U.S. Government Ceding Control of Key Internet Body
By Michael Liedtke
SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. government is relinquishing its control of the Internet's address system in a shift that may raise questions about the future direction of online innovation and communications.
The decision announced Friday begins a long-planned transition affecting the stewardship of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. That's a not-for-profit agency launched in 1998 by the Commerce Department to govern the system that assigns website addresses and directs Internet traffic.
The department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, hopes to end its oversight of ICANN's Internet Assigned Numbers Authority by the time its contract expires in September 2015. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority administers the technology that keeps computers connected to the Web and steers Internet traffic.Proposals for a new ICANN stewardship will be accepted beginning next week at a conference in Singapore. Although it's too early to tell how future oversight will be handled, the U.S. government appears determined to hand over the reins to an entity without political entanglements. "We will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTAI's role with a government-led or intergovernmental solution," Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary at the Commerce Department, told reporters. That statement may ease concerns that oversight of ICANN will be turned over to International Telecommunications Union, which is part of the United Nations. Although other countries have had a say in how the Internet works, the U.S. government retained veto power over ICANN. That role has fueled recurring debates about whether the U.S. government exerts too much influence over technology that plays such a pivotal role in society and the economy. The concerns about the United States' role in ICANN have intensified during the past nine months amid a series of media leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The disclosures have revealed that government spy programs have been vacuuming up emails and other personal data off of Internet services for at least the past six years as part of the country's anti-terrorism efforts.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV