The United States did give up key administrative control of the internet on October 1, 2016. It has the potential of altering the future, so this change of how the internet is administered is broadly outlined here.
What control over the internet did the US give up?
On October 1, 2016 the US stopped the direct management of Internet names and other protocols.
To whom or what did the US turn over management of the internet to?
This privileged role was directly turned over to a US non-profit corporation formed and based in California known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
How does direct management by ICANN different from past US management?
ICANN has actually been managing Internet names and other protocols since the beginning of the modern internet in 1998. Until October 1, 2016, ICANN was operating as a subcontractor of the US government (actually an agency called NTIA under the umbrella of the Commerce Department). Now ICANN will operate as an independent board under a California non-for-profit corporate structure. The independent board will report to “stakeholders”, not the US government.
Who are the “stakeholders” that now control the internet?
A general definition of “Stakeholders” would be special interest groups that have a common goal of success in an organization. Stakeholders that have interest in the success of the internet wished to have a voice in ICANN. Stakeholders in ICANN include “representatives in government, industry, civil society, and academia [Wiki]”.
How are the “stakeholders” organized?
Each of the four defined interest groups each have a constituency committee that reports to ICANN with one voice for that interest group. Of key interest would be representatives in industry—these include internet service providers, content providers, and internet connectivity providers—that previously did not have a direct say in the management of the internet now do.
So what is role of the United States now??
The United States government [through NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Agency)] is a “stakeholder” in the government constituency group along with other representatives of other countries.
What is the future of internet control?
In the future, ICANN will make decisions based on the advice of the four major constituency committees. The idea is to gather broad world wide support for a decision. This is a contrast to the past of US government dictates.
How does any of this matter to an internet user?
The user should see no immediate change in the internet. ICANN is dedicated to internet freedom as is currently understood just as it was when it was an arm of the US. This dedication is clearly defined in the mission statement and By-Laws of ICANN.
American voters should seek representatives who are dedicated to a strong US effort to maintain the status quo of a free and open internet under this new multi stakeholder control by ICANN.
John J. Kasperek passes along information he feels is important that often is not broadly discussed but effects the lives of people.