At the end of last week, the NTIA finally gave in to the rest of the world after nearly two decades of dithering. They have announced they will give up control of ICANN next year. That's the folks who run the world of domain names we have long used to find our way around the internet without having to memorize raw IP addresses.
As for precisely who the new domain name overlords will be, that's an open question at this point. All the NTIA is saying so far is that they are "asking ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA." But when it's all said and done, I suspect very few of us will notice anything change at all. In fact, I doubt whether the US will not have its share of the influence under the new regime as well.
The news comes at a time when the US government remains under fire for the spying allegations and revelations that have come out since we learned the name Edward Snowden. Giving the world what it has wanted for so long isn't likely to stop the criticism of course, because of course the world of DNS has little (ok nothing) to do with the long list of dodgy things the NSA has supposedly been up to.
But it was going to happen sooner or later, so why not throw the world a bone or two? After all, the US can use all the allies it can get at the moment. I mean other than the fact that Republicans will surely accuse the Obama administration of selling out to foreign dictatorships and weenies I mean. Frankly, the world of domain names is rather boring nowadays even with the introduction of new, more flexible top level domains.