U.S. Government announces it won’t release DNS to ICANN

A small but important development in the relationship between the US Department of Commerce, which used to directly regulate the Internet’s top level domains (.COM, .NET and .ORG) and ICANN, the group currently charged with the task. ICANN is the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, the closest the Internet comes to having a governing body. DNS is short for Domain Naming System, it is the plan that regulates how the top level domains operates. There has been a slow transition of power between the two, with the U.S. dragging its heels in letting go of the policy-making power over the DNS. The final transfer is supposed to be completed by September, 2006.

Well, on June 30th, the U.S. announced that it would not complete the transfer the DNS to ICANN citing national security and business concerns. An in-depth discussion of why this is a bad idea can be found at Circle ID.

My concerns are over allowing any one nation, even the US, to have that much control over the top level domain system. I love my country, but I have little faith in the Bush administration to do what is right outside of what is right for its business interests. This decision, if enacted from statement to action, engenders distrust among the multinational group that comprises ICANN. A system in which the US retains limited control over how the Internet itself is run (outside of its role within ICANN) suggests a puppet regime over the Internet. It means that once again the US is not playing fair with the rest of the world. And I think it stinks.

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