WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that establishes a long-lasting framework for the technical coordination of the Internet's domain name and addressing system (DNS).
NTIA and ICANN co-signed an Affirmation of Commitments that completes the transition of the technical management of the DNS to a multi-stakeholder, private-sector-led model. The Affirmation ensures accountability and transparency in ICANN's decision-making with the goal of protecting the interests of global Internet users. The Affirmation also establishes mechanisms to address the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS as well as promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice.
"Today's announcement bolsters the long-term viability of the Internet as a force for innovation, economic growth, and freedom of expression," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "This framework puts the public interest front and center, and it establishes processes for stakeholders around the world to review ICANN's performance. The Affirmation of Commitments also reinforces a long-standing relationship between ICANN and the Department of Commerce. The Department looks forward to playing an active role along with other stakeholders in ensuring that ICANN is successful, accountable, and transparent."
The Affirmation is consistent with public comments submitted to NTIA earlier this year that reflected strong support for the model of multi-stakeholder, private-sector-led coordination of the DNS that ICANN represents, but also expressed continuing concerns about ICANN's transparency and accountability in decision-making.
The DNS is a critical component of the Internet infrastructure that works like a telephone directory, allowing users to send e-mail and to reach Web sites using easy-to-understand domain names (e.g., http://commerce.gov) rather than the numeric network server addresses (e.g., http://220.127.116.11) of the computers on the Internet.
U.S. Department of Commerce's NTIA serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on communications and information policy. For more information about the NTIA, visit www.ntia.doc.gov.
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