Sudden move seen as final step toward DNS privatization
The U.S. government, often accused of having a disproportionate say in the working of the Internet, is about to loosen its grip considerably by ceding control of key domain name functions to the international community. To this end, U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit responsible for the global coordination of the Internet’s system of unique identifiers (names, IP addresses and protocol parameters), “to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA.”
“The timing is right to start the transition process,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling in a press release. “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”
Some, however, suspect this sudden alacrity to relinquish oversight of the the DNS system may have something to do with recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s overreach.
“I hope it’s not just a frightened reaction to the Snowden revelations, which have nothing to do with the Internet Domain Name System,” Steve DelBianco, executive director of trade group NetChoice, told PCWorld. “Maybe the administration wants to rack up political points for upcoming [Internet governance] meetings. I’m afraid those points won’t be worth what this move may cost.”