US ceding Internet control

Mar 15, 2014
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US ceding Internet control

You may call it a face-saving effort, but it looks like the Obama administration is taking some good measures to do damage control after the NSA disclosures fiasco. Presently, the Commerce Department of the U.S. government has a hold over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This is a body that manages Internet names and addresses and other technical functions that assist computers across the globe to find correct servers and websites. When their contract expires in 2015, the governing agency plans to give up its control and put into place a neutral alternative.

This move can go ahead to strengthen further international cooperation and the ways that the Internet is managed across the borders. Many countries are weary about America’s dominance and control over ICANN and this stems from the recent NSA scandal. A number of governments have already complained regarding the ‘unique influence’ that United States has over the Web.

Keeping all these issues in sight, the Obama Government is looking at reforming the controlling body and is trying to make it more balanced by setting up a new one. The current contract between ICANN and the U.S. department expires in September 2015.

On paper this move seems to be a good one, however some businesses fear that the new body may hamper freedom and censorship issues can arise. One of the good things about the U.S. control was that free speech and rights to use the Internet, as a tool was never threatened.

Over the years China and Russia have always been pushing the U.N. and ITU to actively take part in managing the Web, and U.S. always strongly opposed this bid. ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé has said that he is thankful to the U.S. government for its ‘stewardship and guidance’ over the years.

If things go as planned then, soon after its launch in Singapore, the process of structuring the new ICANN overlooking agency will commence and be hopefully completed by September 2015.


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