U.S. Official Wants More ICANN Transparency

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration wants ICANN’s decision-making process to be more “accountable” and “transparent.”

Commerce Department Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling said the nonprofit group that overseas Internet domain names needs to do more to explain the reasoning for its decisions and to heed the advice of national governments.

“We still have work to do to make the reality of ICANN meet the vision,” Strickling said. In some areas, he said ICANN's efforts “remain incomplete.”

Strickland’s comments come on the heels of a rift between ICANN and national governments over the rules for approving new top-level domain names. Hundreds of applications for these suffixes, one of which includes .gay, are expected later this year once the process has been finalized.

Strickland however refused to go as far as some of ICANN's more vocal critics and stressed that the organization should be reformed from within rather than be replaced.

"The U.S. is most assuredly opposed to establishing a governance structure for the Internet that would be managed and controlled by nation-states," he said.

ICANN President Rod Beckstrom said the board is preparing to enter into this week's negotiations with national governments in a “collegial spirit of engagement.”

"We intend to fulfill and, wherever possible, exceed our obligations under the affirmation of commitments--subject to receiving appropriate resources," Beckstrom said.