Okay, for a internet challenged person, talking about this is far outfield for me. That said, it is important to understand at least a little about it as a user. Domain Name Systems have until now been handled by IANA as a part of the non-profit ICANN. The US government has up until now been overseeing it in the interest of the US. In March 2016 at a meeting in Marrakech this changed.
DNS (Domain Name System) had functioned since the early days before the massive internet explosion. As internet grew, ICANN developed methods and strategies that DNS needed, eventually ICANN took over most of the function while the US government and DNS took a chaperone roll. Then a lot of noise was made by governments after Snowden spilled the beans and the US was forced to make a decision about turning over the DNS function to a private entity more rapidly than it had supposedly planned.
The Guardian on March 16, 2016 (author Maria Farrell) ran an article titled “Quietly, symbolically, US control of the internet was just ended”. You can read the article HERE.
“What they have agreed is a plan for ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to end direct US government oversight control of administering the internet and commit permanently to a slightly mysterious model of global “multi-stakeholderism”.
Larry Strickling, assistant secretary at the US Department of Commerce, navigated the US government towards fulfilling its original commitment to ICANN’s independence almost 20 years ago.
But why did we even need a carefully brokered deal to make managing the internet the world’s business, and not America’s prerogative?
When ICANN was founded in 1998, the plan was to keep its anchoring contract with the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for a year or two, and for ICANN to become independent in 2000. But in the meantime, the internet became just too important for the US to let go of the reins.
…The new oversight model had to be multi-stakeholder. It had to be developed by the world’s internet community, whoever that is. It could not be run by governments. And only the US government could decide if the new model passed the test.
It has taken almost two years, one contract extension, 32,000 emails and 600 meetings to put the plan for the future of the internet together. It comes in two parts; one to transition IANA out of US control (IANA transition proposal) but keep it part of ICANN, and the other for a much-needed beefing up of ICANN’s anaemic accountability mechanisms.”
On August 18, 2016 BBC News ran an article under its technology heading by Dave Lee called “US ready to ‘hand over’ the internet’s naming system” which you can read HERE.
It basically says that Obama and the government have approved the privatization deal and will be handing the reins of DNS completely over to ICANN on October 1, 2016. The US will cede all its rights to control over to ICANN on that date and for the near future ICANN will remain in Los Angeles where it has been based for a few years.
The Obama administration raised partisan concerns in Congress as well as technology groups after members of his administration announced final plans to effectively privatize Internet governance.
On April 4, 2016, Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and James Lankford sent a letter to Dr. Crocker protesting this change and loss of control. Later in June 2016, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Duffy introduced the Protecting Internet Freedom Act. Sen. Cruz also spoke on the topic at the Republican National Convention.
Their concerns were, and still are, the serious implications of other governments and their possible censorship, most especially against US interests. (I would also fear the censorship against any so-called Islamophobic statements as we are seeing in London, European countries, and other countries. It is becoming more obvious daily here in the US that this censorship by all the internet big name technology groups like Google, Twitter, and others is taking place.)
“…raising serious concerns and requesting information regarding Mr. Chehade’s involvement with the World Internet Conference, which is organized by the Chinese government, a regime notorious for its censorship of the Internet and criminalization of online speech .Chehade should recuse himself from all ICANN decisions that could impact the Chinese government, which include all negotiations and discussions pertaining to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition.”
Apparently, Obama and our internet groups simply were not concerned enough about national security or national interests to address this or had in fact already addressed this. We all know how Obama “conducts” his plans by now.
An update on the IANA transition press release was issued August 16, 2016 by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling.
“On Friday, ICANN informed NTIA that it has completed or will complete all the necessary tasks called for in the transition proposal by the end of the contract term. (end of September 2016)
Stakeholders spent two years developing a thoughtful consensus proposal that meets the criteria we outlined in 2014 and will strengthen the multistakeholder approach, while maintaining the stability, security, and openness of the Internet that users across the globe depend on today. This multistakeholder model is the key reason why the Internet has grown and thrived as a dynamic platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression.”
Sooo, not being a tech person — if IANA has been doing this work for years, the only difference that I see is the question brought up about the multistakeholder plan. I thought this was only about setting up new domain names. Could this be another UN grabbed entity about to go haywire? Is this a fubar for our future in internet?
How would and why would the stakeholders be able to influence what domain names internet users have access to? How would this affect US companies and the government entities? Should we be worried?
Any of you Tech guys, please weigh in on this so those of us low-end users understand better.