Digital Policy Roundup: DOC Cancels ICANN RFP; Analysis of Chinese MIIT Plan for Software and IT; SIIA Files Comments on Accessibility

ICANN: DOC Cancels ICANN RFP

This week, the NTIA announced that it has cancelled the RFP issued in November, for performance of the IANA functions contract (including operating the domain name system) currently held by ICANN. NTIA had added requirements meant to address concerns that the global Internet community expressed regarding ICANN’s deficiencies, including conflict of interest provisions, reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure ICANN was acting in the public interest. NTIA determined that no submission — including ICANN’s — met these requirements, and announced that it will reissue the RFP in the future. In the meantime, NTIA granted a 6 month extension to ICANN’s current contract in order to ensure continued operation of the DNS. What this appears to mean is that NTIA is taking a hard line in forcing ICANN to address long-held concerns by many that ICANN needs to improve in order to deserve the right to continue running the DNS.

Trade: SIIA and Industry Groups Oppose India’s New Protectionist Procurement Rule

Last week, SIIA joined with several other leading industry groups in a letter to USTR staunchly opposing India’s new procurement rule and urging assistance in addressing the new rule that imposes a 30% domestic content requirement on an ill-defined range of electronic products and services. Not only does the rule explicitly target laptops and computers, but it could also extend to any software, application or electronic content that the Indian government might deem to be covered. SIIA’s members in the software and digital content industries are deeply concerned by this development and urge the U.S. government to engage strongly with the government of India to rollback this protectionist policy. Allowing the policy to stand not only increases the risk that India will extend it to other sectors, but also that other countries will seek to imitate it.

China: Analysis of MIIT 5 Year Plan for Software and IT Services Industry

As a follow-up to our report earlier in the year about the recent release of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIT) release of its Five Year Plan for the Development of the Software and IT Services Industry, SIIA’s sister organization in China, the U.S. Information Technology Office in China (USITO), has provided a summary and analysis of the Plan. In general, the plan aims to develop China’s domestic software sector very broadly, including specific areas such as operating systems, databases, office productivity software, middleware, security software and industrial design software (CAD) through a variety of funding channels including the core, high, basic program and other local government R&D support. If you would like information and are not a USITO member, please follow-up with SIIA staff.

Accessibility: SIIA Files Comments on Accessibility of Information and Communication Tech

Also last week, SIIA filed comments in the Access Board’s recent proceeding on electronic accessibility of information and communication technology, including software and digital content. The proceeding is meant to update the requirements for vendors to ensure that their products are accessible to users in different disability categories. The key point of the filing was to ensure that ICT would be subject to a single review for satisfying clear technical requirements, rather than subject to an additional review for compliance with general qualitative goals.

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David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

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