U.S.will cede key Internet functions to ICANN

Sunday, 2 October, 2016 - 12:00

If nothing unexpected occurs, the U.S. will cede its power of overseeing of domain name system, or phonebook of the Internet, fully to a California-based non-profit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The "transition helps ensure that the Internet remains open, interoperable and stable in the long-term," the ICANN tweeted

Currently, the ICANN performed the so-called Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions pursuant to a contract with the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that dated back to 1998.

The NTIA has promised from the beginning to privatize the IANA functions, but it was the whistleblower Edward Snowden's 2013 revelation about the depth of U.S. Internet surveillance that actually pushed the U.S. government to accelerate the transition process to ease international outrage.

However, the U.S. government refused to accept a plan that replaced NTIA's role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution. Instead, it insisted transitioning the functions to a "global multistakeholder community," which includes engineers, businesses, technical experts, civil society groups and governments.

Meanwhile, the ICANN, just as NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling said, "always has and will continue to be subject to antitrust laws" in the U.S.

The ICANN also said "California law is the basis for the new mechanisms created to empower the ICANN community and hold ICANN the organization, Board and community, accountable."

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