JPA is the abbreviation for Joint Project Agreement. A JPA was signed to reach a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICANN and the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), on the behalf of United States Government (USG). The two parties signed the agreement in September, 2006. The main objective of the JPA was to effect the transition of Domain Name System (DNS) management to the private sector. Under the Joint Project Agreement, ICANN agreed to carry out 10 responsibilities and committed itself to promote the security and stability of the Internet.
Responsibilities of ICANN under JPA
The following 10 responsibilities were assigned to ICANN upon the signing of the JPA:
- Stability and Security: To ensure stability and security for the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
- Transparency: To continue developing, testing, and enhancing procedures to increase transparency in the adoption of policies pertaining to technical coordination of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS).
- Accountability: To develop, test, maintain, and enhance accountability mechanisms to be responsive to global Internet stakeholders.
- Root Server Security and Relationships: To coordinate with the operators of root name servers and other relevant experts in relation to operational and security issues.
- TLD management: To build and maintain processes so that there is no monopoly on TLDs, so that the Internet DNS remains stable, and so that consumer interests are kept in mind.
- Multi-stakeholder Model: To improve and maintain the multi-stakeholder model and to ensure that all global stakeholders participate equally and conduct reviews of ICANN's existing advisory committees.
- Role of Governments: To work with the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) members to review the GAC’s role so that there is effective consideration of the advice of GAC on the public policy aspects dealing with the technical coordination of the Internet.
- IP Addressing: To work in a collaborative manner at both the global and regional levels so that there is sufficient incorporation of the Regional Internet Registries policy in the action of ICANN.
- Corporate Responsibility: To maintain efficiency and excellence in all operations, including organizational measures, good governance, and international private sector organization, and to maintain the Board of Directors, staff, and executive management so that they consist of people with relevant business and technical experience.
- Corporate Administrative Structure: To conduct a timely review of the corporate administrative structure so that there is adequate stability and adequate distribution of resources.
Midterm review of JPA
NTIA: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a statement on the mid-term review of the JPA. The NTIA observed that there was a consensus on the need to preserve the stability and security of the Domain Name System (DNS) and recognized that ICANN is a suitable technical coordinator of the Internet DNS.
ICANN: During the midterm review of the JPA in 2008, ICANN specified that though the JPA was instrumental in the initial years of ICANN, it viewed that the JPA allowed the US government too much power over DNS management. It was also of the opinion that ending the JPA would help to provide long-term stability and security for ICANN's DNS management, and would also build confidence among all participants who invested the energy, time and thought that led to secured Internet coordination that would always be managed by the stakeholders and not any one entity.