US govt cuts cord on in­ter­net over­sight

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

WASH­ING­TON: The US gov­ern­ment has ceded con­trol of the tech­ni­cal man­age­ment of the in­ter­net, in what has been called the “most sig­nif­i­cant change in the in­ter­net’s func­tion­ing for a gen­er­a­tion”.

Fol­low­ing a long le­gal bat­tle, the Cal­i­for­nia-based NGO In­ter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for As­signed Names and Num­bers (ICANN) will gain con­trol over the or­gan­i­sa­tion of unique on­line iden­ti­fiers.

The change will not af­fect or­di­nary in­ter­net users but is a re­flec­tion of the rapidly shift­ing on­line land­scape and at­ti­tudes to it.

ICANN man­ages the data­base for toplevel do­main names such as .com and .net and the cor­re­spond­ing nu­meric ad­dresses that al­low com­put­ers to con­nect.

The group’s work will be gov­erned by a col­lec­tion of aca­demics, tech­ni­cal ex­perts, pri­vate in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, pub­lic in­ter­est ad­vo­cates and in­di­vid­ual users around the world.

“This tran­si­tion was en­vi­sioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tire­less work of the global in­ter­net com­mu­nity, which drafted the fi­nal pro­posal, that made this a re­al­ity,” ICANN board chair­man Stephen D Crocker said.

“This com­mu­nity val­i­dated the multi stake­holder model of in­ter­net gov­er­nance. It has shown that a gov­er­nance model de­fined by the in­clu­sion of all voices, in­clud­ing busi­ness, aca­demics, tech­ni­cal ex­perts, civil so­ci­ety, gov­ern­ments and many oth­ers is the best way to as­sure that the in­ter­net of to­mor­row re­mains as free, open and ac­ces­si­ble as the in­ter­net of to­day.”

IT jour­nal The Reg­is­ter said it was a “his­toric mo­ment” and the “most sig­nif­i­cant change in the in­ter­net’s func­tion­ing for a gen­er­a­tion”.

Ed Black, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Com­puter & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, said the trans­fer was “a sym­bolic, but im­por­tant step in pre­serv­ing the sta­bil­ity and open­ness of the in­ter­net, which im­pacts free speech, our econ­omy and our na­tional se­cu­rity”.

The US gov­ern­ment has been the pri­mary man­ager of the in­ter­net’s ad­dress book since 1988 largely be­cause it was in­vented in the coun­try. – The In­de­pen­dent

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