US Government To Hand Over Its Last Piece of Internet Control


ICP requests public comment on transition for IANA stewardship

The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICP) has issued a request for public input on a proposal for the IANA stewardship transition process. The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is a powerful organization that coordinates and oversees names and numbers on the Internet, such as DNS domain names, IP addresses, and port numbers. The US government, which built the original Internet, has given up much of the control over the Internet committee process; however, the US Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) still maintains oversight of the IANA.

The NTIA announced a plan last year to pass control of the IANA to the international Internet community, and the ICP was launched to coordinate the transition process.

The IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal is a 199 page draft document that spells out the steps for transitioning control to the “Global Multistakeholder Community.” See the IANA website for information on submitting public comments. A pair of briefing webinars will take place on Thursday August 6, 19:00-20:30 UTC and Friday August 7, 11:00-12:30 UTC.

Update: In a recent announcement, the Department of Commerce will continue to maintain its control over IANA for one more year; the handoff is now scheduled for October 1, 2016.

Some commentators have expressed misgivings about the proposed transition, including Internet watchers who wonder whether ICANN is agile and efficient enough to handle the task. Countries that have strained relations with the US, such as Russia and Iran, have often objected to US control of Internet services. Some in the US Congress are wary of the surrendering power to the international community, but many in Congress also object to the US continuing to bankroll international endeavors that could also be funded through international cooperation.


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