CADNA Supports the NTIA’s Open Bidding for IANA Contract

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2011 – The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) applauds the decision by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce to hold an open bid for the new Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) contract.

The IANA maintains the root servers that comprise the Internet. The contract to manage IANA is currently held by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the same organization charged with developing policies for the maintenance of the domain name space. This marriage of the technical function and the policy-creation function provides ICANN with almost unilateral control over the development of the domain name space. CADNA believes that ceding both policy-making and technical authority to a single entity threatens online security and stability.

“Opening up the bid on a new IANA contract sends a clear message,” said Josh Bourne, president of CADNA. “The message is that the NTIA is dedicated to ensuring the stability of the Internet by requiring accountability from the policy and technical functions.”

“This open bid should serve as a wake-up call to ICANN,” said Bourne. “Years of questionable priorities and policies and ignoring the concerns and recommendations of governments and Internet stakeholders have left governments and the Internet community dissatisfied with the organization.”

For example, on June 20 of this year, ICANN approved a policy to accept applications for perhaps hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) – the last letters in a domain name like .COM or .ORG. The policy was approved despite outstanding concerns from the business community, Internet users and ICANN’s own Government Advisory Committee (GAC). As a consequence of the way that the New gTLD Program is structured, cybersquatting will proliferate, and, rather than focus on constructive investments like job creation and innovation, businesses will be forced to allocate more funds to second-level defensive registrations in order to protect their brands and their customers from fraudulent online activities in relevant new gTLDs that may be created.

“The NTIA has signaled their desire to create a separation between the policy and technical functions earlier this year, and this open bid process is an important step towards creating a check against ICANN’s policy making authority,” said Bourne. “CADNA is encouraged that the NTIA process will yield an appropriate authority to execute the IANA function.”