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United States Senate Questions NTIA Advocacy Over ICANN

The Association of National Advertisers reported today on a striking development regarding ICANN.  While ICANN was languishing in Durban, South Africa debating its next steps in governance, on July 18, the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations approved its Fiscal Year 2014 Report for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.  That includes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  The NTIA is the principle liaison between the United States government and ICANN.  In the past couple of years, NTIA has been criticized for its laissez-faire approach to ICANN oversight.  The Senate made it clear that the NTIA is not to take a back seat. Quoting from the report:

“ICANN — NTIA represents the United States on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers [ICANN] Governmental Advisory Committee [GAC], and represents the interests of the Nation in protecting its companies, consumers, and intellectual property as the Internet becomes an increasingly important component of commerce. The GAC is structured to provide advice to the ICANN Board on the public policy aspects of the broad range of issues pending before ICANN, and NTIA must be an active supporter for the interests of the Nation. The Committee is concerned that the Department of Commerce, through NTIA, has not been a strong advocate for U.S. companies and consumers and urges greater participation and advocacy within the GAC and any other mechanisms within ICANN in which NTIA is a participant. NTIA has a duty to ensure that decisions related to ICANN are made in the Nation’s interest, are accountable and transparent, and preserve the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet for consumers, business, and the U.S. Government. The Committee instructs the NTIA to assess and report to the Committee within 30 days on the adequacy of NTIA’s and ICANN’s compliance with the Affirmation of Commitments, and whether NTIA’s assessment of ICANN will have in place the necessary security elements to protect stakeholders as ICANN moves forward with expanding the number of top level Internet domain names available.”

As the hundreds of delegates return from Durban, it will be interesting to see how they react to an invigorated NTIA.  As they say, stay tuned…

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We Expert Doug Wood had written 40 articles for Party of We

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