By Emeka Aginam, Asst. Online Editor

The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA)   after its recent meeting has written to the  Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, (ICANN) stating that there was need to  achieve a trusted, transparent and accountable steward for the technical management and coordination of the unique indicators of the Internet and associated policies.

While stating that the  coordination and management of the Internet’s unique indicators remains a key priority of the business community, WITSA pointed among other things key principles for improving Institutional confidence in ICANN which are not limited to the following:

* WITSA supports ICANN’s private sector, multistakeholder model of governance of the global
Internet’s unique indicators, such as IP addresses, domain names, and related services.

* WITSA supports the continued role of governments in a supportive and advisory capacity within ICANN and supports the increased participation of all governments in ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee.

* WITSA believes that further enhancements in ICANN’s accountability and transparency are
essential. Improved mechanisms in both transparency and accountability mechanisms will contribute to ICANN’s credibility and acceptance by all parties, including governments.

* WITSA supports ICANN’s role as the private sector led, trusted steward of the globally unique indicators, based on bottom up coordination and consensus based policy development. ICANN should continue its support to ICANN’s organizations and structures to broaden and deepen  participation.

*WITSA supports an increased focus on outreach in particular to ensure informed participation from the global business community in ICANN’s processes.

*WITSA supports ICANN’s focus on continued internationalization; however, the concept of internationalization must be viewed more broadly than just the location of ICANN staff and offices. The DNS itself is facing a major change in its internationalization with the introduction and incorporation of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNS). Incorporating this change throughout the Internet’s global indicators and ‘eco system’ represents challenges and benefits.

It represents a significant and fundamental change across the Internet, and must become a higher priority for ICANN as it seeks to meet the needs of the globally distributed multi stakeholder
Internet community.

Other forms of support include appropriate mechanisms to support the
participation of governments from the least developed countries; further enhancements to translations and interpretation of documents and meetings.
* WITSA supports the continuation of the private sector led multi stakeholder model of ICANN and recommends that ICANN complete the detailed implementation proposals to address improvements in accountability mechanisms, safeguarding against all forms of capture, maintaining financial and operational stability, and ensuring the security and stability of the unique indicators of the Internet.

Meanwhile, ICANN and the Department of Commerce have each undertaken extensive consultations with the global community regarding what changes and improvements are needed in ICANN have outlined five key areas for improvement which include the following:

* Safeguarding against Internal and External Capture
* Transparency and Accountability to the multi stakeholder community
*Meeting the needs of the Global Internet Community
* Financial and operational stability
* Security and stability of the Internet’s Unique Indicators

According to the letter, while  ICANN has made progress in global acceptance, and many governments participate in ICANN’s processes through the Governmental Advisory Committee, some governments continue the debate over whether a group of governments, or an intergovernmental organization should replace or provide oversight to ICANN continues.

In the environment where the private sector model is under threat, and where the scope of its responsibilities have profound implications for global commerce and economic stability of the Internet’s technical functioning, WITSA noted that it is essential that ICANN take further steps to improve its accountability and transparency; make further improvements in its operational processes in policy development, and in addressing security issues both for the organization and for the unique indicators.

While calling for continued changes in improved accountability, transparency, broadened participation, especially from the business sector, WITSA restated its commitment to  continue its support for ICANN.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, plays a unique and critical role as it fulfills its core mission of coordinating and managing the unique indictors of the global Internet –Domain Names, IP addresses, protoacols, and as it interacts with other key players, such as the Root server operators and Regional Internet Registries and country code managers.

Founded just ten years ago, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has achieved significant progress in developing the mechanisms and processes that can enable it to fulfill its role as the trusted steward of the Domain Name System (DNS), and related technical indicators, such as IP addresses and protocols that underpin the Internet’s technical operation.

The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is a consortium of nearly 70 information technology (IT) industry associations from economies around the world. WITSA members represent over 90 percent of the world IT market. As the global voice of the IT industry, WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industry’s growth and development;facilitating international trade and investment in IT products and services; strengthening WITSA’s national industry associations through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and critical information; providing members with a vast network of contacts in nearly every geographic region of the world; hosting the World Congress on IT, the premier industry sponsored global IT event; and hosting the Global Public Policy Summit. The Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria represents Nigeria in WITSA.


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