US Government No Longer Controls Internet

US Government No Longer Controls Internet: Most of the interent users might not be aware of the fact that the internet has got democratised on Saturday. The domain management and IP address allocation  are the key technical backend functions of which the control has been shifted from the US government to an international “multi-stakeholder” body comprising academia, civil society, governments, and the tech community.

You don’t have to worry about it as the change will have no bearing on how we use the internet. You will still receive the emails as you used to. You will still be socially updated as before. But the major significant change comes in the form of decision-making process behind key internet functions from the government of other countries other than US.

US Government No Longer Controls Internet

“I think this is a historic moment,” says Dr Ajay Kumar, additional secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, who has been an active participant in the transition proposal discussions. “This will pave the way for the next generation of the internet, and India has an important role to play in it,” says Kumar.

The intent of this transition was expressed nearly two decades ago. Active work for it began in 2014. After several hurdles, political controversies, and a last-minute lawsuit heard in a Galveston, Texas court on Friday (local time), the process has finally come to fruition.

At the core of this change lies the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a US-based non-profit body which coordinates web addresses across the internet. Its core functions of IP allocation, and the management of the “root zone”, often described as the master phone book of the internet, falls under the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA. Until Friday, the IANA was under contract with the US government’s National Telecommunications Information Authority (NTIA), under which it would have to seek its nod to carry out its tasks. Now the contract has been allowed to expire, and US government doesn’t watch over it anymore.

“The transition will help to ensure the continuation of a single, open Internet that users around the world can rely on for years to come,” says Steve Crocker, chair of the ICANN board of directors. Instead of the US government, it will now be governed by a set of new bylaws developed over the last two years. According to the NTIA, this process had stakeholders “spending more than 26,000 hours on the proposal, exchanging more than 33,000 messages on mailing lists, holding more than 600 meetings and calls, and incurring millions of dollars in
legal fees.”

One can continue watching cat videos online the way one does. “The transition is just transferring the oversight role from the US government to a global multi-stakeholder community. The IANA Functions are only technical in nature, and will not affect content online,” explains Aarti Bhavana of the Center for Communication Governance at National Law University in the capital.


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