The US government’s oversight of the systems that control how the web operates has now ended, leaving the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in charge.
ICANN has always had this role, but the US Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration previously sat above ICANN, effectively giving the US control over how the web is run.
This oversight covers everything from the assignment of IP address blocks to the Regional Internet Registries and the management of the Domain Name System Security Extensions that is set for a major security overhaul in the next 18 months.
However, this contract has now expired and the transition has taken place, despite criticism from many politicians in the US that the nation is giving up control of the web and opening it up to the risk of being undermined by rivals such as Russia.
A last minute court battle initiated by four US states also failed to stop the transition taking place, a decision that dismayed Texas attorney general Ken Paxton.
"It’s a dire day in our country when the president is allowed to unilaterally give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish," he said in a widely reported statement.
"We will continue to weigh our options as the suit moves forward."
Conversely, others have argued that the move away from the US government is necessary to ensure that the nation does not have too much ability to influence the way the web is run.
ICANN chairman Stephen Crocker explained that the move to give the organisation total oversight of the web had been planned for many years and should ensure that it remains an "open, free and accessible platform" for everyone.
“This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” he said.
“This community validated the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including businesses, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others, is the best way to assure that the internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the internet of today.”
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