This article was authored by Dylan Bushell-Embling, and was originally posted on telecomasia.net.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) stewardship of internet governance has officially expired, triggering the transfer of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the global stakeholder community.
The expiration of ICANN's contract with the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) marks the culmination of an 18-year plan to transfer governance of the internet outside of the US and to the global internet community.
In 2014, ICANN was tasked with convening the global multistakeholder community to formulate proposals to replace the NTIA's stewardship role and enhance ICANN's accountability mechanisms.
The decision has been controversial in the US, with consumer groups and multiple lawmakers objecting to the transfer on the grounds it could hand greater control of the internet to certain governments with an interest in censoring the free flow of information.
But ICANN board chair Stephen Crocker said the global internet community has validated the multistakeholder model of internet governance.
“It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today,” he said.