In case readers haven’t noticed, we’re big ‘ole groupies of The Register (UK). Not only are the articles extremely well researched, but The Register is second only to the New York Post when it comes to pithy and snarky headlines (remember the Post headline, “The Evil Has Landed,” when Ahmadinejad came to visit New York in 2007?).
On Wednesday, the Register posted the best article we’ve seen to date on a rather touchy topic- the transfer of the IANA contract from the United States to ICANN. “IANA”, short for “Internet Assigned Numbers Authority,” basically oversees the running of the global Internet.
According to its webpage, IANA allocates and maintains unique codes and numbering systems that are used in the technical standards (“protocols”) that drive the Internet. As far as its ‘mission statement’ IANA states:
The IANA team is responsible for the operational aspects of coordinating the Internet’s unique identifiers and maintaining the trust of the community to provide these services in an unbiased, responsible and effective manner.
IANA’s site also explains that its various activities can be broadly grouped in to three categories:
- Domain Names
IANA manages the DNS Root, the .int and .arpa domains, and an IDN practices resource.
- Number Resources
IANA coordinates the global pool of IP and AS numbers, providing them to Regional Internet Registries.
- Protocol Assignments
Internet protocols’ numbering systems are managed by IANA in conjunction with standards bodies.
The Register reported that ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade met with Congress on Wednesday to assure everyone present that ICANN is ready to implement a smooth transition. The Register article, though, poses many thought-provoking questions about ICANN’s compliance and accountability. According to Kieren McCarthy, the article’s author:
True accountability would mean that if concerns are raised, ICANN the corporation is obliged to take them increasingly seriously. What happens in reality is the opposite: as ICANN is questioned, it introduces more and more procedural barriers as a way to avoid looking at the situation.
Check out Kieren’s full article for the nitty-gritty and a probable transition timeline.