ICANN is on the up-and-up, GAO decides

ICANN is on the up-and-up, GAO decides

The General Accounting Office has given a clean bill of health to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Commerce Department's designated private-sector administrator of the Domain Name System.

ICANN was formed in 1998 to take over much of DNS, which Network Solutions Inc. of Herndon, Va., had run for years under an agreement with Commerce.

The department's fiscal 2000 funding bill required GAO to examine the legality of the relationship between ICANN and Commerce. The congressional watchdog agency concluded in a recent report that Commerce's agreements with ICANN are legal.

GAO said Commerce had not violated the law because it neither founded nor controls ICANN. GAO also determined that ICANN, as a government partner, can levy fees to recover its costs of operation.

Commerce defended having spent $250,000 to participate in ICANN activities under its broad mandate to promote U.S. commerce.

GAO said it was less clear if Commerce has authority to transfer control of the Internet's root server system because its authority over the system was never statutorily granted.

Commerce says the question is moot because it has no plans to transfer control of the root server system, which Network Solutions continues to operate.

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