Interview with M.Fahd Bataynech ICANN representative
Lte Magazine: At the first, we want to know the strengths of ICANN in the governance of the internet web?
Fahd Batayneh(ICANN): ICANN, policies are developed in a bottom-up, consensus-driven, multistakeholder fashion, which ensures that everyone in the global Internet community has a voice in its development.
The ICANN community has proven over the years that bottom-up policy development can work, and its continued success is one of the reasons why the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) chose to relinquish its stewardship of the IANA Functions to the global Internet community.
Lte Magazine: ICANN had adopted guidelines for the settlement of domain names litigations (UDRP). Is ICANN considering updating this regulation especially with the new planned extensions and will ICANN continue to cooperate with the WIPO on this?
Fahd Bataynech(ICANN): The ICANN community revisits policies from time-to-time, and improvements are always carried out to Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPM). During the development of the New generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Program, the community agreed upon the creation of additional RPMs, such as the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), as well as the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), which helps minimize trademark infringement under the hundreds of New gTLDs being rolled-out.
Lte Magazine: With the emergence of the Internet of Things and the introduction of IPv6, how ICANN and IANA will be organized to manage all the data that will be generated with this development. Is the root servers that currently exist will be sufficient for the internet or another servers should be added Eg installed in Africa as was done in China.
Fahd Bataynech(ICANN): ICANN’s mandate does not involve general web data gathering or data analysis. ICANN’s mandate is limited to coordination of the IANA Functions, which are made up of Domain Names, Number Resources and Protocol Parameters.
In terms of IPv6, ICANN is a strong advocate of IPv6, and we work closely with the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) to promote the migration to IPv6.
Regarding root-servers, while there are thirteen naming conventions for root-servers (‘A’ to ‘M’), there are more than 500 copies of such instances around the world. ICANN maintains the L-root server, which has more than 250 copies distributed around the world. As for China and Africa, there are root-server copies in both these geographies.
Due to some technical limitations in the DNS packet format, the naming conventions cannot be changed beyond the current thirteen.
Lte Magazine: The Internet is a global service open to the public, accessed through the various telecommunications networks and the question that often arises is: why ICANN has become independent from the US government while the IANA the technical arm of ICANN remains under control of the US federal government?
Fahd Bataynech(ICANN): As the Internet began to grow rapidly in the late 1990’s, the U.S. Government recognized that as the commercial use of the Internet expanded globally, governance would also need to evolve, and that stewardship of Internet resources would be better served by the private sector. The U.S. Government always envisioned that its stewardship of the IANA functions would be temporary, and the IANA Stewardship Transition is the final step in the 17-year process to relinquish this role.
What sparked the March 2014 announcement by the U.S. Government was acknowledgement of ICANN’s organizational maturation, including steps taken to improve its accountability, transparency and technical competence, and the continued growth of international support for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.
In its announcement, the U.S. Government asked ICANN to convene an inclusive, global discussion that involved the full range of stakeholders to collectively develop a proposal for the transition that meets key criteria. Since the announcement, ICANN has convened those stakeholders to determine the process for transition stewardship of the IANA functions, and after thousands of hours of collaboration, the proposed plan was submitted to NTIA on the 10th March 2016, during ICANN’s 55th public meeting in Marrakech.
A successful transition will ensure that all members of the Internet’s global multistakeholder community, from large and small business, technical experts, civil society, researchers, academics, governments and end users, are partners in the continued expansion and innovation of one, unified Internet.
We encourage the global Internet community to follow the IANA Stewardship Transition, as the process comes to a conclusion in the coming weeks.
Lte Magazine: At the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005, the IGF meeting in Athens in 2006 and at the Dubai ITU summit on 2012: a multilateral and consultation framework was requested in order to solve all the issues related to Internet governance. What do you think of this request? We must recognize that one of the strengths of ICANN is the involvement of civil society in the governance of the Internet.
Fahd Bataynech(ICANN): Internet Governance is about ‘coordination,’ rather than ‘governance’, and should be poly-centric and distributed. The multistakeholder model is the only way to govern the Internet smoothly and efficiently while ensuring everyone has a voice in its development.
Internet Governance is an evolving process, and so issues and problems will always exist as long as the Internet keeps evolving. This is where your support and involvement is key.
Furthermore, the strength of the IGF lies in the fact that all stakeholder groups, including Civil Society, contribute to discussions on an equal footing. The multistakeholder process is an all-inclusive process that includes stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from corporations to civil society.
Openness and inclusivity are the foundation of ICANN’s bottom-up form of governance, where everyone has a say in developing ICANN’s policy frameworks. We are always working to increase stakeholder participation from all groups, whether they are civil society members, businesses, governments, technical experts or individual Internet users.
Lte Magazine: In the context of IPv6 is the existing alphabets will be sufficient to respond to the user’s needs.
Fahd Bataynech (ICANN): While the current IPv4 pool consists of 4.3 billion unique addresses, of which only 3.7 billion are usable, IPv6 has 390 trillion trillion trillion unique IP addresses, which is more than enough to fulfill the address needs of an ever-growing Internet.
Lte Magazine: Finally what do you think about the ICANN challenges for the coming years?
Fahd Bataynech(ICANN) : As the Internet evolves, so does the work undertaken at ICANN. One of the main challenges is how to connect not only the next billion users, but the billions that come after! To date, there are just over three billion individuals connected to the Internet. As the Internet expands and grows, new needs arise.
For instance, consider the new gTLD program and the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). Internet users across the world are now able to engage online using a domain name entirely in their native languages and scripts. This will foster Internet usage around the globe, and particularly in regions previously underserved by the Internet. However, there is still a need for Internet and language experts to form panels for many scripts. Our role at ICANN is to encourage this and facilitate the convening of these panels to work on the successful uptake of IDNS. This is essential to validate IDN TLDs and determine their variants for the root zone.
ICANN is also working very hard on globalizing its operations. Over the past few years, ICANN has established a physical presence all around the world. We now have hubs located in Istanbul, Los Angeles and Singapore, which act as operational headquarters for the different regions. Our engagement centres in Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, Montevideo, Seoul and Washington, D.C afford an even wider reach and accessibility.
Our work is never over, and we will continue to ensure that the Internet remains open, singular and secure.
Lte Magazine : thank you very much for agreeing to answer our questions