US set to hand over Internet’s naming system to ICANN

Los Angles, Aug 18 (PTI) The US is set to cede power ofthe Internet’s naming system to a non-profit organisation onOctober 1, ending the almost 20-year process to hand over acrucial part of the Internet’s governance. The Domain Naming System, DNS, is one of the Internet’smost important components. It pairs the easy-to-remember web addresses with theirrelevant servers. Without DNS, one would only be able toaccess websites by typing in its IP address, a series ofnumbers such as "". More by circumstance than intention, the US has alwayshad ultimate say over how the DNS is controlled – but not formuch longer, the BBC reported today. The US will give up its power fully to Los Angles-basedICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names andNumbers – a non-profit organisation. The terms of the change were agreed upon in 2014, but itwasn not until now that the US said it was finally satisfiedthat Icann was ready to make the change. ICANN will take charge of Internet’s naming system onOctober 1, 2016, the report said. Users of the web will not notice any difference becauseICANN has essentially being doing the job for years. But it’s a move that has been fiercely criticised by someUS politicians as opening the door to the likes of China andRussia to meddle with a system that has always been"protected" by the US. "The proposal will significantly increase the power offoreign governments over the Internet," warned a letter signedby several Republican senators, including former presidentialhopeful, Ted Cruz. ICANN was created in 1998 to take over the task ofassigning web addresses. Until that point, that job washandled by one man – Jon Postel. He was known to many as the"god of the internet", a nod to his power over the internet,as well as his research work in creating some of the systemsthat underpin networking. Postel, who died not long after ICANN was created, was incharge of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Administration of the IANA was contracted to the newly-formed ICANN, but the US’s National Telecommunications andInformation Administration (NTIA), part of the Department ofCommerce, kept its final say over what it was able to do. It is that final detail that is set to change fromOctober 1. No longer will the US government – through the NTIA- be able to intervene on matters around internet naming. From October, the "new" ICANN will become an organisationthat answers to multiple stakeholders who want a say over theinternet. Those stakeholders include countries, businesses andgroups offering technical expertise. "It’s a big change," said Prof Alan Woodward from theUniversity of Surrey. "It marks a transition from an internet effectivelygoverned by one nation to a multi-stakeholder governedinternet: a properly global solution for what has become aglobal asset," he added. PTI AKJAKJ


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