Obama admin may relinquish US Govt.’s control over the Internet

By : |June 11, 2016 0
Image courtesy usatoday.com

The US government led by Barack Obama may relinquish its last remaining control over the Internet very soon. The transfer was set in motion two years ago when a Commerce Department agency said it would cede oversight over an obscure, but powerful, Los Angeles-based nonprofit called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN manages some of the most important elements of the Internet, including the domain name system and IP addressing. The agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, announced on Thursday that ICANN will hand over the reins to a “multi-stakeholder” group, and not a single government.

CIOL Obama admin may relinquish US Govt.'s control over the Internet

“The Internet’s multistakeholder community has risen to the challenge we gave them to develop a transition proposal that would ensure the Internet’s domain name system will continue to operate as seamlessly as it currently does,” NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling said in a statement.

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If Washington approves the plan, the US government contract with ICANN would expire at the end of September. The plan is meant to prevent any single government from taking control. Several foreign governments had complained about the US oversight over the Internet, maintained through contracts with ICANN.

Yet the Obama administration has faced stiff resistance to a hand-off for months from Republicans and from some circles in the tech community, on the grounds that the lack of control from the US government, other anti-democracy elements may use it to further their agenda. On Wednesday, Republican representatives introduced legislation to prevent the transfer of functions related to the Internet Domain Name System unless specifically authorised by Congress. The Protecting Internet Freedom Act also aims to ensure that the US maintains sole ownership of the .gov and .mil top-level domains.

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