Oct 012016
 
thank

“Today, after months of preparation and implementation of the community’s tasks, ICANN’s contract with NTIA expired. As a result, the coordination and management of the Internet’s unique identifiers is now privatized and in the hands of the volunteer-based multistakeholder community.”

These 2 sentences published today, October 1, 2016, by ICANN Board Chair Steve Crocker, have an air of history-in-the-making about them.

For the first time since it was created in 1998 to oversea the Internet’s naming (domain names and Top Level Domains) and addressing (IP addresses) functions, ICANN no longer has a direct contract with one government. The United States no longer have veto power over the way Top Level Domains such as .SKI (generic) or .EU (country code) are launched on the Internet.

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Jun 092016
 
Cruz S

In a move considered by many to be more political that commonsensical, failed Republican presidential nomination hopeful Ted Cruz yesterday introduced a bill which would, if enacted, allow the United States to keep technical control over the Internet, rather than transitioning it to a global oversight mechanism.

Dubbed the “IANA transition” after the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority Function, which is basically administering the Internet root, this move towards ending the unique oversight the US has enjoyed over the technical Internet since its inception was initiated by the Obama administration through the agency in charge of Internet matters, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

The Cruz bill is grandiosely named the “Protecting Internet Freedom Act“. A read of its very first paragraph seems to contradict this lofty goal by stating the Bill is designed “To prohibit the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from allowing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions contract to lapse unless specifically authorized to do so by an Act of Congress.”

Undeterred, NTIA today announced it is approving the proposed transition mechanism. “The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) finds that the IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal developed by the global Internet multistakeholder community meets the criteria NTIA set in March 2014,” it says in what can be seen as a direct response to the Cruz bill.

This NTIA announcement sets the scene for the transition to be enacted. As Cruz and others race to stop the transition from happening, the rest of the world can only sit back and watch as internal US politics determine the future of Internet Governance.