Guess What? The Internet Just Slipped From the Hands Of the United States



Short Bytes: Following the decline of the US Senators’ plea for declaratory and injunctive relief against NTIF, the control of the Internet’s Domain Name System has been transferred to the private nonprofit ICANN which was founded in 1998. The change has taken effect on October 1.

The internet was a pet project of the US military which was funded by DARPA (formerly ARPA). A vital thing to the internet is the Domain Name System (DNS) and the United States, the creator of the internet, has been controlling it since more than two decades. You can read more about DNS and its working in our article: What is DNS (Domain Name System) and How it Works ?

Initially, when the internet was not so popular, the US used to look after the domain name system. The task was later shifted to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) in 1998 which is a division of the nonprofit ICANN. But the US government, faced as NTIA, still had the control over the operations of the IANA.

Other countries have been pressurizing the US to isolate itself from the operations of ICANN and IANA. The control has begun shifting from the hands of the US but efforts have been made to halt the process. Senators from the states of Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Nevada filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Texas.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been on the front foot in the story, believes the control of internet slipping from the hands of the US would lead to its censoring by authoritarian countries.

“Imagine an internet run like many Middle Eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy,” Cruz said in a Sept. 14 hearing. “Or imagine an internet run like China or Russia that punish and incarcerate those who engage in political dissent.”

In the final decision on Friday, the declined the request for “declaratory and injunctive relief” against NTIA. As of October 1, 2016, ICANN will have the sole authority over the IANA functions.

“This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global Internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” said Stephen D. Crocker, chair of the board of ICANN.

“This community validated the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today.”

The Domain Name System is important to the existence of the internet. Without this address book, it would have been impossible to access a website on the internet. You won’t be reading this news if there was no DNS. The recent stewardship transition, began 18 years ago, doesn’t affect the normal internet users like us.


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