The internationalisation of the internet begins today

Last week the US government formally announced that it was giving up control of the addressing system of the Internet.Yesterday I received the e-mail below from the Chief Executive of the Internet Society. I take this opportunity to remind you why you should join ISOC if you are serious about wishing to influence the future of the Internet:


Dear Colleagues,

Last week the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it has asked ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a plan for transitioning the current role played by NTIA in coordination of shared Internet resources through the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

In many ways, the U.S. Government has been preparing for–and the Internet community has been working towards–this moment since 1998, when ICANN was established and was awarded the first IANA contract. The US Government has played an important role in guaranteeing the security and stability of the Internet, and we believe the criteria set out by the NTIA for the transition plan provide an important framework for the work ahead:

+ Support and enhance the multistakeholder model

+ Maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS;

+ Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services; and,

+ Maintain the openness of the Internet.

The Internet Society was recognized as one of the key Internet organizations by the NTIA statement. The Internet Society has consistently advocated for the US Government to complete the transition of its stewardship role to the global multistakeholder community. We have previously submitted comments to the NTIA, and recently joined with the leaders of other Internet organizations in the Montevideo statement calling for the globalization of the IANA functions.

The global Internet community now has an opportunity to further strengthen the multistakeholder model. We can ensure the continued evolution of the IANA functions and security of the Internet. And, we can establish a framework that is accountable, transparent, bottom-up, and sustainable over time.

We have much work ahead of us. It critical to the future of the global Internet, and important to get it right. The Internet Society is looking forward to working with ICANN and all other stakeholders, and to supporting our community’s engagement in open and inclusive processes. We are committed to an Internet that remains managed by distributed collaboration. This collaboration has been key to its dynamic and resilient growth as a platform for innovation, communication, and economic development.

On Monday, 24 March 2014, ICANN has scheduled two sessions entitled “IANA Accountability Transition” and  “ICANN Accountability“.  Both sessions will be audio streamed in a number of languages.

We have set up a dedicated email list for the Internet Society community, and invite you to subscribe.

We will look forward to your input and ideas, and will be working to actively engage you as developments and discussions progress.

Kathy Brown

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Obama announced his intentions. The US Congress has an opportunity to block this decision, and will likely attempt to do that.

I don't trust any organization with worldwide membership that includes countries in which freedom of speech can be limited when convenient in order to control what its citizens can see and respond to.

I'm not a telecom/internet maven, and if names are the only thing controlled by ICANN, perhaps a global authority might work best. However, I have already been subjected to a "shakedown" (laughable as it was) by a Chinese entity threatening to use my domain name unless I played along with them and paid up - an undisclosed amount, of course - in order to retain ownership of my company's domain name.

Right now, it's my understanding that web access is still free globally but will that end when countries conspire to tax web usage the same way they tax their citizens . . . for example, in the UK, the tax on TVs???? That is a foreign concept to us in the States and one that we would not welcome.

I, for one, worry about who comprises "global" decision making bodies. I'm sure there will be countries like Russia, China and others that control their citizens for political reasons, or reasons related to religious views, hate-inspired political views, etc. Why would such a governing body be the best alternative to a free and open governing body that has not restricted or restrained any citizen of the world from accessing the internet, expressing their opinions and learning how the free world thinks?

I'm sure there will be readers snorting and harumphing into their tea cups around the world as is their custom - and their right, and I would never want to constrain it in any way. I just worry that many member nations of this global governing body (who are currently in the middle of wondering what to do with an aggressive member of NATO) will be cowed by aggressive controlling countries for reasons that fall outside of internet domain names.

Go ahead and write hateful responses, but my concerns are real to me and to many here in the States (e.g. Bill Clinton who I believe was a brilliant President, unlike our current one). I only hope that out of those hateful, liberal-leaning responses there is someone with the intelligence to explain to me why forfeiting control over free internet access without the possibility of tariffs for that right is a good thing. I say that until this new body of control proves it can behave, the US should, at the very least, maintain veto power over tariffs, shutdowns, denial of access, etc. Looking at what is going on in Turkey right now makes me think that letting go of what little control we have now is NOT going to "make the world a better place".

I hope I'm wrong and misinformed, but if I'm not shouldn't we all be a little more concerned and asking what this "openness" might end up costing us all?

I, for one, will subscribe to our society and look forward to listening to what you have to say on March 24, 2014. I wish you and all internet users only the best and promise to work toward the goals you envision to strengthen and evolve IANA and the security of the internet.


Thank you for this. I particularly like your comment on "the UK Tax on TVs", this idiosyncratic poll tax, which we call a license fee, dates back to 1922 when the BBC was founded by a cartel of wireless manufacturers to create a market for their products, funded by compulsory subsciptions pai by all who used radio sets, instead of by advertising. The attempts of its management and staff to preserve their business model and way of life in the Internet Age are symptomatic of the many vested interests who do not want to see the preservation of what you believe in, if it ever really existed in the form in which you appear to believe.