- Transition to occur Friday night, when US contract expires
- Countries such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran likely to have more say in future
- Lawsuit filed in Texas to stop the independence of ICANN
The day is here. US government is set to cut its thread of internet oversight.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has been overseen by the U.S. government since its founding in 1998, but the government contract ends this Friday and the plan is to let ICANN become independent.
The transition will occur at midnight Friday (0400 GMT Saturday), which is when the US contract expires for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the internet’s so-called “root zone.”
When the agreement with the US Commerce Department runs out, ICANN will become a self-regulating non-profit international entity managing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the system for online “domains” such as .com.
US and ICANN officials say the change is part of a longstanding plan to “privatize” those functions, but some critics complain about a “giveaway” that could threaten the internet’s integrity.
Christopher Mondini is ICANN’s vice president for global business engagement. According to him, the change will have no impact on day-to-day internet use.
Only time will tell whether the system will remain free from government regulation and interference.
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