US to handover internet oversight

Obama administration’s plan to relinquish internet infrastructure on track, ICANN head says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US government continues its plan to hand over the oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) –non-profit organisation that manages global internet domains– to a global multi-stakeholder body by next year’s presidential elections, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé said.

The ICANN is responsible for the management of top-level domain names with .com and .net and their corresponding numeric IP addresses since 1998 when the US contrated out the oversight through the Commerce Department.

Some Republicans object the transfer plan on the grounds that other countries such as Russia, China may capture the control of the ICANN through some Byzantine games.

“I think they see now that this is actually a good thing for the Internet. The fragmentation of the Internet is bad for everyone,” Chehadé said.

“I'm never comfortable, but I am optimistic and I believe that all interests are now aligned... Everybody sees that this makes sense.”

By the end of the year, the ICANN plans to finish a proposal for the government and the Congress to review that would take 60 to 90 days. The draft will include the details about how the organisation with multi-national stakeholders –including academics, business and government representatives– would operate beside accountability mechanisms and other insurances.

Chede said that the transfer of the ICANN can be completed before the US presidential election in November 2016.

Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently proposed a bill that would block Commerce Department to fund the transfer of the ICANN. The White House issued a vote threat to the bill on Tuesday.

Although it’s not clear relinquishing whether Internet control would be Obama’s legacy, ICANN’s Chede won’t be at his post to see, leaving in March.

TRTWorld and agencies