President Obama is at it once again, engaging in his favorite pastime, ensuring that the United States is advancing towards non-exceptionalism at warp speed, or in this case at the speed of light, by way of fiber optic cable and the Internet
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce made an announcement Friday afternoon that it was relinquishing control of the administration of the Internet. It will be turning over control of the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS) that oversees Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain names. NTIA’s obligation includes the procedural role of administering changes to the authoritative root zone file, which is the database containing the list of names and addresses of all top-level domains.
Developed in the 1960s, the Internet grew from a Defense Department program, ARPANET, and U.S. has maintained control over certain elements since its inception. Under a privatization process that began with Bill Clinton in 1997, ICANN was created in 1998 and it was intended to eventually migrate it to international control. That day will soon be upon us as the migration has begun.
Presently, the NTIA’s responsibility for the technical system named the Internet Assignment Numbers Authority (IANA) has been contracted out to the Internet Corporation of Internet Names and Numbers (ICCAN) under a biennial contract that expires in 2015. ICANN is charged with maintaining the IP address numbering system which computers use and turning those numbers into names that humans can understand, like .com, .org., or .net. Recently, those familiar names got some company with the addition of hundreds of new name like .ninja, .farm, .shoes, .photography, .bike, .pink, and even .wtf.
In its statement NTIA has asked ICANN to “transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community,” and “to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).”
NTIA also stated that it “will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.” It wants to be consistent with the “clear policy expressed in bipartisan resolutions of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (S.Con.Res.50 and H.Con.Res.127), which affirmed the United States support for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.”
ICANN is expected to work with organizations directly affected, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), top level domain name operators, VeriSign, and other interested global stakeholders.