Icann under threat as consultation closes

The future of internet domain regulator Icann hangs in the balance as a US government consultation closes this week.

The future of internet domain regulator Icann hangs in the balance as a US government consultation closes this week.

Icann, a not-for-profit organisation bringing together private sector stakeholders, is responsible for co-ordinating the internet's root server system, generic and country code top-level domain (TLD) name system management and IP (internet protocol) address space allocation.

It was set up in 1998 by the US Department of Commerce, with a Memorandum of Understanding setting out how management of the internet domain name system (DNS) would be transferred from the government to the private sector.
 
An amendment signed in 2003 set out 24 tasks to be completed to allow Icann to become completely independent and have full control over the US root server infrastructure.

But the memorandum is set to expire on September 30 and a consultation on future arrangements, launched earlier this year by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration, will close on July 7.

Icann has recently been patching up longstanding rows with the registries controlling domain names for individual countries. It exchanged letters this week with Nominet, which is responsible for .uk internet domains.

Nominet chief executive Lesley Cowley said the registry was encouraged by Icann’s steps “to improve its models of engagement with the internet community”.

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