The United States of America controls a large part of the internet. Or atleast it did. The US announced it is loosening it’s iron hand over the Internet. The US created the internet and had since then controlled a large part of it. To refresh, your memory, the Internet started as ARPANET in the labs of the US Defence.
The Department of Commerce initially controlled the Internet, but then a non-profit organisation called ICANN was born in 1998 which existed for the sole purpose of controlling the internet. To be more exact, it was for maintaining unique IP addresses, domain names and other functions pertaining to the governance of the Internet. Basically, ICANN was the government of the behemoth that is the internet.
So essentially the US was the owner of the Internet. ICANN will still exist but it will no longer be under the government. It will be controlled by a “multiple-stake holder” approach.
“To support and enhance the multi-stakeholder model of Internet policy making and governance, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announces its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community,” the National Telecommunications and Information Administration wrote in a press release.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise and is the latest in the series of moves by ICANN which resulted in ICANN drifting further and further away from the Government. When it’s contract was renewed in 2006, the US’ influence over ICANN was further reduced.
ICANN is developing a plan for becoming independent and completely away from government control. It is holding a meeting for deciding the future of Internet governance on April 23-24.
But the daily internet user will not notice anything new. The news is symbolic and takes the internet one step further to being an ‘Open’ entity.
The news comes at a time when the US is receiving flak from it’s citizens and other countries due to the NSA revelations which revealed that the Government has been spying on everyone right under our nose. All this spying is either down by exploiting vulnerabilities, forcing companies to give user data or negotiating to insert vulnerabilities in their encryption software. The revelations were a moral blow to the public and also was a huge blow to the US goverment. It’s Dark Side had been exposed.