U.S. to Relinquish Control of ICANN Next Year

Mar 17, 2014 5:15 PM PST

WASHINGTON — The temporary role of the U.S. Department of Commerce managing ICANN is coming to a close.

ICANN, the czar of Internet names and addresses, will launch a drive to collect input throughout the year on how the Internet should be run. It will begin later this month at its Singapore conference.  

The deadline, at least a soft one, is September 2015 to have a new governance structure in place.

Any stakeholder of the Internet can weigh in on who should take on the role of ICANN, formally known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Alan Marcus, senior director of the World Economic Forum, told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. needs to relinquish control over its duties before new leadership can emerge.

"There are real issues that get clouded" by U.S. leadership of ICANN, Marcus told the paper.

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration stated in a release that the the new governance model must ensure that ICANN is free from government influence, while preserving the security of the Internet and keeping it free from censorship.

Jon Postel, a computer scientist at USC, ran the functions of the web up until his death in 1998. But when he died, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a contract to ICANN to take over management of Internet names and addresses.

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