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Ambassador David Gross Testifies at Senate Hearing on Internet Governance, Transition of Domain Name Functions to Global Multi-Stakeholder Community

February 25, 2015

Ambassador David A. Gross, chair of Wiley Rein's International Telecommunications Group, testified today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, regarding the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) plan to transition key Internet Assigned Name Authority (IANA) functions to a global multi-stakeholder community. 

These IANA functions are currently overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages certain IANA functions under a contract with NTIA that expires in September 2015.  NTIA is part of the U.S Department of Commerce.

Speaking on behalf of the Internet Governance Coalition, Amb. Gross said transitioning the management of certain IANA functions from NTIA to a multi-stakeholder entity relies on implementing enhanced accountability and transparency as "critical necessary steps" preceding the transition.  The Coalition is an industry-led group with broad representation from the communications, Internet, and related industries.

"United States oversight of the IANA functions has long been an issue of concern to the global community," Amb. Gross said.  "By allowing for the careful transition of certain IANA functions to a bottom-up multi-stakeholder entity, the United States will affirm its long-standing commitment to the multi-stakeholder model."

Amb. Gross said the Coalition welcomes NTIA's affirmation that any transitioning proposal must support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model; maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet domain-name system (DNS); meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and maintain the openness of the Internet.

"If the principles NTIA identified for the transition are met-which is a critical condition for this process to work-the United States will also succeed in maintaining the freedom, openness, security, and stability of the network we have all enjoyed since its inception," Amb. Gross said.

Amb. Gross served in the U.S. Department of State as the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy from 2001 to 2009.  During that time, he was the co-head of the United States delegations to both actual phases of the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005), which, among other things, focused on the role of governments regarding Internet governance and resulted in the creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

To read the written testimony of Amb. Gross, click here.