April 3, 2004

ICANN Abandons Technical Matters Altogether

I see that the RIRs and ICANN have, after years of talk, managed to come up with a letter of intent to enter into a "Memorandum of Understanding".

That "Memorandum of Understanding" pretty much removes ICANN from any real role in the matter of IP address allocation.

As usual, ICANN resorts to the ambiguous words "Memorandum of Understanding" to avoid clearly stating whether or not the relationship being established is legally enforceable as a contract.

There is an interesting reference in paragraph 16 of the proposed MoU that refers to an "agreement to be executed between the RIRs and ICANN".  Notice that in that instance the documents use word "agreement" rather than "Memorandum of Understanding".  The word "agreement" is often synonymous with "enforceable contract", so my guess is that's where we will find the terms that transfer money from the RIRs to ICANN, a matter not mentioned in the proposed MoU but one that we know from experience is never far from ICANN's mind.

As a practical matter this MoU removes the final opportunity for ICANN to claim that it has any role whatsoever in the technical oversight of the internet.

In June of 2002 I raised the question -  What Would Happen To The Internet If ICANN Were To Vanish?  This proposed Memorandum of Understanding once again makes it clear that ICANN's absence would have no impact on the technical stability of the internet.  Which should lead one to wonder what, if anything, is the benefit of ICANN to the community of internet users?

Posted by karl at April 3, 2004 2:17 AM