On Friday, U.S. officials announced that they intend to relinquish control of the internet to the international community, but failed to specify who, or what, would maintain oversight of the internet’s administration.
It all sounds very complicated, but the reality is that the U.S. maintains control over web addresses and domain names that keeps the internet running smoothly for the entire world. Bowing to ceaseless political pressures mounting over the past decade, the U.S. is planning on relinquishing control of the internet within the next year.
Right now, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based non-profit group that goes by the acronym ICANN, cooperate with a contract and ICANN serves as “keyholders” for the internet.
According to Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”
After the news broke, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted, “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”
Critics have charged that ICANN was a poor steward of the internet and that the international community should have a more-prominent role in the administration of the internet.
Though details are unclear at this time regarding the final details of the new plan, the move reeks of political motivations and is likely to serve as an appeasement to those who favor globalist viewpoints.
Criticisms are likely to mirror those seen in the 1970’s, when the U.S. began handing over control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanians. The internet was created as a Defense Department program in the 1960’s by the U.S. government and controlling the administration of the internet has long been a benefit of having created it.
Perhaps most concerning is the uncertainty of who will administer the internet. While the U.S. has been largely criticized by other countries for maintaining control of it, the U.S. has been a stable steward of such a responsibility. Ceding that responsibility to other nations that might include China or other nations without a strong background in the upholding of individual rights might be a long-term threat to the accessibility of the World Wide Web.