NTIA Press Releases
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2002
Contact: Clyde Ensslin or
Ranjit de Silva, 202-482-7002

Commerce Department, ICANN Amend Internet Domain Name System Management Agreement
One year extension includes heightened scrutiny and mandates new quarterly reports

The Commerce Department today announced that it is extending for one year its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The current MOU is set to expire on September 30. The Department's agreement to extend the MOU comes at the end of a thorough examination of ICANN's performance of the transition responsibilities to date, as well as of ICANN's ongoing reform efforts.

In announcing the Department's decision today, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications & Information Nancy J. Victory said: "The Department is frankly disappointed that ICANN's progress on the MOU tasks thus far has moved so slowly. Nevertheless, the Department considers the organization's recent broad reform efforts to be a substantial justification for affording ICANN a limited amount of additional time to achieve the MOU tasks."

In addition to extending the agreement, the amended MOU revises and augments the transition tasks in five areas where ICANN agrees to focus attention for the next year. These areas are:

  • the scope of ICANN's mission;
  • the transparency and accountability of its decision-making;
  • ICANN's responsiveness to Internet stakeholders;
  • an effective advisory role for national governments; and
  • the security of Internet functions.

In addition, the amended MOU specifically directs the Department to engage in certain activities to assist ICANN in addressing these tasks, such as consulting with foreign national governments.

"Although the MOU tasks have been augmented, ICANN should be a technical coordination body whose policy-making role is limited," Assistant Secretary Victory said. "ICANN should not be the government of the Internet."

The Department views the one-year term of the extension to be a critical period for ICANN to make substantial progress on the remaining MOU tasks. The Department will be closely monitoring ICANN's efforts, particularly through a quarterly reporting mechanism imposed by the new agreement.

Assistant Secretary Victory noted that ICANN cannot achieve full success on the tasks unilaterally. "The Department is committed to doing its part to assist ICANN tackle the MOU tasks. Other governments and the various Internet constituencies also need to participate actively and constructively in this process."

In the accompanying statement to the MOU, the Department "urges ICANN to avail itself of the expertise existing in the international community."

Both the amended MOU and the Department's accompanying statement, which provides a detailed explanation of its decision, are available through the Department's Web site at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ .


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