Australians to help manage DNS transfer from NTIA

Two Australians will serve on the group overseeing the process that will result in an end to the US government's role in overseeing the Domain Name System (DNS).

The Internet Society (ISOC) has appointed its Australian president, Narelle Clark, as one of two ISOC representatives to the NTIA/IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group. In addition to being president and long-term member of the ISOC board, Clark is deputy CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

Clark will be joined on the 27-member group by Paul Wilson, general director at the Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC). He is one of two members representing the Number Resource Organisation.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it would end its role in the DNS. The decision was applauded by Australia’s Communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as a “momentous day in the history of the Internet.”

Currently the NTIA administers the authoritative Root Zone file. ICANN's Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which manages the Root Zone and Internet IP address allocation, operates under contract to the US Department of Commerce.

The IANA functions contract will expire in September 2015; the NTIA announcement means there is no intention to renew the contract.

The coordination group will evaluate and propose a new framework for the overarching governance of the Internet.

“The aim is to have a draft report out by the 30 April next year, and of course the NTIA contract runs out on the 30 of September next year,” Clark told Computerworld Australia.

While NTIA has indicated it will extend its contract past 30 September if a decision is not worked out, Clark said she hopes that will not be necessary. The US has elections in November and it’s in the best interest of the coordination group to finish its work in advance, she said.

“The emphasis is that this thing needs to be sorted out before [30 September].”

The group’s first meeting is in London in the middle of this month. Members can meet face to face or join meetings remotely via teleconferencing.

“This work is vital for protecting not only consumer and end user interests but for ensuring the continuing security, stability and resilience of the global Internet,” Clark said.

“As we now take concrete steps away from US Government oversight of the Internet it’s essential we make an orderly transition. Our worst nightmare is that we see a break up of core Internet functions with governments and vested interests taking over separate pieces in disparate and destructive ways.”

Clark said that she wants to avoid a model based on the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

“If the Internet goes to an ITU-type model, then that means we have this scenario potentially of having to pay for individual emails or to download individual videos, and things won’t work from one jurisdiction to the next,” she said.

More information about the transition can be found on the ICANN website.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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