Geneva/Brussels – The technology industry welcomes the news that the U.S. Commerce Department intends to complete the transition of relinquishing its control over key Internet addressing functions to the global multi-stakeholder community. This was a necessary next step in the evolution of the Internet and supports the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance where all stakeholders concerned with the well being and functioning of the Internet help to shape the policies that make a bright online future for everyone possible.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced late Friday that it would transition its remaining authority over Internet addressing, administered through a contract with the international nonprofit ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN uses multi-stakeholder processes that involve governments, businesses, non-profits, Internet users and other stakeholders to set the policies governing the use of the key identifiers of the Internet, such as domain names and Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses – which are to the Internet as street addresses are to the postal system.
While this relinquishment of residual control by the government was already underway, ICANN and its five regional sister organisations responsible for allocation of Internet addresses (known as “regional Internet registries”) have been pushing for this transition to be accelerated since the revelations about U.S. mass surveillance, culminating in the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation of October 2013 signed by all these organisations.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Geneva Representative Nick Ashton-Hart:
“Since the birth of ICANN in 1998, it has been clear that the United States’ custodial role over the Internet’s unique identifier systems was only meant to be temporary. This announcement is both welcome and timely in signaling the process to end that custodial role begins now. Whatever process ICANN and its partners utilize to design this final transition must engage stakeholders worldwide where they live and work – and not just at meetings held by the organizations concerned as part of their regular activities.”
The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President James Waterworth, who runs CCIA’s Brussels office:
“This is great news for Internet users and businesses around the world that depend on an open, stable, secure Internet. The revelations about U.S. surveillance over the past year made clear that national policies which impact the Internet will come under increasing scrutiny and that the Internet belongs to the world.”
“The enhanced legitimacy flowing from this decision can only strengthen the technical and policy frameworks essential to all online communications. This is an essential opportunity to strengthen ICANN’s independence and governance institutions.”