This Time Next Year, US May Not Be In Charge of Internet Naming
The US has historically been in charge of the Internet's domain name system—under the auspices of Commerce's NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration)—but that role is in the midst of a transition. As early as one year from now, the US government may no longer hold the contract with ICANN (the body in charge of managing Internet resources, including domain names), said ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade at a global ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. Instead, the domain name system will be overseen by a global community of stakeholders. Domain name consulting firm FairWinds Partners tells us that this has been the most concrete timeline projection we’ve seen, though it is hugely dependent on how quickly the process continues to move and how the US government reacts to the proposal that's put forward. With an election next year, politics could come into play.
During hearings on the Hill this week, Chehade reps noted that the transition would happen at earliest in July '16. The move to global oversight started on the heels of other countries' concerns about net neutrality and US government surveillance. The proposed oversight mechanism over key ICANN functions (carried out by a department called IANA) is still proving to be a sticking point, Fairwinds tells us, as it ties in closely with the issue of ICANN’s accountability. Above, Fairwinds CEO Nao Matsukata with Communications VP Yvette Miller. The impending transition of IANA stewardship away from the US government has also opened up a complex conversation about how issues of jurisdiction will intersect with ICANN policy, a conversation that will likely continue over months or even years.