The US is set to loosen its grip on the Domain Naming System (DNS) and leave the internet as a truly global entity, although not everyone is happy about the move.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit global organisation, will get control of the DNS on 1 October after the US received assurances that it was "ready" to take charge.
Many US politicians, most of them Republicans, oppose the move, seeing the US as 'protector' of the internet, and have expressed concerns at possible interference by rival superpowers like Russia and China.
As such it's no coincidence that this was all done and dusted before the forthcoming US elections.
The more keen-eyed will note that ICANN has been around for years and isn't making a big deal of this. That's because it has effectively run the show for years. What is actually being transferred is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), an organisation dating back to the days of Arpanet.
IANA is responsible for the root nameservers and time zone database. The rest has been ICANN for ages anyway. And even IANA is run by ICANN under contract.
So when you untangle this, what's actually happening is that the US government is removing the contract element to IANA and giving it to ICANN which, although US-based, is geographically neutral. It just has to be based somewhere.
Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), explained all the things in a blog post.
"For the last 18 years, the US has been working with the global internet multi-stakeholder community to establish a stable and secure multi-stakeholder model of internet governance that ensures that the private sector, not governments, takes the lead in setting the future direction of the internet’s domain name system," he said.
"To help achieve this goal, NTIA in 1998 partnered with ICANN, a California-based non-profit, to transition technical DNS coordination and management functions to the private sector. NTIA’s current stewardship role was intended to be temporary."
ICANN made its case for the change last year, but the sheer amount of stalling led some to question the US commitment to letting go.
One of the prime arguments for the neutralisation of ICANN was the revelations from Snowden and Gould regarding NSA monitoring, but the organisation was itself hacked in late 2014.
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