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Role of the US government in the Internet management: Afnic responds to ICANN

May 12, 2014

Afnic has responded to ICANN regarding the organization that will ultimately replace the US government in the oversight of IANA functions.

Following the request from the US government on March 14, ICANN has begun to organize a discussion to develop a proposal for the oversight of IANA functions by September 2015.

For the record, these functions include the operational management of the Internet root zone, the assignment of IP address blocks and AS numbers to Regional Internet Registries (RIR), and the coordination of Internet protocols with IETF.


In its response, Afnic recalled that the transition process should concern the oversight of IANA functions as a whole, not just the root zone record management function, as ICANN seemed to suggest. Furthermore, Afnic recalled that the US government had an agreement with Verisign for publishing changes in the Internet root zone, and that the agreement, although not explicitly referred to in the NTIA statement, should be discussed during the process.


Afnic expressed its attachment to a secure and reliable Internet, and suggested using the results of the São Paulo meeting to ensure that the transition leads to a robust, sustainable mechanism, where each and everyone's responsibilities are ensured by outside, independent audits and assessments. Afnic believes that this recommendation applies to all of the stakeholders involved in the operational management of the Internet root zone, which includes ICANN.


Finally, Afnic agreed with the need to promptly implement a steering group for this process, in order to coordinate and summarize worldwide contributions. However, it opposed the approval of members of the group by the ICANN Board, and recalled that all of the stakeholders, in particular national registries in charge of country-code internet TLDs, had their own coordination mechanisms, and were represented by their regional organizations (CENTR, for Afnic and its European counterparts, which also published a contribution [PDF file]) and CCNSO for ICANN itself.


Afnic's contribution will be submitted for discussion during a special Consultative Committee meeting, open to all, on May 26.


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Afnic (the French acronym for "Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération" i.e. the French Network Information Centre), is a non-profit association created in 1997. Appointed by the French State to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain (TLD) it promotes use of .fr by entrepreneurs and individuals. As the historic manager with more than 3 million domain names in .fr to date, it is also positioned as a provider of technical solutions and registry services: it currently manages 14 projects for new gTLDs, including .paris and .bzh. Afnic is located in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where its staff of 80 works for the common good of the French Internet.