At the stroke of midnight on September 30, 2016, America said good-bye to its long-time oversight of the internet, and along with it, the certainty of internet freedom.
Because the internet was started in the United States, from its inception, the system of managing domain names and numbers has always been conducted in or by the United States. In 1998, the Department of Commerce (DoC) contracted ICANN, a California-based non-profit, to perform the function of IANA management. It’s a critical role to ensure that internet domain names are not duplicated and that the assigned numbers are secure. DoC maintained oversight of ICANN and also performed some related administrative tasks.
Under U.S. oversight, ICANN has been doing a stellar job of keeping the internet free and secure. But, as internet usage expanded beyond U.S. borders, demands came for the U.S. to cede control of internet oversight. These demands were always resisted. Then, on March 14, 2015, the Obama Administration announced that it would relinquish internet oversight and place it into the hands of a then-unnamed global multi-stakeholder. Free speech advocates and others expressed concern that the move might result in domain management falling into the hands of dictatorial regimes such as China or Russia. Both the DoC and ICANN assured the public that they would not allow internet oversight to transfer to a tyrannical government or to any government entity.
Front Page Magazine
Oct. 7, 2016