Latest in Department of commerce

Image credit:

ICANN reveals plan for ending America's control of the internet

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
August 4, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Though it's called the "world wide web," the US Commerce Department has held the keys to the internet since its inception in the '90s. Last year, it agreed to hand them over to worldwide bodies and asked ICANN, the group that manages internet addresses, to come up with a plan. ICANN unveiled the much anticipated report yesterday, and has given the public until September 8th to comment on it. The gist of the 100-page document? Internet control functions will be given to ICANN and an oversight body made up of "interested parties" that has no connection to any world governments.

Many American political heavyweights were opposed to ceding US control, fearing internet censorship in certain nations. Ex-President Bill Clinton, for instance, said it could lead to states "protect(ing) their backsides instead of empowering people." Republicans also signaled early on that they were opposed to any change in the status quo. However, ICANN's proposed rules would keep nations from meddling in any internet decisions. Instead, oversight will be handled by a "Customer Standing Committee" (CSC) made up of numerous stakeholders in industry, academia, government agencies like NASA and protocol management groups like the Internet Systems Consortium.

The technical aspects of the internet's address and naming system would be handled by a new legal entity under contract to ICANN. If a community feels that entity is not performing its duties appropriately, it could raise an alarm with ICANN, which could then consult the CSC. The idea is to create a "defense against (internet) capture by any single constituency," as one network engineer told Reuters.

In fact, the new proposal is similar to how internet control works now, and is roughly what the US government wanted. ICANN ignored China and Russia's demands to get the United Nations involved and made sure it integrated European concerns about privacy. After the comment period for the report ends next month (you can add your input here), President Obama will present the proposal to the US Congress. If Congress passes it -- which is definitely not a given -- the transition is scheduled to be completed in July, 2016.

[Image credit: Associated Press\

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The best early Black Friday deals you can get in Best Buy's new sale

The best early Black Friday deals you can get in Best Buy's new sale

View
Vizio's latest TVs add FreeSync, 120Hz 4K gaming support

Vizio's latest TVs add FreeSync, 120Hz 4K gaming support

View
Microsoft clarifies which games work on Xbox Series S and X on day one

Microsoft clarifies which games work on Xbox Series S and X on day one

View
AMD's $649 Radeon RX 6800XT will take on NVIDIA's RTX 3080

AMD's $649 Radeon RX 6800XT will take on NVIDIA's RTX 3080

View
Windows 10 update removes Flash and prevents it from being reinstalled

Windows 10 update removes Flash and prevents it from being reinstalled

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr