Opposition gets facts wrong on ICANN’s security committee and the IANA transition
In her recent article in The Hill newspaper, Theresa Payton is simply wrong in her statements about the IANA transition, ICANN, and the role of its Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC). Contrary to her statements, the IANA transition does not affect the security of your website, your email, or the Domain Name System.
The security of websites has been and remains the responsibility of the owners and operators of the websites – ICANN is not involved in protecting web sites or tracking down hackers. If websites are compromised, law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcement actions. The IANA transition changes none of the roles and responsibilities of the various actors already engaged in protecting the security and stability of the Internet.
The statement that control of ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) would change hands as a result of the IANA transition is also wrong and misleading. The SSAC is not a “security guard” for the Internet. The SSAC has no enforcement power, and the value of its advice is based on the strength of the facts underlying such advice.
The Security and Stability Advisory Committee advises the ICANN community and Board on matters relating to the security and integrity of the Internet’s naming and address allocation systems. Our recent work include advisories on a wide range of topics such as internationalized domain names, protecting domain name owners and operators, best practices for domain name registrars, analysis on the changing nature of IPv4 address semantics, and advice on matters pertaining to the correct and reliable operation of the root name system and other issues (see https://ssac.icann.org/ for more details). The SSAC neither operates as a security guard for the Internet, nor does it aspire to.
The IANA transition has no practical effect on the work and activities of the SSAC. Nor does the transition have any effect on the security and stability of website owners worldwide. The risk of compromise of a website owner does not increase as a result of the IANA transition, since ICANN and IANA do not control either the ownership of websites or the content on websites. Leading technical experts, industry associations, and civil society groups agree that allowing the IANA contract to expire is the best possible way to protect and promote the continued integrity of the Internet.
There is simply no relationship between ICANN and the current U.S. election process. Assertions of this sort are misleading and irresponsible. On the other hand, attempt to connect ICANN to the U.S. political process play directly into the hands of the enemies of an open Internet who would like to see ICANN and other Internet bodies put under the control of the United Nations or, worse yet, broken up into separate, government-controlled networks that do not interoperate smoothly around the world.
Stephen D. Crocker is Chair of ICANN’s Board of Directors; Patrik Fältström is Chair of ICANN’s Security & Stability Advisory Committee and Ram Mohan is ICANN’s Security & Stability Committee Board Liaison
The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.