According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. government is preparing to relinquish oversight for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

We predict back in 2008 that the Obama Administration would give up control over ICANN.

According to WSJ.com the move is viewed as a response to increasing international concern about U.S. control over the Internet’s structure, particularly in light of the recent disclosures about surveillance by the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Other governments have complained that the department’s contract with ICANN gives the U.S. unique influence over the Web, which it could use for a wide variety of purposes. In response to those concerns, the Obama administration is planning a process to transition oversight of the contract when it runs out in September 2015.”

“The administration’s main concern is that the new governance model for ICANN be free from any government interference, whether a single nation or coalitions of governments like the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union. Any new governance model must fulfill several conditions, with independence from government influence being the primary factor. The new governance plan must also preserve the security and stability of the Internet while keeping it open and free from censorship.”

“The impact of the change remains unclear, because the Commerce Department’s day-to-day role in overseeing the contract with ICANN is largely clerical. However, other nations have suggested the U.S. can still use its current authority to block certain websites for reasons like copyright infringement or having links to known terrorists. One goal of transitioning ICANN to nongovernmental oversight would be to provide more transparency to all nations into how the Internet’s root structure operates.”…



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