US govt cuts cord on internet oversight
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