The United States Department of Commerce gave up control of the organization charged with managing the Internet’s core infrastructure Friday as a result of mounting global pressure born out of the backlash over global National Security Agency surveillance.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has overseen domain names, assigned Internet protocol addresses, and executed other crucial Internet functions since 2000 under the supervision of the Commerce Department. Basically, it’s the map that points computers to the servers and websites their users are looking for.
According to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration – a Commerce Department subsection – the government will relinquish control of the Los Angeles, California-based organization to the “global Internet community” after its current contract expires in fall 2015.
Foreign governments’ complaints that the department’s control of the web management organization gave it influence over the Internet have escalated dramatically since the leak of classified Internet surveillance programs by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.
The Obama administration’s relinquished control includes a set of conditions – namely that ICANN be free of any other government influence or interference, that nothing interfere with the preservation of the Internet’s stability and security, and that it be kept open and free from censorship.
The Wall Street Journal reports that one of the major goals of the transition will be to increase transparency for the world as a whole to see and understand how the Internet’s core structures function.