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IANA transition: all you need to know about the US "giving up the internet"

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IANA transition: all you need to know about the US "giving up the internet"

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), which had the oversight of the IANA functions, announced that the contract had expired as planned as of 1 October. This confirmed the transition of the functions to The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), bringing the process that started 18 years ago to a conclusion.

Over the past few months, the opponents of the transition had been ramping up their efforts to prevent it, with Senator Ted Cruz claiming that it would threaten free speech online. On the other side of the issue, the supporters that argued for the transition, including Google and the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, made efforts to refute the main arguments of the opponents.

The key issue according to Cruz and other opposers of the transition was that the US would be “giving up the internet”, and that authoritarian states would have more control over the internet – a view that has since been denied by many.

The movement against the transition culminated in a last-minute request for an injunction, which a federal judge denied on Friday, thus allowing the transfer to go ahead.

For the proponents, the transition was an important step in vindicating the “multistakeholder model” for internet governance. According to ICANN Board Chair Stephen D. Crocker, the global Internet community had 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”.

The IANA functions have been described as “the internet’s address book”: they refer to Domain Name System (DNS), an important part of the internet infrastructure that concerns assigning URLs to web addresses. As ICANN performed this task also before under NTIA’s oversight, for regular internet users there is no change in the way the internet functions.

However, the issue may not have been fully settled yet, as the four states that made the request for an injunction haven’t ruled out the possibility of appealing to the decision, Politico reports.

(image source)


Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson


2016-10-03 15:36

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