US to cede control over ICANN

Dylan Bushell-Embling
17 Mar 2014

The US government has announced plans to relinquish control over ICANN, in a move seen by many as motivated by international fallout over the NSA spying revelations.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revealed a plan to transition governance of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to the global community.

ICANN has been asked to draw up a transition plan in collaboration with global stakeholders, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), TLD operators and VeriSign.

NTIA currently contracts with ICANN to carry out the global Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, but this contract is set to expire in September 2015.

Any proposal must have broad international support and ensure that the security and stability of internet DNS and the openness of the internet is maintained, the announcement states.

The government is billing the transition as the final stage in the privatization of DNS functions, a process which started in 1997.

Bit many pundits have suggested that the move is aimed at addressing international concerns over US control of the internet in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, including the revelations that the NSA had intercepted communications from international leaders.

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