Obama to Cede US Control of Internet Backbone Tonight. Will It Matter?

intrntcnsrshpFor 20 years, the US has maintained loose control over ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which regulates the backbone of the internet. A California-based nonprofit created in 1998 by the US government and composed of citizens from multiple countries, ICANN manages “root zone files,” which make up the internet’s address book.

Now the US is giving up its supervisory role, a decision by President Obama that risks letting countries like Russia, China and Iran change what citizens in other countries can read. Control of the root zone file, says Ted Cruz’s spokesman Phil Novack, lets ICANN “determine who gets a site, the policies governing those sites, and which sites get to operate and which sites get shut down.” Cruz has said that ““Like Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal, Obama is giving away the internet.”

An Independent Organization

Since the US created the internet, the Department of Commerce has kept a supervisory role even as the internet has gone global. The agreement between ICANN and the department runs out tonight at midnight, since Obama decided not to renew it. transforming ICANN into a completely independent organization.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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