US says transfer of internet governance will go ahead on Oct. 1

Oversight of the internet’s domain name system functions will be transferred to a multistakeholder body

The U.S. will go ahead with its plan to hand over oversight of the internet's domain name system functions to a multistakeholder body on Oct. 1, despite fierce opposition from some lawmakers and advocacy groups.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers operates under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions that enable the efficient operation of the internet domain name system (DNS). These include responsibility for the coordination of the DNS root, IP addressing, and other internet protocol resources.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency located in the Department of Commerce, said in March 2014 that it planned to let its contract with ICANN expire on Sept. 30, 2015, passing the oversight of the functions to a global governance model. NTIA made it clear that it would not accept a plan from internet stakeholders that would replace its role by that of a government-led or intergovernmental organization or would in any way compromise the openness of the internet.

The transfer was delayed to September this year as the internet community needed more time to finalize the plan for the transition. The new stewardship plan submitted by ICANN was approved by NTIA in June.

NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said Tuesday that the agency had informed ICANN that “barring any significant impediment,” NTIA intends to allow the IANA functions contract it has with ICANN to expire as of Oct. 1, said Strickling, who is also assistant secretary for communications and information.

Last week, ICANN said Public Technical Identifiers, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, had been incorporated in California, to eventually run the IANA functions under contract from ICAAN, after the transition was complete.

The proposed transfer of control of the IANA functions has been criticized by Republicans in Congress and some conservative groups, who are concerned that the transition will hand over control of the internet to governments, including some that have a reputation for stifling online activity.

Last week, 25 advocacy groups asked Congress to sue to enforce riders it has passed on prohibiting spending of taxpayer money on the IANA transition. On Tuesday, one of the groups, TechFreedom, said the move to go ahead with the transition, which would require the time of NTIA staff and thus appropriated salaries, was a "deliberate affront to Congress."

The courts can still pause the transition in September or unwind it after the contract expires, said Berin Szóka, president of TechFreedom, in a statement. He raised the possibility that private parties could sue if Congress doesn't. The groups, which are opposed to rushing the transition, have said that key issues about the transfer are "not expected to be fully resolved until summer 2017."

NTIA said in an accompanying FAQ on Tuesday that both NTIA and ICANN have formally affirmed that the U.S. government is the administrator of .mil and .gov and any changes made to the top-level domains can only be made with the express written approval of the U.S. government. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, has introduced legislation that stated that the .gov and .mil top-level domains are U.S. property and asked the government to secure in the transition the exclusive ownership, control and use of the domains in perpetuity.

Under the transition proposal presented by ICANN, governments will continue to have an advisory role through the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). There is nothing that increases the role of governments over the DNS or ICANN as an organization, and the ICANN bylaws retain the prohibition on government officials serving as voting board members, NTIA said.  

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?