US Government Is Allowing Its Contract With ICANN To Expire
March 17, 2014

US Government Is Allowing Its Contract With ICANN To Expire

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The US government announced on Friday that it will be formally ending its relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said it will be ending its relationship with ICANN, letting its contract to operate key domain-name functions expire in September 2015.

ICANN oversees the Internet’s addressing system while under contract from the US government. However, NTIA now wants to go farther by letting ICANN run the system without US interference.

“The timing is right to start the transition process,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Lawrence E. Strickling said in a statement. “We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”

Dr Stephen Crocker, chairman of ICANN’s board, said they have always known there would eventually be a day they would be free of US oversight.

"We have all long known the destination," Crocker said in a statement. "Now it is up to our global stakeholder community to determine the best route to get us there."

ICANN said that with this transition, its role and other Internet technical organizations' roles will remain unchanged.

"Even though ICANN will continue to perform these vital technical functions, the U.S. has long envisioned the day when stewardship over them would be transitioned to the global community," said Crocker. "In other words, we have all long known the destination.”

Fadi Chehadé, ICANN's President and CEO said they are inviting governments, the private sector, civil society and other Internet organizations from around the world to join in and help the transition process.

"All stakeholders deserve a voice in the management and governance of this global resource as equal partners,” Chehadé said in a statement. "The global multistakeholder process is defined by inclusion, and it will take some time to make sure that we obtain all of the necessary inputs. By the time the current contract with the U.S. Government expires in September 2015, we will have a defined and clear process for global multistakeholder stewardship of ICANN's performance of these technical functions."