US retains control of the internet

The US government is expected to retain ultimate control of the internet after awarding a five-year contract to internet administrative body ICANN.

The US government is expected to retain ultimate control of the internet after awarding a five-year contract to internet administrative body ICANN.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was formed in 1998, and took on the basic internet functions formerly run by the US government.

It controls the top level domain name system, which dictates the establishment of main internet addresses such as .com or .uk.

Critics of ICANN complain that its relationship is too close to the US government and that power should be shared with other countries and organisations.

The new contract from the US Department of Commerce means ICANN will continue in its existing role until 2011, although clauses in the contract say the relationship has to be reviewed every year.

ICANN's existing administrative contract expires next month.

The US government has said in the past it expects that ICANN will become fully independent in the future, but no timeline has been put on this change.

 

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