The chatter about the transfer of power for controlling the most fundamental aspects of the internet has caught media attention due to clashing oppositions. On one side we have the U.S Congress, who is working hard against the transfer of ICANN’s internet governance to an outside agency while major technology firms of the Valley are urging the government to transfer the control to the global community.
For those unaware, the U.S government has recently been pondering over ceding control of the intenet’s management system ICANN, contracted with Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions including the domain naming system(DNS). Yeah, the same DNS that has been cloaking website addresses of the form of random numerical strings to the URLs we have come to recognize(and remember) today. These numeric addresses are also the only way that help our computers connect to the Internet.
But, some lawmakers are strictly against the decision of the takeover of the internet management by a global authorities, which include businesses, tech experts and public interest advocates outside United States. They have been peddling their ideology against the handover decision saying that it could stifle online freedom by giving voting rights to authoritarian governments.
They’ve sent out a letter to the Commerce deptartment and DOJ citing “outstanding issues” facing the transfer. It states that the transfer also do not specify that the organization must remain a California non-profit corporation, and its legal jurisdiction of incorporation can be tranferred to China, Russia, or other regions.
The transfer of IANA functions could result in a less transparent and accountable Internet governance regime or provide an opportunity for an enhanced role for authoritarian nation-states in Internet governance,
stated the letter.
The ICANN transfer is currently scheduled to be passed in the favor of a global multistakeholder entity on 1st October. It is currently hanging by a thin thread and can only be passed upon the aggreement(and votes) of the congressmen.
The technology companies are in favor of delaying the handover, but still not in favor of completely abandoning the destined tranfer of the twenty year old entity to a seperate multi stakeholder corp. They’ve also sent out a letter, reviewed by Reuters, stating that it’s ‘imperative’ that Congress does delay the final transaction. It has signed by some of the biggest technology players, including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others.
A global, interoperable and stable Internet is essential for our economic and national security, and we remain committed to completing the nearly twenty year transition to the multi stakeholder model that will best serve U.S. interests,
stated the letter.
The former presidential candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is the one leading the opposition against the handover of the internet governance to the global community. There is sense of authority where they believe that the standards, and technology were both developed in the United States and thus, should remain in the country. He will hold a congressional hearing on Wednesday to review the transition.
As stated by analysts, global tech companies and individuals, the transfer of the internet policies is long overdue and necessary to keep the Internet open and globally oriented. The committee established to look over the transition has included in the proposal a clause that safeguards the ICANN internet entity from any potential abuse by one particular country.