The US Government Hands Control over the Internet to ICANN

1 October 2016 marked a historic day for the World Wide Web. After almost 20 years of transition, the control and management of the Internet’s DNS root zone were finally handed over to ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the nonprofit organization that is in charge of assigning domain names and the underlying IP addresses so that the Internet can work smoothly.

Even though ICANN already manages IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), the body that is actually responsible for the web’s domain name system (DNS), one of the US Department of Commerce’s agencies had the final say over any decisions that ICANN made under a contract concluded 47 years ago at the onset of the Internet.

After the handover, all control lies with ICANN which has earlier been restructured to adopt a multistakeholder model of Internet governance so that the web can remain free and decentralized. The motion did not pass without opposition from conservative lawmakers in US Congress arguing against because of potential interference from authoritarian regimes in the free and open running of the Internet. Corporate Internet giants, on the other hand, supported the handover.

All in all, the Internet experience for the average user will not change.

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