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JPA is the abbreviation for Joint Project Agreement. A JPA was signed to reach a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), on the behalf of United States Government (USG) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit private sector organization. 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 had agreed to carry out 10 responsibilities and had committed itself to promote the security and stability of the Internet. ICANN and US Department of Commerce are assessing these 10 responsibilities of ICANN for more than nine years now. [1]

Responsibilities of ICANN under JPA

In the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) signed between the US Department of Commerce, on behalf of the US government and ICANN, ICANN was mostly assigned with the following 10 responsibilities. Stability and Security: To ensure stability and security in 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 Internet Domain Name System (DNS).

Accountability: To develop, test, maintain and enhance the accountability mechanisms to be responsive to global Internet stakeholders. Root server Security and relationships: To coordinate with the operators with root name servers and other relevant experts in relation to the operational and security issues, this can be both network as well as physical.

TLD management: To build and maintain processes so that there is competition, Internet DNS stability and consumer interests.

Multi-stakeholder Model: To improve and maintain multi-stakeholder model and to ensure that all the global stakeholders participate equally and conduct reviews of its 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 as well as regional level so that there is sufficient incorporation of the Regional Internet Registries policy making activities into ICANN.

Corporate Responsibility: To maintain efficiency and excellence in operations, which will include organizational measures, good governance , International private sector organization and to maintain relevant business and technical experience for members of the Board of Directors, staff and executive management.

Corporate Administrative Structure: To conduct a timely review of corporate administrative structure so that there is adequate stability and distribution of adequate resources. [2]

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 recognition that the ICANN is a suitable technical coordinator of the Internet DNS. [3]

ICANN: During the midterm review of the JPA in the year 2008, ICANN specified that though the JPA was instrumental in the initial years of ICANN it viewed it as an agency, in which the US government was overseeing the part of DNS on a daily basis. It was also of the view that ending the JPA would help in providing a long-term stability and security for a model which will work and would also build confidence among all the participants that invested energy, time and thought for more than nine years and has led to a secured Internet coordination, which would always be managed by the stakeholders and not managed or looked after by any one entity. [4]