The calm is over, and the storm may be about to begin. Congress is back from recess and not one but two Congressional Committees are about to hone in on the implications of the NTIA’s March 14th announcement of its intention to surrender its IANA functions contract counterparty status with ICANN by September 2015.
Meantime, an exhausting ICANN meeting has just concluded in Singapore, at which much more was learned about the import of that decision and the complexities of implementing it (more on that in a separate post-jetlag post). Everything ICANN-related, including the Internet governance status of business in general and domainers in particular, is up for grabs and at risk for at least the next eighteen months.
This is ICANN week in Washington. Besides those two Hill hearings, two major think tanks are also holding ICANN-related programs.
Here’s the lineup:
First, on Wednesday, April 2, at 10:30 am ET the Communications and Telecommunications Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider “Ensuring the Security, Stability, Resilience, and Freedom of the Global Internet” . This is the Subcommittee with direct NTIA oversight, and the hearing may be contentious. The star-studded witness list consists of:
The Honorable Larry Strickling
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Administration
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
The Honorable David A. Gross
Wiley Rein, LLP
Mr. Fadi Chehadé
President and CEO
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Mr. Steve DelBianco
Ms. Carolina Rossini
Project Director, Latin American Resource Center
Internet Governance and Human Rights Program
New American Foundation
The following day, the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the House Judiciary Committee will explore the question of “Should the Department of Commerce Relinquish Direct Oversight Over ICANN?” at 10 am Eastern Time. While the witness list is not yet available, the Subcommittee is likely to focus on whether NTIA has the legal power to make this decision absent Congressional authorization — and the potential fallout for Internet free speech and trademark and copyright protection.
Also on Thursday, at 12 noon the influential Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a program on “Bully or Bodyguard? Assessing the Proper Role of the United States in Internet Governance”. ICA’s Counsel will be one of the presenters. The complete speakers list is:
Robert D. Atkinson
President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Founding Principal, Virtualaw LLC (and ICA Counsel)
Executive Director, NetChoice
Research Fellow, Mercatus Center
Finally, at 11 am on Friday, the respected Hudson Institute will host “A Discussion with the Hon. Lawrence Strickling about the future of ICANN”. Coming just after his Hill appearance, this should be a most interesting session.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, all these events will be webcast live so that you can be an eyewitness to history.
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