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The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) first entered into the DOC/ICANN Memorandum of Understanding with ICANN on November 25, 1998. The Commerce Department revised the MOU six times between November 1998 and September 2006. On September 29, 2006, the DOC announced a new Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with ICANN, which was intended to continue the transition to the private sector of the coordination of technical functions relating to management of the DNS.
Like the MOUs, the JPA sets forth goals and tasks for ICANN to accomplish. But the JPA's goals are less specific than those set forth in the MOU, [i]n keeping with the widely expressed desire to make ICANN more independent of the U.S. government. The JPA extended through September 30, 2009, and focused on institutionalizing transparency and accountability mechanisms within ICANN.