On June 6, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative hosted a roundtable with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and RiceHadleyGates on the privatization of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The discussion, moderated by Mr. Neal Pollard, Director at PwC and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, brought together the Hon. James Miller, Advisory Board Member at Endgame, Inc. and Atlantic Council Board Director; the Hon. Stephen  Hadley, Principal at RiceHadleyGates LLC and Atlantic Council Board Director; Mr. Steve DelBianco, Executive Director at NetChoice; Ms. Theresa Swinehart, Senior Vice President for Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives at ICANN; and Dr. Stephen Crocker, Chairman of ICANN; along with a group of senior experts on Internet governance.

During the discussion, participants engaged on the unique and evolving role of the United States in the international Internet governance landscape, voicing concerns about some countries’ actions to fragment or censor the Internet, and discussing the progress of the proposals put forth by the multistakeholder community regarding the IANA transition. Dr. Crocker and Ms. Swinehart, among others, expressed faith in the viability of the multistakeholder model and the quality of the work that has been done so far. Moving forward, there will be continued effort to depoliticize and globalize processes of Internet governance and to limit the ability of any single government to interfere in the maintenance of a free and open Internet. As a whole, the discussion underscored the importance of building trust among governments, between governments and citizens, and in the multistakeholder model as the diverse global community grapples with the complications and uncertainties involved in the future of Internet governance.

This event was the third in a series of roundtables held by the Atlantic Council on the IANA privatization process. These important conversations provide the ICANN community an opportunity to gain critical insight from leaders in the private and public sectors, as well as to update these key stakeholders on ICANN’s progress and goals for the transition process.