true spirit of the Internet, there has been a tremendous amount of work and effort to ensure that the transition of the IANA functions happens in an open, inclusive, transparent and accountable manner. Ultimately, this process is about stewardship of the central, critical functions of one of the most extraordinary human innovations. It is right to entrust this important role to the Community and we are confident that the Community will carry its responsibilities through to a result that protects and furthers the core work of the Internet.

At the Internet Society, we will continue to assist the efforts of the global Internet community towards a successful transition. We encourage others to respond to the ICG’s request for comments.  The ICG needs to hear from many voices now. We encourage all of you to submit your own comments (as organizations or as individuals) before the Sept 8th deadline, even if you only wish to comment on a couple of the questions raised by the ICG. Please join with us in providing this critical feedback.

See also:

Internet Governance

The IANA Stewardship Transition – Now Is The Time To Share Your Views!

The IANA Stewardship Transition process may have started more than a year ago, but last week it reached its pinnacle with the publication of the compiled Proposal to Transition the Stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions from the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the Global Multistakeholder Community” by the IANA Coordination Group (ICG).

Now, it is time for all of us to tune in and share our views on this very important proposal.

This is an historical moment which we can all be part of. I would like to encourage everyone to read and reflect on the ICG proposal, participate at the webinars and submit their comments to the ICG’s process. The Internet has consistently been shaped and evolved through bottom-up and inclusive processes. The IANA Transition process is no exception and everyone is invited.

In this context, the ICG is now inviting the global Internet community to review, reflect and deliberate on the proposal and asks all interested parties to submit their comments by the 8th September 2015 at 23:59 UTC.

As part of this call for public comment and continuing its role as an additional source of information and knowledge on all things IANA, the ICG will be hosting two webinars with the aim to help the public understand the proposal, the purpose of the ICG’s public comment period and how to provide public comments. The topics that will be covered include:

  • What are the IANA functions?
  • What is the IANA stewardship transition?
  • What is being proposed for the transition of the IANA stewardship?
  • Why is the ICG seeking public comments?
  • What should commenters focus on?

At the same time, in parallel to the ICG’s proposal, the Cross-Community Working Group (CCWG) on Accountability has just released its second draft for public comment. For the past months, members of the CCWG-Accountability have been working on enhancements to ICANN’s accountability framework that have been identified as essential to happen or be committed to before the IANA Stewardship Transition takes place. This is just as an important process as the ICG one and it significant that the community pays similar attention to these recommendations.

Finally, last week, the Internet Society released a policy paper entitled: “Perspectives on the IANA Stewardship Transition Principles”. The paper is a contribution to the ongoing discussions regarding the IANA transition process. Like all other interested parties, the Internet Society is contributing to this process. As we have previously stated “ a successful transition [can help] reinforce the value of the collaborative, multistakeholder model”.

What is currently taking place should be considered a milestone in the administration and management of the Internet. In one of my previous blog posts, I have said that this transition has always been in the cards – since 1998 to be precise. We have come a long way. We now have a final proposal and a global Internet community that is more mature, more diverse and more committed than ever before.

In this spirit, we should continue to show our support and help shape the future of the Internet.

P.S. The NTIA’s Larry Strickling has also published an article asking for comments: Let Your Voice be Heard on IANA Transition.

Internet Governance

Perspectives on the IANA Stewardship Transition Principles

As the IANA Coordination Group (ICG) gets set to release its call for public comments on a combined proposal to transition the stewardship of the IANA functions, it is critical that we understand how the IANA stewardship principles as well as the IANA functions fit into the broader context of the Internet’s operations and history.

Back on 14 March 2014, the U.S. Government National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition stewardship responsibility for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global, multi-stakeholder community. It asked the global Internet community to develop a plan that will ensure performance of the IANA functions continue to adhere to fundamental Internet principles after the transition.

In the coming weeks and months, as stakeholders continue to deliberate on accountability mechanisms, discussions will now shift to a consideration of whether the outcome of all this work is in line with the principles outlined in NTIA’s March 2014 announcement.

In considering the principles, or so-called “NTIA criteria”, it’s crucial that we see these not as the product of the United States government but rather as the fundamental characteristics that have enabled the Internet to serve as a platform for seemingly limitless innovation around the globe. For the long-term growth and stability of the Internet, the administration of the IANA functions must continue to adhere to those principles, which are grounded in the history, origins and design of the Internet.

At the Internet Society, we’ve done some thinking about these principles and have put together a thought-piece that discusses the origin and operational relevance of these principles to the IANA functions. Our main goal was to show how they are reflective of broader Internet principles which have been adopted and embedded through years of international consensus.

The purpose of this document is twofold: first, it is to provide some global context for these principles. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is to demonstrate that these principles are ingrained in the network’s architecture.

As we all begin to step back from the drafting work and look at the bigger picture, I hope this piece is a useful contribution to a discussion about how the IANA stewardship transition fits into the broader narrative and consensus about globalization, openness and security/stability of the Internet going forward.

IETF Internet Governance Open Internet Standards

Rough Guide to IETF 93: The IANA Transition

The 93rd meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) kicks off next week (July 19-24) in Prague to discuss a variety of issues, ranging from security to privacy to DNSSEC and IPv6. The IANA stewardship transition process, which has been underway since March 2014, is also part of the IETF’s agenda.

The IETF has a vested interest in a successful IANA transition process. Being one of the ‘directly’ affected customers of IANA, the IETF is responsible for developing Internet protocols and policy for those protocols. As such and at the request of the IANA Coordination Group (ICG), the IETF was the first community to submit its proposal back in January 2015. Since then, the IETF community has been closely following the process and has consistently talking with both the numbering and the names’ community.

Last month, during ICANN’s 53rd meeting in Buenos Aires more progress was made. The names’ community successfully concluded its proposal and submitted it to the ICG. Jari Arkko’s blog update from ICANN provides a very good overview of what took place and what are the next steps for the ICG and the stewardship transition process in general.

After the ICANN meeting, a new timeline was also posted. Responding to a request by Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, the ICG outlined the three phases they anticipate will be required for the full transition to take place. Taking into consideration all the various components and dependencies – i.e. issues of accountability for the names’ part – the ICG anticipates that the earliest the transition could be completed in the July 2016 timeframe.

Finally, and as the accountability discussions continue with urgency, the ICG has announced that the proposal to transition the stewardship of the IANA functions will be out for public comment July 31 to September 8 (approximately).

The IANA transition discussion is scheduled to be discussed in the Thursday, 23 July, afternoon session.

Related Working Groups and BoFs at IETF 93

ianaplan (Planning for the IANA/NTIA Transition)
Thursday, 23 July 2015, 15:20-17:20, Congress Hall II

Follow Us

There’s a lot going on in Prague, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to monitor. To follow along as we dole out this series of Rough Guide to IETF blog posts, follow us on the Internet Technology Matters blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, via RSS, or see