Internet Domain System
Until earlier this month, the United States has enjoyed complete control over the Internet Domain System. Now, they have decided to relinquish that control in favor of a “multi-stakeholder” system. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has managed the internet system since 1998, due to a contract from the U.S that is set to expire in September of 2015, so now the U.S. would like help from the ICANN for support and help in developing a plan to implement the new multi stakeholder process.
The U.S. Role in Stewardship
The United States has assumed the role of stewardship of the internet protocols and has always emphasized the need for a free and open internet. What will this decision mean for the future of internet users? It is a controversial decision because there are other countries that do not share the U.S. view of an open internet. Many nations want to censor and constrain the internet and without the U.S. control, these nations may end up with a significant toehold. This decision could affect millions if the global community cannot continue the U.S. tradition of a free and open internet. It could also affect economic conditions in many countries that now earn their money on the internet, if too many restrictions are passed.
There could be agreements made before the switch is made to keep the internet free and open. Britain supports the United States decision to give up control and it may be a good idea. However, the decision may open the doors for censorship and other problems unforeseen as of yet. The United Sates still has control until late in 2015, but they better think hard about the kind if internet that they will be leaving for the future.